Accessing Psychological Therapy

Accessing Psychological Therapy

Talking therapy covers all the psychological therapies that involve a person talking to a therapist about their problems. Accessing therapy can be a big step and you may want to consider some of the questions below before deciding on what type of talking therapy you want. You’ll also want to know that the person you are meeting with is suitably qualified and works within a set of professional ethics and standards including NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines. NICE guidelines are evidence-based recommendations which set out the care and services suitable for people with a specific condition.

Listed below are some of the things to consider if you’re thinking about therapy.

1. What is counselling/therapy?

The terms counselling and therapy are often used interchangeably and involve the process of speaking to someone about your thoughts, feelings, behaviours. Therapy may take place face to face, in a group, on the telephone or even on line. You will usually have a number of planned, regular sessions. The number of sessions you have will depend on your personal circumstances and the kind of therapy you are having.
There is a lot of overlap between counselling and psychotherapy but there are often some differences in approach.
Counselling tends to be shorter term and more focused on the here and now. It usually deals with issues that you are currently facing and stressed by eg divorce or bereavement.
Psychotherapy can be undertaken for both current, and especially recurring, issues but aims to help you find a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of emotions and behaviour by looking much more into the past.

2. What are some of the similarities/differences between therapies?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy which focusses on the here and now. It is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave (

CBT is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression but can also help a wide range of problems. CBT aims to equip you with tools enabling you to break out of your negative thinking and may last for as little as 6 sessions. You will find further information here

Longer term therapy is more in-depth, focusing on your emotions and experiences and how they impact on who you are today. Psychotherapy is likely to be frequent and longer term, giving you the time and space to fully explore your feelings. (

The Mind website explains the most common types of talking treatments and the kinds of problems they can be used for.

The bacp website lists an A-Z of therapeutic approaches:

The type of therapy you choose is very much down to you and the connection you make with the therapist. It’s ok to meet with more than one therapist before deciding on which type of therapy you want.

3. Where/how can I access therapy?

The NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme makes talking therapies more accessible and widely available. Many GP surgeries offer this service or refer you to a local service. You may also be able to self-refer to your local service.

If you can afford it, you may consider seeking help in the private sector. Many psychological therapies are covered by health insurance so check with your provider who may be able to recommend a therapist locally.

4. Are there any Jewish Counselling services?

Raphael is a Jewish Counselling Service offering individual or couples counselling:

Some specific Jewish options include:

Jewish Women’s Aid

Jewish Marriage Council

Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service

5. How do I know the therapist/counsellor is suitably qualified?

The words therapist, counsellor and psychologist are not protected titles. However, clinical/counselling psychologist and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) registered psychotherapist are. You should always check that any therapist or counsellor has the necessary qualifications and is registered with the appropriate professional body. For example:

• British Psychological Society:

• British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy:

• Health and Care Professions Council:

• UK Council for Psychotherapy:

6. What about Family Therapy?

You will find information about family therapy here:

7. Can I have online therapy/counselling?

Yes. Some people also offer email and telephone counselling. This can be a more affordable and convenient option so check with people whether they offer this service.

8. I’m under 25, are there any specific services available to me? offers free, safe and anonymous on-line support for young people. Check their website to see if it is available in your area.

The Mix offers information and support on line and on the phone.

Additional information about counselling services for children and young people can be found on the Young Minds website: