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More and more people are having therapy; around 1.5 million Britons saw a private therapist last year, and with the Covid pandemic triggering mental health issues for many, it’s likely this year will be significantly higher.  

Deciding to look for professional help is a big step and many clients report that they have been considering it for years before they finally book a session an initial session. There is still some stigma surround mental health, but dozens of well-known entertainers, sportspeople, politicians and businesspeople have gone public about how beneficial they have found therapy in helping them through low periods or traumas.

So how do you know if therapy is for you? You could start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel that you are running into the same problems over and over again?
  • Do you feel that you spend unreasonable amounts of time thinking about something traumatic that has happened to you? 
  • Do you feel that you no longer enjoy things that once gave you pleasure?
  • Do you use addictive behaviour to try to feel better? 

If your answers are mostly a resounding yes, counselling or therapy could help. But before then, what do you need to know about how it works?

The basics of therapy are this: you sign up to spend 50 minutes every week talking to a fully trained therapist or counsellor about your emotions, thoughts and behaviour. You pay anything from around £40 a session (outside of London) to as high  as £100 (in London, during the most popular evening slots); most therapy at the moment,  because of Covid, is supplied online, using Zoom, or over the phone. If you do see a therapist in person, social distancing rules should apply.

There are many different styles of therapy, some are more focused on relieving your symptoms, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), while others, like psychodynamic psychotherapy, delve into your past to help you understand yourself and move forward. Many therapists may also have areas of special training, such as couples counselling, addictions, bereavement, eating disorders, and so on.

The key thing is the relationship between client and therapist; the success of therapy relies on that connection growing strong as time goes on. Think about what sort of person would suit you best: what gender, age-range, race or cultural background. Look for members of professional therapy associations such as the BACP and UK Council for Psychotherapy, which have directories. Or you can look at, which I founded six years ago. You can search by postcode or answer a questionnaire which matches your problems and attitudes with therapists’ areas of expertise, rather like a dating site for therapy. There is even a Personalised Matching Service where for a fee of £48 we find the therapist who is best-suited to an individual’s needs, within their budget and schedule.

Many therapists often a free phone call to start with, or even a free session; there are also options such as walk and talk therapy, or therapists who have therapy animals such as dogs as part of the treatment. Some therapists are trained to use art, dance or music as part of the psychotherapeutic process. There truly is something for everyone.

It may seem like a step into the unknown, but talking to a trained professional who is not judgmental but will challenge your long-held beliefs can be a huge benefit. 

Louise Chunn is the founder of therapist matching service



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Monday, 19 April 2021

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