What is counseling psychology?
Counselling Psychology is based within the humanistic tradition and places the relationship between client and therapist at its core. It places an emphasis on the fact that each individual is separate and unique, elevating this belief to the heart of its practice. Counselling Psychology focuses on enhancing the psychological functioning, effectiveness and wellbeing of individuals. A Counselling Psychologist therefore uses and integrates psychological theories, research and psychotherapeutic techniques to help and empower individuals to cope with life issues, mental health conditions or to alleviate distress. They work holistically with clients to enable them to consider change, whether this be through their thought patterns, behaviour or lifestyle.
Counselling Psychologists can be seen working across several different contexts, such as within the NHS, prison services, voluntary organizations, Universities or within private practice. They provide a wide range of therapeutic approaches, including person centred, psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or integrative therapy. The interventions of Counselling Psychologists may include: a time-limited solution-focused approach, psychotherapy, counselling, couples therapy, family therapy, group work or psychoeducational programmes in various life skills (e.g. anger, anxiety or stress management).
Why do people see Counselling Psychologists?
People often see a Counselling Psychologist for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include: an individual looking for new ways to manage a stressful life event (e.g. relationship difficulties or bereavement), to manage their mental health condition (e.g. anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress), to work through difficulties stemming from a traumatic childhood, or to adjust to a health condition (e.g. a new diagnosis). People see a Counselling Psychologist to help them achieve better emotional wellbeing, to gain self-understanding and self-insight, in order to feel empowered to make better changes within their daily lives.
How do you choose a Counselling Psychologist?
To recognise an accredited Counselling Psychologist, an individual must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This allows them to be able to use the title “Counselling Psychologist”. Individuals who have “Chartered” status, will have undertaken a specialist accredited training route through the British Psychological Society (BPS).
When choosing to see a Counselling Psychologist, an individual should choose a therapist whom they feel they can work with and trust. It is also worth exploring how a therapist works. For instance, whether the therapist offers short term, long term or open ended therapy, what the therapist specialises in or what their appointment availability is (e.g. evening, daytime or weekends). An individual may find it helpful to speak first with a potential therapist to clarify any general questions they may have.
How to book a session with a Counselling Psychologist?
If an individual wishes to see a private practice Counselling Psychologist, they can be referred by their GP, health professional, employer, or they may contact a Counselling Psychologist directly themselves. Individuals will initially have a brief telephone call with a Counselling Psychologist. An initial telephone call can be requested via phone or email.
Following the initial telephone call, individuals can arrange to have a 1 hour face to face initial assessment to explore their concerns, therapeutic treatment options, duration of therapy and other practical details. An initial assessment appointment can be made during or after the initial telephone call via phone or email.
Natalie is at Breathe London Waterloo on Tuesdays and Saturdays
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