“The talking therapies help people to take greater control of their lives and improve their confidence”
The Mental Health Foundation.
Different types of mental health professionals, such as counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, can practise talking therapies. Some people use the terms ’counselling’ and ’psychotherapy’ interchangeably. Others, from well-established traditions, distinguish between them. There is much overlap between the two and, as practitioners will want to be sure that what they offer is appropriate for you before there is any commitment on either side, they will be happy to explain their approach to you.
There are many different forms of talking therapy all of which have different theories of human development and the way the mind works. The different theories result in different methods of intervention. Different theoretical approaches suit different people and different problems. Some therapists work predominantly within one theoretical approach whereas others will combine different types of therapy or use elements from various therapies in their work. This is known as an integrative or eclectic approach. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) specifically recommends particular therapeutic approaches for certain types of problem. However, the aim of all therapists is to create an environment in which you feel safe discussing your feelings. It is worth noting that research tells us that feeling comfortable with your therapist affects how well your treatment works, so it is particularly important to find someone that you can talk openly to and feel at ease with.
You don’t have to have a mental health problem to benefit from talking therapy. We all know it is helpful if we can talk through a problem with a friend or family member, but there are many reasons why sometimes that is not possible. Talking to a professional therapist can help anyone who is experiencing distress. They are trained to listen, and give the individual the chance to discuss their thoughts and feelings, discovering how they are affecting their behaviour and mood – perhaps helping them to recognise patterns that may be helpful to change.