What is Counselling/ Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a broad term used to describe talking therapies, including counselling. Both counsellors and psychotherapists provide a service for those looking for support and treatment for a wide range of mental health and emotional issues. The possibility that there is a difference between counselling and psychotherapy is a heavily debated question in the field of mental health treatment, and one that has yet to be answered. Some claim that counselling tends to tackle problems at the time of the crises, whereas psychotherapy focuses on longer-term psychological problems. However, this is not a universally agreed contention and you are advised to contact professionals personally to find out more about how they work.


How do I know if I need Counselling/ Psychotherapy?

Only you can decide whether you wish to try counselling or psychotherapy. Just talking to someone confidentially who is not a friend or family member can make all the difference. Counselling or psychotherapy provides a regular time for those in distress to explore their feelings and talk about their problems. A counsellor can help you develop better ways of coping, allowing you to live the life you deserve.


How long does Counselling last for?

Counselling can take the form of brief solution focussed therapy in order to work on symptoms that make life difficult for you, or can last much longer if you wish to explore the past and get to the root cause of why you experience certain symptoms.


How many people in the UK have Counselling/ Psychotherapy?

The figures are uncertain, however, the number of qualified counsellors has tripled in the last 10 years to keep up with demand. There are millions of people all over the world affected by mental health problems. Those who do not experience some form of mental distress at some time during their lives are probably fairly unusual and extremely lucky. 


How can I be assured of a practitioners' professionalism?

By choosing a therapist registered with a professional body such as the BACP or NCS you can be reassured that they have met the standards of training and experience required by that organisation. Most professional bodies will also have a Code of Ethics that outlines the way their members should work, and a complaints process to follow if things don’t work out as planned - so you know you’re in good hands.

Some professional body registers are accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). The PSA sets standards for organisations that register health and social care practitioners in unregulated professions, such as counselling and psychotherapy. By joining the Accredited Register Network the professional body is demonstrating its commitment to the PSA’s standards.


What is a professional body?

There are various professional bodies (also known as member organisations) in existence that have taken on the role of self-regulation of counselling/psychotherapy. Whilst counsellors and psychotherapists are under no legal obligation to become a member of a professional body, membership will mean they have met certain requirements set by their professional body and must abide by a code of ethics and complaints procedure.