Guide to Accessing Therapy

Recognising that you are in need of support is a big step and can feel overwhelming if you don’t know practically how to do this or where to start. At Brighter Minds, we believe in empowering people and think it’s important to be informed about the support that is available so you can make the right choice for yourself, even if that means you don’t choose to work with us.


When, starting therapy, it can feel a big ask to meet with a stranger and open up about some of your personal difficulties, experiences and fears that you may possibly have never shared with anyone else before. It’s therefore important that you find a therapist you feel comfortable to do this with, who has the necessary skills and qualifications to support you and whom you can trust.


This guide certainly isn’t exhaustive but aims to provide an overview of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling and some of the most common ways that these therapies can be accessed.

Different Therapies


The two most common forms of therapy are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Counselling.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


CBT has been developed on the basis that we all have different beliefs and behavioural patterns that influence the way we feel and that making changes to what we think and do can improve the way we feel. CBT helps break your difficulties down so that they are easier to address and manage. It involves teaching you practical coping skills so that you can continue to manage difficulties yourself after therapy has ended.


It is largely a goal-focused therapy where you are supported to identify what you most want to gain from therapy and take active steps towards achieving this. Whilst CBT acknowledges how past experiences have shaped the way you think and behave, its focus is on the present and the approach is more practical than exploratory. Sessions are generally well structured, in line with your goals and include agreed ‘home practice’ tasks between sessions so that you can apply what you learn and build on this.


CBT has a strong evidence-base for its effectiveness and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for a number of mental health disorders including but not limited to depression, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The number of sessions recommended can vary but is usually between 6 and 25 and they are scheduled weekly or fortnightly. Regular sessions and practicing the techniques you learn between these sessions is important in sustaining long term change and improvements.


For further information, you may wish to read our guide, What to Expect from CBT.

Counselling


Counselling is a form of talking therapy that provides space for you to talk about your experiences and feelings and process this with the support of a counsellor. Your counsellor won’t offer advice or tell you what to do, but may ask questions that encourage you to reflect on your difficulties and support you to find your own solutions. You may wish to speak to a counsellor if you do not feel able to talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling. Counselling can be helpful for people experiencing bereavement, relationship difficulties or illness.

Brighter Minds do not provide counselling, however, this guide will provide information about how you may access this elsewhere.

Finding a Therapist


There are a number of ways to access therapy, including but not limited to the following:


NHS


You can access therapies through your GP or by self-referral to your local NHS therapy service. Further information about this can be accessed through the NHS website.


As this service is provided by the NHS, you do not need to pay for therapy. The therapies offered may include online therapy, telephone consultations, group courses or face to face therapy. Waiting list times and the number of sessions offered can vary across services so it can be helpful to enquire about this to help inform the decision you make about the route through which you access therapy.


If you are unsure about whether therapies would be helpful for you or want to know about other treatments, including medication, you can speak with your GP for further advice.

Private Therapists


In finding a therapist privately, it is important to ensure you find someone appropriately qualified. For CBT, the accrediting body is the British Association of Behavioural and Psychological Therapists (BABCP) and their therapist finder provides a professional register of qualified CBT therapists.


For counselling, the accrediting body is the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapists (BACP) and they also provide a register of counsellors.


Many therapists on these registers will include contact information or websites where you can find out more about them. If you find someone you think you’d like to work with, you may wish to contact them beforehand to speak with them informally or ask any questions you may have. Fees can vary considerably and are not always advertised. Counselling is generally charged at a lower rate than CBT.

Workplace or Education


Many employers provide an Employee Assistance Programme that includes access to therapies without cost to you. Information about this may be available in your employment contract, your workplace intranet, or via your HR department.

Universities and Higher Education Institutions often provide wellbeing support which may include therapies. If you are in education, it might be helpful to see if your institution offers this.

Charities


There are a number of charities that offer therapies without charge or at discounted rates. You may be able to find out about such services by looking online or speaking with your GP about services in your local area.


How We Can Help You


We specialise in CBT and are here to help you. You can arrange appointments with us easily online. Click here to book your first appointment.

If you would like any further information about the CBT services we provide at Brighter Minds, get in touch and we'll be happy to help you.




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