There are two main categories of appropriately qualified
mental health practitioners who tend to work in the private sector. There are
either counsellors or Psychologists. Psychotherapists are therapists who use psychological
therapies but may be counsellors or psychologists.
What is the
difference between counsellor and psychologist?
Psychology is the scientific study
of the mind (e.g. thoughts) and behaviour (e.g. actions), as well as our
emotional states that interact with mind and behaviour.
Psychology is essentially an
investigative science, but can also be applied in many areas of life, such as
education, clinical therapies, organisations, design, to name just a few.
Counselling is a talking therapy
aimed at helping people who are experiencing perturbing psychological symptoms:
that is, difficult thoughts and feelings (e.g. trauma, depression, anxiety) and
undesirable behaviours, such as addiction, self-harm, etc. Counselling will
draw on the ideas, concepts and theories of scientific psychology, and also on
other knowledge systems.
Counselling is a way of
understanding and helping people get better by focusing on thoughts, feeling
and resultant behaviours.
How do you know if
your therapist is properly qualified?
The best way is to ensure that they are accredited with
either BACP (for counsellors), BABCP (for CBT therapists), EMDR Europe (For
EMDR therapists) or BPS (for psychologists who should be Chartered).
There are so many different therapies
available and choosing the right one can be a real minefield. Therapies are
normally split into two groups, those which are used in the NHS and are
approved by an organisation called NICE (The National Institute for Health and
Care Excellence). NICE develops
guidance and recommendations on the effectiveness of treatments and medical
So, if a
new procedure comes out into the world of health and well-being, NICE will do
studies to see how effective it is.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and
ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
are all registered by NICE and used on the NHS.
There are some therapies that have not had enough evidence
to suggest they are effective enough – these are classed as alternative
therapies. These include hypnosis, NLP and emotional freedom therapy. Just
because they aren’t regulated by NICE, or used on the NHS, doesn’t mean they aren’t
effective and some people may find they work for them.
Our listing includes alternative practitioners on this list to
enable you to have a choice.