What is counselling / psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy, although two completely different terms, are both essentially the same thing. Both counsellors and psychotherapists provide a service for people who are looking for support and treatment for a wide range of mental health and emotional issues. The possibility that there is a difference between the two is a heavily debated question in the field of mental health treatment, and one that has yet to be answered. Some experts claim that counselling tends to tackle problems at the time of the crises, whereas psychotherapy focuses on long-term, deeply embedded psychological problems. However, this is not a universally agreed contention and you are welcome to discuss this with me to find out more about how I work.


Whether you choose a counsellor or psychotherapist, the main thing is to choose the right individual. How you connect with the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is likely to determine how successful the treatment is. It is also helpful to have a little knowledge of the different therapies on offer. There are many different therapies that can be used by counsellors and psychotherapists, some involve looking at past relationships and experiences to make sense of them, and others involve looking at the 'here and now'.


What sort of issues are commonly addressed through counselling and psychotherapy?

While no list could cover all of the unique issues for which people may benefit from counselling, the most common reasons for seeking help include:

  • Stress, anxiety and panic attacks

  • Depression

  • Self-esteem and confidence issues

  • Health-related problems e.g. following a major illness

  • Grief and bereavement

  • Relationship issues

  • Post-traumatic stress


What are the different therapies used?

Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories. These are behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, and humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the 'here and now'. This is a generalisation though and as a humanistic integrative counsellor I draw upon my awareness of all three categories during therapy.


How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?

Only you can decide whether you wish to try counselling or psychotherapy. Just talking to someone confidentially who is not a friend or family member can make all the difference. Counselling or psychotherapy provides a regular time for those in distress to explore their feelings and talk about their problems. A counsellor can help you develop better ways of coping, allowing you to live the life you deserve.