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C is for Counselling

Author: null null Published: 8th June 2012 20:24

The terms Counselling, Talking Therapies and Psychotherapy are often used interchangeably to cover a wide range of different therapeutic models.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy defines the terms as follows:

‘Counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long time to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing'

It may be helpful to think of ‘counselling' and ‘psychotherapy' on either ends of a scale. Counselling is more about dealing with specific problems - many large employers have Employee Assistance Programmes which include short term counselling, universities have counselling services to support students, GP surgeries may employ their own counsellors, and then there is an extensive private market of counselling services.

Psychotherapy is more likely to be used to deal with ‘deeper' issues, perhaps where past experiences are still causing significant distress, or more complex emotional conflicts. Trained psychotherapists are more likely to be found in NHS Talking Therapies services, or again in the private market.

Because there are so many different therapeutic models and practices in counselling and psychotherapy, it is difficult to identify robust research evidence of effectiveness. What has been demonstrated however is that the rapport between the therapist and the person being counselled is probably the most significant factor for a successful outcome. In other words, it's the relationship that counts most.

There are many different forms of training for counsellors and psychotherapists, for example cognitive and behavioural therapies, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies, humanistic therapies, or specific specialisms such as brief solution focused therapy, family (or systemic) therapy, trauma therapy (EMDR), motivational interviewing. For more information about these, go to this link:


If you want to find out more about counselling and psychotherapy, including suggestions about how to choose a therapist, here are some helpful links:




Click here for more information about  local workshops on good mental health coming up soon

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