Counselling and psychotherapy are both forms of talking therapy that can help with a wide range of emotional, social, and psychological problems. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) describe counselling and psychotherapy as offering you ‘a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It offers you a place to talk to someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you to improve things.’ (BACP)
There are many different approaches to counselling and psychotherapy, and many different ways of working, so it is always a good idea to discuss with your counsellor or psychotherapist the ways in which they work, and how they think they might be able to help you.
In counselling sessions you will be allowed and encouraged to freely express your feelings and emotions. This process can help you to come to terms with any negative feelings that may have caused you to have emotional problems, and to further develop personal skills. The object is for you to see yourself as a person with the power and freedom to change. Sessions will usually be at the same time and place each week, but do check this with your counsellor before you begin working together.
It is also important to check that your counsellor is qualified and registered with a professional body such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
In psychotherapy sessions you will be offered an environment in which you can express your feelings and gain deeper insight into your issues. The aim is to help you to find better ways to cope, and to bring about changes in the way you think and behave that will improve your mental and emotional well-being. Psychotherapy can offer you clarity and understanding into the patterns of thinking and behaviour that may have been with you for the greater part of your life. Sessions will usually be held at the same time and place each week, but do check this with your psychotherapist before you begin working together.
As when choosing a counsellor, do also check that your psychotherapist is registered with a relevant professional body such as the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapyor the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.