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People attend counselling and psychotherapy sessions for many reasons. Perhaps you are dealing with grief or the breakdown of a relationship. Maybe you recognise the need to break unhealthy patterns of behaviour, or you feel angry or upset all the time but are unsure why. You may not understand the emotions you are experiencing, it could just be that you feel unhappy, anxious or dissatisfied and want to make a change.

How can counselling or psychotherapy help me?

My aim is to help you identify the issues that are affecting your life in a negative way, and work with you to resolve these problems. Often my clients feel a great weight is lifted from their shoulders once the roots of a problem have been identified, and then we can work together to resolve any emotions, thoughts or behaviours that are stopping you moving forward or enjoying your life.

Whatever your reason for seeking counselling or psychotherapy, I would be happy to talk things through with you. Please contact me to arrange an initial consultation.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

The terms Counselling and Psychotherapy are often used interchangeably. Though they have similar meanings with considerable overlap, there are some important distinctions between the two that are helpful to keep in mind when looking for a mental health care provider.

What is counselling?

Counselling is sometimes known as “talking therapy” it is a conversation or series of conversations between a counsellor and client. Counselling usually focuses on a specific problem and taking the steps to address or resolve it. Problems are discussed in the present-tense, without too much attention on the role of past experiences.

Though the titles “Counsellor” and “advisor” are often used like synonyms, counsellors rarely offer advice. Instead, counsellors guide clients to discover their own answers and support them through the actions they choose to take. In the UK Counsellors can be Senior Accredited, Accredited or Registered Members of various Professional Bodies the largest of which is the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) they can be qualified at Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Counselling Certificate/Diploma, Masters or Phd by satisfying a number of educational, experience, and testing requirements over a period of years.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, like counselling, is based on a healing relationship between a health care professional and client. Psychotherapy, or therapy for short, also takes place over a series of meetings, though often it has a longer duration than counselling. Some people participate in therapy over several years; constantly or by dipping in out according to their needs. Therapy can be carried out individually or in groups.

Instead of narrowing in on individual problems, psychotherapy considers overall patterns, chronic issues, and recurrent feelings. This requires an openness to exploring the past and its impact on the present. The aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the underlying issues which fuel ongoing issues. Psychotherapists help to resolve past experiences as part of laying the foundation for a satisfying future.

Many psychotherapists are open to and interested in wisdom from a variety of sources, my particular interest lies with the inner child, adult and parent ego states as discussed by Eric Berne and bringing unconscious processes and learned behaviours into the conscious mind. Other therapists may be interested in working with bodily reactions or cognitions whatever their interest therapists need to be comfortable working with strong feelings, traumatic memories and addressing therapeutic developmental needs in the relationship.

In the UK Psychotherapists are usually registered through a professional body the largest one is United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP). Psychotherapists are usually educated to a minimum of Masters level, have completed a minimum of 160 hours of personal therapy, at least 750 hours of supervised practice hours and a minimum of 750 hours of training.

How do I Choose Between Counselling & Psychotherapy?

In the UK, Counselling and Psychotherapy are unregulated professions which means you need to be aware of who you choose to work with; you need to check they are qualified, a member of a professional body, insured and have a current Disclosure and Barring Certificate. Unfortunately, because there is no regulatory body there are unscrupulous practitioners out there.

Providing you are aware, choosing a Counsellor or Psychotherapist should be a straightforward task. Usually the most important aspect is finding someone who is a good fit for you that is trustworthy and easy to talk with. Research shows that the connection between Counsellor or therapist and client is the most important factor in successful outcomes. However, you can narrow your search for a Counsellor or Psychotherapist by considering the following things:

Do you have a single concern that you would like to get some feedback on? Consider counselling.
Have you noticed a pattern of problems or concerns that seems to keep coming up? Consider psychotherapy.
Are you typically satisfied with your life and relationships, and just looking for a sounding board? Consider counselling.
Is it time to address previous trauma or family patterns that are keeping you from feeling good in your own skin? Consider psychotherapy.