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How Therapy Works

There are many myths about counselling, one of which is that it’s a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Therapy is about empowering people to live better lives without judgement.

Therapy Basics

Everything is confidential, and therapists are non-judgemental

Therapists provide you with a supportive, non-judgemental and confidential environment in which to explore any emotional distress or difficulties you may be experiencingor any loss of direction and purpose.The therapist can perceive the difficulties from your point of view and can help you to see things more clearly. Therapy is a way of enabling choice or change or reducing confusion.

Therapists empower people to live better lives

Throughout the process you will be encouraged, supported and empowered to look at yourself from a different perspective. The aim is not only to help you cope with a current crisis or issuebut to do so in a way that produces learning for the futuresothatyou can feel more in charge of your life. Taking responsibility is an important part of this commitment.

Myths about counselling

There is a myth that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness, that strong people should be able to work things out for themselves and have no need for counselling. Entering into your inner feelings and emotions with a view to leading a more positive way of life is a sign of courage rather than weakness.

Problems and difficulties that are not dealt with do not simply go away;they can mount up and in time cause a major crisis.

Another myth is that counselling is only for people who are in crisis or have serious mental health problems; that you have to be completely unable to cope to consider counselling. This is also untrue. Many people find counselling enables them to deal with specific problems such as relationship breakdown or bereavement.

Those who attend counselling are ordinary people who wish to find ways of resolving their difficulties and working towards living a more healthy and positive lifestyle.

What is therapy About


“You can’t remake the world, without remaking yourself. Each new era begins within. It is an inward event, with unsuspected possibilities, for inner liberation.”

From Mental Fight by Ben Okri

Looking at your mental health does not mean that your whole life is broken. You might be OK in many areas of your life,but there’s that grey area that you have been avoiding or putting up with that still interferes with living life the way you want.

There is effective therapeutic work being done with all types of Black, African and Asian people (including professional men and women), people struggling with work issues, people who feel life is going nowhere, professional couples working on their relationships, people who feel that they are ready for a change in their lives and also those with serious mental health struggles.

Decidingto see a therapist is a big step for many people. Acknowledging that you are suffering and vulnerable, and arriving at the point where you are ready to do something about it, is a journey in itself. Whileit isn’t a counsellor’s job to provide specific answers, a counsellor will help you keep your focus on the important aspects of your situation.

On the one hand, it might feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger about things that are distressing or even embarrassing. On the other, it can be much easier to speak to someone you do not know; someone who will not judge you and who has no expectations of you.

Not every therapist is going to be qualified to provide the support for your particular issue nor is there going to be a “meeting of minds” with every therapist who might have the qualifications. Therapy is a very personal experience, and you must have faith in your therapist’s abilities. If you’re worried about the intensity of your feelings or thoughts, then don’t be. Whatever you say, your therapist most likely won’t be shocked.

Here is an A-Z of therapeutic approaches: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – Types of Therapy page

Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

I've got lots of friends whom I can speak to, why will a therapist be different?

 Talking to friends and loved ones can be very supportive, and it’s great if your problems are sorted out in this way, but sometimes it is difficult for the people we know well to be objective and honest because of their feelings for us and their roles in our lives. You may be reluctant to share certain aspects of your life with themor you may be concerned about overwhelming them with your problems. Furthermore, our family and friends cannot recognise the type or seriousness of a psychological problem nor the best way to help us cope with it. Talking to a trained professional can provide the outside perspective you need to understand where you are stuck and how to take steps to get better.

I thought only "crazy" people went to counselling and therapy.

Many people come to therapy, including those who do not have a mental illness. Everyone has problems at one time or another and sometimes it can come to a point when you are not able to find a solution to your problem on your own. Not being able to find a solution to one’s problems does not mean you are “crazy”. It means you are human.

What should I expect when I go to see a therapist?

You can expect your therapist to listen to your experiences and ask you pertinent questions about your life. Your therapist will probably ask you some questions about your background, including your family and your relationships with others. The therapist will also ask what you hope to get out of therapy or what your goals are. Most people come to therapy once per week for 50/60 minutes.

Therapists are individuals, so their styles will vary from person to person. However, there are some things that you can expect from every therapist. Firstly, there will be an assessment session where you can get a feel for the therapistand the therapist can get a feel for you to see if there is mutuality in working together. There is then a further assessment phase. When the assessment phase is complete, your therapist should have a good understanding of your problems and what may be causing them. He or she will help you develop an understanding of how you can resolve these problems and will come up with a treatment plan for how the two of you might work together. The length of the treatment plan will depend on the complexity of your concerns.

What are my rights as a client?

You have every right to expect your therapist to display respect for you and to convey this respect by keeping appointments as scheduled, contacting you if scheduling changes are necessary and giving their complete attention to you during therapy sessions.

At any point during therapy, you are encouraged to ask questions regarding your therapist’s qualifications, training, experience, specialisation areas, limitations and personal values. You should receive thoughtful and respectful answers.

Since your needs are primary to your treatment, you are encouraged to negotiate therapeutic goals and renegotiate them whenever you wish. You are further encouraged to ask questions regarding the therapy process, specific treatment methods, therapy fees, methods of payment and estimated length of treatment.

You may refuse any intervention or treatment strategy suggested by your therapistand you may refuse to answer any questions.

Within the limits of published ethical standards and the law, the information you reveal to your therapist will be maintained as confidential and will not be communicated to another person or agency without your written permission. The rare legal limits to confidentiality will be clearly described in your assessment session.

How do I make the initial contact with a therapist?

When you phone or e-mail a therapist, you can say a little about what area your difficulties lie in and ask whether the therapist can work with you. You can then set up an initial assessment where you can get a feel for the therapist,and the therapist can get a feel for you to see if there is mutuality in working together.

How much will it cost?

 The cost of therapy sessions starts at around £35 per session. The average price is around £50. Some therapists offer free assessment sessions. There are organisations around the UK that offer free services, but these are often subject to a waiting list in most cases.

What do therapist’s qualifications mean?

Certificate – normally one year of training

Diploma / MA / BSc – normally a four-year training course with around 250 to 450 supervised client hours

Registering agencies – UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy), BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), BPC (British Psychoanalytical Council) or BMA (British Medical Association). The above are post-qualification registration agencies with monitored continual professional development, a set minimum amount of supervised client work a year, an ethical framework within which to work and disciplinary procedures. You would normally need to be registered to work in Government agencies.

Senior Trainee – has or is nearing completion of a four-year training course and is working towards full qualification.

What Can Therapy Help With 


Here are some of the issues that psychotherapists and counsellors can help you address.
Issue Read More
Addictions/Alcohol Mind
Anger Mind
Anxiety/stress Mind
Depression Mental Health Foundation / Mind / Sane
Disabilities Mind
Domestic Violence Southall Souls sisters
Eating Disorders Mental health foundation
Grief & Loss Mind
Hearing Voices Mental Health Foundation
Identity GoodTherapy
Mental Illness Mind
Obsessions Sane
Phobias Mind
Recovery Rehab Recovery
Relationships Mind
Self esteem Mind
Sex and Sexuality Mind
Sexual abuse Mind
Stress Mental Health Foundation

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