Psychotherapy and counselling have been called the talking cures– although counselling tends to deal more with specific,here-and-now difficulties whilst psychotherapy tends to deal with more diffuse or long-standing difficulties.
There are many different types of counselling and psychotherapy with different theories about human nature, what causes difficulties and how change occurs.
Research over 40 years has proved convincingly that therapy works and that, at the end of treatment, the average treated person is better off than 80% of the untreated sample and that these gains are maintained over time, after the end of treatment.
Research suggests that the qualities of the therapist and of the relationship between therapist and client are more important than the theoretical approach (Common factors theory).
Good outcome depends on, in descending order of importance, the qualities of the client and what else is going on in their life at the time (40%), how good the relationship is between client and therapist (30%), faith and hope in the process (15%) and, finally, the techniques of the therapist (15%).
It is most important that you feel able to trust the person you choose to work with, so feel free to do your research, see several therapists face to face if necessary, and ask them as many questions as you need to.
For more information on different therapies and how to choose a therapist click on:
which summarises the Department of Health’s publication, Choosing Talking Therapies
People are often confused about the various helping professions and the difference between them.The following brief summary may be helpful. All of those below offer “a talking cure”, though Psychiatrists may additionally or preferentially offer drug therapy, hypnosis or shock treatment. Psychologists may additionally or preferentially offer exercises, homework and structured task-orientated programmes.
Counsellor – Anyone may call themselves a counsellor. Someone who calls themselves a counsellor may range from someone who has had no training, to one who has done a short course, to someone with a three year training and a great deal of experience. The best safeguard is to find someone who is not just a member but is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
Psychotherapist –anyone can call themselves a psychotherapist. Look for someone registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) or the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) who will have had a three year plus post-graduate training.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist – Four- six years post graduate training plus own analysis for the whole of that time. Member of the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC). There is little difference between psychoanalytic psychotherapists and psychoanalysts (See below)
Psychiatrist – Medically qualified Doctor who then goes on to specialise in mental illness for an additional three plus years. Member of the Royal College of Psychiatry (M.R.C.Psych.)
Psychoanalyst – A psychotherapist/analyst trained in the understanding and approach pioneered by Freud but modified and developed substantially over the years into various approaches such as Kleinian, Object Relations, Ego Psychologists, Independents etc. Four-six year post graduate training plus own analysis. Member of the International Psycho-Analytic Association (IPA) and the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
Analytical Psychologist – A psychotherapist/analyst who is trained in the Jungian approach. Four- six years postgraduate training plus own analysis. Member of the Society for Analytical Psychology (SAP)
Clinical Psychologist – Three year plus post graduate training, usually after gaining a degree in psychology. The approach is mainly cognitive-behavioural. Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS)