Dr Liz Burns

Services Offered

Systemic Therapy with families, couples and individuals

This approach focuses on problems in context, which means that we look at how difficulties arise within the web of relationships and events that make up our lives. We work with these relationships to find ways through the difficulties you are experiencing. This means that a systemic approach can work for families of all ages, as well as for couples who want to get along better together. It can also really help individuals because, even when the distress seems to come entirely from inside, improvements usually involve discovering how to relate differently to those around us and the challenges we face. 

Questions and Answers

How do I know that your approach will help with my problem?

Please feel welcome to give me a call and we can discuss your concerns. It is easier to talk things through together, and we can decide whether or not it would be helpful to make an appointment to meet. A first appointment is usually a one-off to decide whether or not we want to work together, and it does not commit you in any way.

What can we expect from a session? How long would it be and what might it involve?

Sessions are by appointment . A first meeting would usually involve talking together to establish an understanding between you and me about the nature of the difficulty, what might be helpful, and a start on the kind of work we have agreed. This is likely to take one to one and a half hours. Subsequent sessions would typically last an hour and would build on what we have agreed to begin with. It is usual for family and systemic psychotherapists to work at intervals of one month, but we may decide to meet more frequently, say fortnightly or even occasionally weekly.

What is the cost of a systemic family therapy session?


I charge £70.00 per session. It is usual to pay on the day by cheque or in cash.

If, for any reason, you are requesting a home visit or a meeting at another venue (perhaps nearer to where you live or to accommodate a large number of people), I would need to charge for my travelling time if it exceeds 30 minutes overall, a sum to cover fuel, and any excess cost involved in the hire of an alternative venue. I would always discuss any such arrangements with you beforehand, so we can reach an agreement which suits us all. 

I don't think I can get any of my family or my spouse/partner to come along. Does this mean you can't help if I come on my own?

Not at all. Sometimes it is really difficult to get others actively involved but, equally, sometimes important people can surprise us by agreeing to come along to lend a hand. It is a good idea to make it very clear that the person/people you want to bring along are invited and welcome to attend. It can also be helpful to take some time at a first meeting to discuss how other people can be encouraged to help by coming to sessions. It can be that family members are anxious at what a 'therapy session' may be like, and it may set their minds at rest if you are able to let them know what to expect.

I would prefer to come with a friend to start off with. Is that OK?

Certainly, if you feel that is a good way to go. There is something uniquely helpful about a conversation which has more than two people involved, and family and systemic psychotherapists base their approach around this knowledge.

My problem is really mine alone. Can you still help?

Yes, but I might ask you to try a different way of looking at things. Even when pain and distress seem to be all coming from inside, there are always relationships which have helped the problem become established, which equally can help with finding solutions. You will not be asked to involve others actively if this is against your wishes, but you will always be encouraged to look at things in a relational way.

My family are too young/too old/ too vulnerable to involve in therapy. Can you still help?

Part of the work may be to help you, and possibly them, to look at the problem in a different light. There are many ways to involve people for whom sitting and talking together may not be appropriate. For example, little children communicate through play, so it would be my job to make it possible to use this way of doing things.  

If there are practical problems which are hard to overcome, maybe you would want to consider a home visit.

Will we have a say in what we talk about and how the work goes?

Absolutely, yes. I work in a 'collaborative' way, which means that we decide together what objectives we want for the therapy. You will be an active partner at all times. The aim will always be to decide together what we talk about, how we talk about it, who will be involved, how long we take and when we have finished.

Are sessions confidential?

Yes, you can expect the same level of confidentiality as you would from your GP and any other Health professionals you may consult. The only exception would be if I were to hear anything in our conversation that would make me concerned about anyone's safety. I would always discuss any concerns fully with you before taking any action.