First off, what is counselling and therapy? Here’s the Oxford Dictionary definition; “the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems.”
For me, it is a safe space that offers confidentiality for you to talk to a qualified therapist about your issues and concerns. In that safe space you will be encouraged to explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviour to learn more about yourself and others and in turn understand yourself better.
There are different types of therapy such as Person Centred (which is the heart of how I work), Psychodynamic, CBT, EMDR and Gestalt amongst many others.
This can feel overwhelming not understanding how therapists work or what to look for.
What is Person Centred therapy?
Imagine we are moving along a path, and you feel unsure as to where to go, I will not tell you what to do, I will not give you advice and I will not push you in a particular direction.
I may ask questions to understand what is happening for you, how it feels for you and encourage you to explore your concerns and issues whilst offering you a safe space to work at your pace. I talk more about how i work on my website as I feel it is hugely important to provide clear information for you to make an informed choice about what is right for you.
Unfortunately, there is no real regulation on counselling and psychotherapy services in the United Kingdom. So, here’s the shocker; anyone can set up as a counsellor or therapist regardless of their training or qualifications.
For me, that is scary, the potential to cause harm and create further concerns for clients is appalling.
That is one of the reasons I am a member of the BACP (British association of Counselling and Psychotherapy). As a member it helps to show you that I adhere to a counselling framework to provide you with the best possible service and that I meet criteria, such as qualifications and training, to be a safe and ethical practitioner.
There are other membership bodies such as NCS, National Counselling Society, so do check with your potential therapist which membership body they belong to.
How to find a potential therapist.
Membership bodies such as BACP have a directory that you can search through to find a therapist that meets your requirements in your area. There are also directory services such as Psychology Today and Counselling Directory that verify if therapists are members of a trusted membership body.
Google search can provide results of therapists in your area, and I always encourage to check their website (if they have one) to gather more information. And then there is good old word of mouth, speak to those you trust about if they can recommend a therapist.
Tips for finding a therapist
Arrange an initial consultation/enquiry session with a couple of therapists to help you get a feel if they will be a good fit for you and to see how comfortable you feel talking to them.
Don’t be afraid to check their credentials and ask about their experience.
You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health condition to access therapy, therapy is for everyone and is an investment in your mental wellbeing.
You can speak to your GP about accessing therapy through the NHS which you can self-refer to.