Counselling or Talking Therapies
Counselling is a form of therapy where a skilled therapist actively listens to individuals and assists them in discovering strategies to address their emotional concerns. While the term “counselling” is occasionally used to encompass various talking therapies, it is important to note that counselling is a distinct type of therapy and is sometimes referred to as psychotherapy.
What can counselling help with?
Counselling can help in managing various challenges, including but not limited to:
- mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders.
- distressing physical health conditions, such as infertility.
- challening life events, such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdowns or work-related stress.
- difficult emotions – for example, low self-esteem or anger.
- other issues, such as sexual identity.
What to expect from counselling
During the session, the individual will be encouraged to openly discuss their feelings and emotions with a skilled therapist, who’ll actively listen and provide support, refraining from passing judgment or offering criticism.
The therapist’s role is to assist the individual in gaining a better understanding of their feelings and thought processes, and help to enable the individual to find their own resolutions to their challenges. It is important to nore that therapists refrain from providing direct advise or giving instructions on actions to take.
Counselling can take place:
- face to face in a 1-1 setting
- in a group setting
- over the telephone
- by email
- online through live chat services
Individuals may be offered a short course of sessions spanning a few weeks or months, or a longer course that extends over several months or years.
It may require several sessions before any noticeable progress is observed, however with the assistance of the therapist there will be a gradual improvement in overall wellbeing.
Can you get free counselling on the NHS?
Free talking therapies, including counselling for depression, are avilable on the NHS, though there may be lengthy waiting lists in some areas. It’s not always necessary to obtain a referal from a GP, some services do allow self-referral.
If the individual decides to pay to see a private therapist, they should ensure sure they’re qualified and that they feel at ease with them. Many therapists offer a free session to ensure a good match. Fees should be discussed and agreed on before counselling begins.
The cost of private counselling can fluctuate, with an indiviudal session costing anywhere from £40 and upwards.
Many private therapists offer a complementary session and offer reduced rates for students, job seekers and individuals on low wages.
Charities and voluntary organisations
Some charities and voluntary organisations also offer counselling. These organisations usually specialise in a particular area, such as couples counselling, bereavement or family guidance. Individuals usually do not need a referral from a GP for an appointment for these services, but there may be a small fee to help cover the cost of your sessions.
Finding a qualified therapist
As counselling involves talking about sensitive issues and revealing personal thoughts and feelings, individuals should ensure that their counsellor is suitably experienced and professionally qualified.