Bren McGrath – BACP registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” (C.S. Lewis)
What are the different approaches in counselling?
Psychological therapies generally fall into three main categories. These are behavioural therapies, which focus on thoughts and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that developed from childhood, and humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the ‘here and now’. This is a generalisation though and counselling/psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these approaches.
How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?
Only you can decide whether you wish to try counselling or psychotherapy. Just talking to someone in confidence who is not a friend or family member can make all the difference. Counselling or psychotherapy provides a regular time for those in distress to explore their feelings and talk about their problems. A counsellor should help you develop better ways of coping, allowing you to live the life you want.
Are counsellors or psychotherapists regulated?
Counsellors and psychotherapists are not currently regulated in the UK. However, in February 2007, the Government published a White Paper on the future of regulation that stated “The government is planning to introduce statutory regulation for psychotherapists and counsellors. Psychotherapists and counsellors will be regulated by the Health Professions Council”.
Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) Proposals for Voluntary Registers
The draft set of proposals for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) scheme to accredit voluntary registers was presented for consideration to the CHRE Council meeting on 15th November. These proposals can be found at CHRE.org.uk (PDF).
There are a number of areas in the paper that need more clarification, which will be explored more fully with the CHRE by the CEO and Director of Regulatory Policy.
Some of the standards and processes are becoming clearer. Further proposals are expected in the New Year. Check out www.bacp.co.uk for more information.
How can I be assured of a practitioners’ professionalism?
If you are wary about visiting a counsellor/psychotherapist I would suggest choosing a registered/accredited counsellor or psychotherapist. This way you know they are part of an organisation that offers a code of ethics and a complaints procedure.
What is registration/accreditation with a professional body?
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
What training, qualifications and experience should counsellors and psychotherapists have?
There are currently no laws in the UK regarding counselling and psychotherapy. However guidelines recommend that, in order to practise, counsellors should have completed at least an appropriate diploma, which required a supervised placement.