FAQ Counselling and Psychotherapy
What is the difference between a psychotherapist and counsellor?
A psychotherapist is someone who practices psychotherapy. This is a broad description of many different forms of talking therapies and approaches. Many professionals use the titles psychotherapist and counsellor interchangeably. A psychotherapist is a qualified individual who works with talk therapies to help people overcome emotional, social and mental health problems.
Psychotherapists are not regulated by law. Please see the About Psychotherapy page
A counsellor is a type of psychotherapist they will use psychotherapy approaches to help clients overcome their difficulties. This could be just talking through the problems with the client or a much more structured approach. The nature of the counselling will depend on the requirements of the client.
Counsellors are not regulated by law. Please see the About Counselling page.
What are the different therapies used?
Follow this link to the page that describes them in detail.
How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?
There are no fixed criteria, so only you can decide to see a counsellor or psychotherapist. Counselling and psychotherapy provide a present time to work with a professional and talk about your problems. They can help you develop, see and feel things differently; so enhance your life.
How many people in the UK have counselling or psychotherapy?
There are no definitive figures as there are no figures for how many people see private counsellors or psychotherapists or seek help from religious institutions. Probably over 1 million people each year in the UK seek help for a mental health problem. Also the number of people entering these professions is ever increasing – often people who have been helped.
How can I be assured of a practitioners’ professionalism?
If you are wary about visiting a counsellor or psychotherapist we would suggest someone who is NOT a member of a professional body. All ACCPH counsellors and psychotherapists will have been vetted that they are fully qualified to at least a Level 3 and got full professional insurance. They also have to sign our Code of Conduct/Ethics.
What is ACCPH/a professional body?
As previously stated counsellors and psychotherapists are not regulated by law. So they have no legal obligation to join a professional body. Most professional bodies are set up by experienced people who wish to take on the role of self-regulation of the profession.
Therefore; membership of that professional body will mean members will have met strict professional standards and must follow by a code of ethics. These professional bodies should have a public complaints procedure in place. Some are only there to protect their members.
ACCPH has a clearly defined and stringent membership criteria, a very strong Code of Conduct/Ethics and public complaints procedure. You can read all of these on this website.
What is membership/accreditation with a ACCPH mean for a Counsellor/psychotherapist?
To be a Member of ACCPH the therapist must have achieved a minimum Level 2 qualification by an Ofqual regulated body or a school accredited by us. This is usually home study only.
Accredited therapists must have achieved a minimum Level 3 qualification by an Ofqual regulated body or a school accredited by us. This is will include a minimum number of classroom teaching and supervised client practice hours.
We run conversion courses so that Members with home study courses can complete the required teaching hours to become accredited.
Some accredited members may gain that status by the Portfolio Route. They could have qualified with a school we do not recognise or other means such as workplace training, if they have proven through a portfolio of evidence that they are qualified to the level we require.
What experience should counsellors and psychotherapists have?
There is no hard and fast rule here. Everyone has to start somewhere. There are some counsellors and psychotherapists who have recently qualified and are as good as people with several years experience, (and unfortunately vice versa).
You can always check how long the therapist you choose has been qualified.
How long does each counselling/psychotherapy session last?
Most are in the region of 50-60 minutes. Your counsellor or psychotherapist will tell you this.
How often will I see my counsellor or psychotherapist?
Most counsellors and psychotherapists use weekly sessions. But this can vary depending on the type of therapy, you and the therapist. Your therapist will make this clear from the outset.
Do I have to pay for counselling or psychotherapy sessions?
All ACCPH counsellors and psychotherapists are private therapists and will usually charge for sessions. They will let you know what their fees per session are – they should put it on their profile.
Fees can depend on the location and experience of the counsellor/psychotherapist. London and other city locations may be the most expensive. Some counsellors may offer an initial assessment or consultation, reductions for people who are unemployed or on a low income. Senior Members and Fellows, or supervisors also tend to charge a little more.
If you want free therapy contact your GP or a charitable organisation.
Which counsellor or psychotherapist do I choose?
ACCPH lists counsellors and psychotherapists from all over the UK and abroad. Please read their profiles before deciding which to choose. Ask them questions and usually one of the ones you contact will stand out a little more than the others.
Can I have counselling or psychotherapy on Skype or by telephone?
Many counsellors and psychotherapists offer Skype and telephone appointments if you’d rather not or cannot see them face to face. If it is not on their profile you can still ask if they do it.
Do counsellors or psychotherapists offer group sessions or workshops?
Some counsellors and psychotherapists offer workshops and group sessions. Ask the therapist if you are thinking of using if they run them.
How can I find out more about counselling and psychotherapy?
ACCPH has tried to be quite detailed in the way we provide information to the public. However; we do realise that some people may wish to find out more about a particular therapy approach. Usually counsellors and psychotherapists provide more detailed information on their website.
I’m worried about someone else – will a counsellor or psychotherapist give me information to help a friend myself?
It is highly unlikely and would be very unprofessional. ACCPH would not condone this type of information. They cannot give out advice without full information about the friend and without their consent.
What happens if I miss a booked session?
Your therapist will explain such things as part of their terms and conditions on missed appointments. The same will apply to late attendance at sessions.
What happens if I don’t like my therapist/Can I change my counsellor or psychotherapist?
The relationship between the client and their therapist is very important. This is sometimes called the ‘therapeutic relationship’. Do not “just disappear” tell your therapist that you are not happy and they may be able to refer you to another person that you will feel more comfortable with.
Can the therapist guarantee to cure me? Will counselling or psychotherapy work for me? Can I get a refund if I don’t get better?
No therapist can guarantee counselling or psychotherapy will cure you or work for you. These therapies have helped millions of people overcome their difficulties. The therapists supply the safe environment and tools for you to make the changes you desire. If they have provided these correctly and you do not make the changes in your mind, sorry but that is not their fault.
You are employing the services, (time and therapeutic knowledge), of the counsellor or psychotherapist, you will have had this so no refund is due.
The only circumstances that a refund may be applicable is if a therapist has misled you or broken our Code of Conduct/Ethics.
Can I bring a family member or friend with me to the sessions?
You may be able to the first time you meet counsellor or psychotherapist. They may be allowed in or asked to sit outside. You need to check this before you arrive. It is usually far better to have nobody you know in the room as they often prevent you talking honestly, especially if they are your partner..
Is there a lower age limit for having counselling?
This is a very grey area. Some professional bodies subscribe to the concept that someone is still a child until they reach 18. So up to that age parental consent is required.
ACCPH works on the basis that generally, if you are over 16, you can decide for yourself to come to counselling. You can give consent for an operation or abortion at 16 so unless you are of diminished responsibility you can have counselling or psychotherapy.
Between the ages of 13 and 16 is a very grey area and the therapist will make a careful decision about whether your parent or carer should know that you are coming and will encourage you to tell them yourself.
ACCPH allows its counsellors and psychotherapists to make the final decision on age limitations. It is usually the case that the client cannot pay so a responsible adult is normally involved in the process.
As more questions get asked ACCPH will add to the FAQ Counselling page.