How To Choose A Therapist

Who and What is the Therapy for?

As counselling becomes more popular an increasing number of people are going to their GPs for help and finding themselves on a very long waiting list for therapy. As a result, more people are choosing to find a private therapist, but there are so many available that it can be confusing deciding who to choose.

It’s worth spending a little time thinking about who and what the therapy is for.

Is it just for you? We call that individual therapy. Or is it for you and your partner together? In which case you will probably want couples counselling. It may be for a young person or for the whole family? You will need to find an appropriate counsellor for the problem and the person or people who need it.

You may also want counselling or psychotherapy for a specific problem. You may be recently bereaved in which case you may need bereavement counseling. You may want help with an addiction or you may need support for a relationship that you are in. If that’s the case then there are specialist organisations and therapists who work in these areas and they may be a good place to start.

Here are some links to websites of organisations which may be


There are so Many Therapists, Who Should I Choose?

There are many different types of models of therapy: psychodynamic and psychoanalytical, cognitive behavioural therapy, humanistic, person centred, integrative, it’s difficult to know which to choose. The counselling directory gives a good summary of each type of therapy available.

Research has shown that no matter what model of therapy we choose, it is the relationship between the client and the therapist that is the most important aspect and the one which makes the most difference in improvement.

What To Do Next

Make contact with them. Either email them or even better pick up the phone.

Book an initial session where you can meet. You can tell them a little about what is going on for you and why you are looking for counselling and they can tell you how they work.

It’s important to get a feel for a therapist before you start working with them. Take note of how you feel when you research the therapist, talk with them and meet them. Here are some questions to think about when you meet them:

Do you feel you could trust them and talk to them confidentially?

Do you feel understood? Does it feel like they get you and understand your problem? Can you imagine working with them?

Is the therapist clear about what they offer, what their fees are and how they work?

Are they fully qualified and accredited with a national umbrella body like BPC or BACP?

Don’t worry that you may be nervous. We all know that starting counselling or psychotherapy is a big step into the unknown. It’s totally normal to feel anxious when you first make contact and when you go to your first session. Just reach out to the therapist initially and they will help you find your way to them.


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