Disclaimer: This is general advice gathered through my own independent research. It is only general advice to help you begin your search for a counsellor / therapist. Please, ask your GP or another healthcare professional if your situation is more urgent. Numbers for official mental health channels in the UK can be found here.
Remember, never be ashamed to search for whatever help you need. And never be afraid to reach out if you need someone to talk to. This article is for mental health related therapy specifically.
Beginning your search:
When it comes to finding a therapist, it can be quite bewildering to even know where to begin. That’s why I thought that I’d do some of the work for you and compile a basic guide to begin your search. Finding a therapist or counsellor that fits you can work wonders for your mental health. As the global push for the awareness of mental health issues and their importance grows, it’s useful to be aware of what’s out there so you can find the help you may need.
If you are suffering the effects of poor mental health such as depression/anxiety; start by going to your GP or healthcare provider. They can diagnose you and prescribe you medication if they deem it necessary. They may also refer you to a councillor or a similar specialist. Seeking a Therapist can be tricky through free services because you need to find what you’re entitled to. Your GP will be able to find the information for you, so don’t be afraid to ask about getting a referral. If you want to find this information for yourself however this guide may help: NHS: how to access mental health services.
Private care is also a good way to go, however, as with all private healthcare, affordability is the hard part as it can get expensive. If you bring this up with your GP, I’m sure they’ll give you advice on your options.
Also, if you are in education, you might be entitled to free resources from your school or university, so it’s always worthwhile to check with on-campus healthcare or even just email your institution’s staff for details.
Another important piece of advice, (this one is mentioned in the video above but bears repeating.) Never overlook word of mouth when you’re looking for a counsellor. Other people’s references are worth having. Don’t be afraid to ask. Talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a parent, guardian, a teacher or even your boss. And you can also try visiting your county council to see if there are any resources for local support. Finally, institutions will likely be required by law to provide help in this matter, so remember to check in with Hr at work, or student support at your school / college.
Types of therapy
Despite the stereotypical therapist to patient on couch image we all know, there are in fact a variety of forms of therapy out there. Each one has its own specialised approach and are tailored to help people deal with different problems and conditions.
A few examples:
- Specific trauma therapy: This refers to therapies focused on dealing with a specific recent event and the trauma/psychological effects caused as a result.
- Group therapy: These are therapy sessions that involve multiple patients, set up to help them through issues in either their relationship or to aid with a shared issue, such as dealing with addiction as being part of a group of sufferers can allow patients to use each other as a support net.
- Art therapy: Art therapy and similar therapies help people work through their issues creatively, looking at the work produced as a window into the mind.
These are just a small selection of types of therapy, a more comprehensive list can be found here. Please follow for more information if you’d like. Each type of therapy carries with it its own specialities and applications for different patients. It’s important to look at each one to see which one is best for you and maybe experiment with a few to see which one fits best. I suggest doing research into any that sound appealing.
Counsellors usually deal with less specific issues than a therapist, but the roles overlap in most areas. If you go private, a counsellor may be something to look for. And when you do, don’t rule out going to see Student counsellors as they will have a mentor overseeing them and so will likely be more thorough as a result.
If you do pursue private therapy or counselling, make sure to check their qualifications. If you go through the NHS or an institution you trust such as your university, you can be less careful as they are likely to have checked the standards of the service before recommending it to you. You should also investigate the confidentiality of the service if you want to ensure privacy, but with most therapists, this will be the norm.
And even if you do find a therapist of professional standard but they don’t seem to meet your needs, don’t be afraid to keep looking until you find a counsellor that’s right for you. Always remember that therapy is a personal thing so it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything in a way that suits you and makes you feel comfortable.
I hope this article has given you some ideas as to how to begin your search for a therapist.
I thought I’d leave you with some more links that you may find helpful. Feel free to take a look and let us know in the comments if you find anything particularly useful.
Take care and thanks for reading!
Find an NHS psychological therapies service
Royal college of occupational therapists
Mind.org: how to find a therapist
How to find a counsellor – Counselling Directory
British association for counselling and psychotherapy
Oliver is a writer and journalist who loves fantasy fiction and table top gaming, with a bit of acting on the side!