Frequently asked questions:
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.
Whether you choose a counsellor or psychotherapist, the most important thing is that you choose the right individual for you. How you connect with the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is likely to determine how successful the treatment is. It is also helpful to have a little knowledge on the different therapies on offer. There are many different therapies that can be used by counsellors and psychotherapists, some involve looking at past relationships and experiences to make sense of them, and others involve looking at the ‘here and now’.
What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist and counsellor?
As you may have already noticed, there are many different terms out there to describe professionals working in the mental health industry – each helping in diverse ways. Understanding the key differences between these professionals and how they can offer support should help you decide which one is right for you if/when you decide to seek help.
Take a look at the following brief descriptions:
Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders, covering diagnosis, management and prevention. A psychiatrist must undergo full medical training as a doctor before choosing to specialise in psychiatry. Once a psychiatrist has become fully trained, they can go on to specialise further in general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry, psychiatry of learning disabilities, psychotherapy or child and adolescent psychiatry.
Unlike many other mental health professionals, psychiatrists can assist in medical treatment and testing as they have the appropriate training.
Psychology is the study of the human mind and the way we think, act and behave. As well as looking at the way our minds work in day-to-day life, psychologists are also interested in mental health conditions. The title of psychologist can be given to someone who has completed a degree in psychology, however there are other titles in psychology that are protected by law (such as clinical psychologist).
Most psychologists fall into one of two camps – they are either research-oriented (meaning they spend time studying the way the mind works to better our understanding) or applied (meaning they apply their skills to patients).
Psychotherapist / Counsellor
Psychotherapy is a term used to describe a range of talking therapies and covering the approaches and methods used within each type. It is this broad usage which has led some professionals to use the titles psychotherapist and counsellor interchangeably. When we talk about a psychotherapist, we are talking about a professional who works with clients to help them overcome a range of emotional, social and mental health issues through talk therapies.
A counsellor will use psychotherapy to help clients develop understanding and insight into their behaviours/feelings, with the aim of overcoming difficulties. In some cases, the simple act of talking through difficulties with a counsellor can help the client, in other cases a more tailored therapy approach is required. This will depend on the nature of the concern and will be assessed by the counsellor. Similarly, to psychotherapist, the term counsellor is not currently regulated by law – so you are advised to check a counsellor’s experience and training to ensure they are suitably qualified.
I am a qualified Psychotherapist and a member of the governing body BACP.
What are the different therapies used?
Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories. These are behavioral therapies, which focus on cognition’s and behaviors, psychoanalytical and psycho-dynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, and humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the ‘here and now’. This is a generalization though and counselling and psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these techniques.
I am a qualified Humanistic counsellor / Psychotherapist having trained in the Person / Client-centered approach. I am also currently undertaking an MSc in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which belongs to the Behavioral therapy category.
Key Knowledge / Methodologies employed by me:
I will draw from Positive Psychology / Coaching, NLP, Person-Centered and Cognitive Behavior Therapy knowledge mostly.
Positive Psychology: By challenging traditional psychology, which has focused largely on the negative, positive psychology aims to cultivate flourishing by moving people toward the positive. Positive psychology is the study of happiness, flourishing, and what makes life worth living.
Coaching: Aims to motivate, inspire and empower people to live their highest vision.
Neuro-Linguistic-Programming: NLP Works on the principle of duplicating what successful people do and learning, their techniques and strategies for success.
Person-Centered therapy: the approach ultimately sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential, however this can become blocked or distorted by life experiences that affect our sense of value. By positively valuing the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity while remaining open and genuine, the client feels increasingly accepted and can reconnect with their own inner values and sense of self-worth. This re-connection with their inner resources enables them to find their own way to move forward.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy: The idea behind CBT is that our thoughts and behaviors influence each other. By changing the way we think or behave in a situation, we can change the way we feel about life. The therapy examines learnt behaviors, habits and negative thought patterns with the view of adapting and turning them into a positive.
Professional Membership: I am a registered professional member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and therefore fully comply with their ethical codes.
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 many people in the UK have counselling or 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.
The number of people who are affected by mental health is rising. In 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety worldwide – these numbers rose to 615 million in 2013 (World Health Organisation, 2016).
Current figures state that each year in Britain an estimated one in four adults will experience at least one diagnose-able mental health problem, though only 230 of every 300 who need help will actually visit their GP.
Mental illness is extremely common and exists in different forms, each of which can have an adverse effect on your well-being. This section of the site features information, facts, figures and studies, providing an insight into the various aspects of mental health.
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.
I am a member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
What is registration/accreditation with a professional body?
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
You will be able to see which counsellors are registered/accredited with their professional body as they will display the above logo.
How long does each counselling session last?
Each session will usually last 50 minutes.
How regularly will I see my counsellor or psychotherapist?
Usually one per week, however this can vary depending on the type of therapy and your personal requirements.
Can I have counselling online or by telephone?
I provide online and telephone counselling if appropriate.