Many people benefit from talking over their problems with a counsellor and the field of counselling has grown enormously in recent years. As the field grows so does the number of approaches, and although this means that there is bound to be some form of counselling to suit most people, it can be difficult to make a choice.
Before you begin your enquiries, you need to think about why you feel you need counselling. Is it for personal problems such as low self-esteem? Is it for relationship problems or for sexual problems? Certain types of counselling may best serve some problems.
Some counselling styles offer more direction than others. Do you want someone just to listen, or do you want someone who will challenge the way you are looking at your problems? Is it for you or someone else? Do you want couples counselling or a one-to-one? Having these few points clear beforehand will help with your enquiries.
When considering counselling, it is absolutely essential to start with the subject of qualifications. Just as you wouldn’t allow an untrained person to tinker with your car or your washing machine, you shouldn’t entrust your emotional life to just anybody. Regulation is a long time coming, so it’s important that you go through the proper channels to make sure you get a reputable counsellor. This isn’t difficult to do.
Today, a lot of GPs have a counsellor in their practise. If they don’t, your family doctor is still a good place to start. Other organisations, such as Relate (which used to be called the Marriage Guidance Council), offer trained counsellors who are supervised.
You could also contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) (www.bac.co.uk). The BACP has a very strict accreditation process and a ethical code.You may want to take into account a personal recommendation but it is absolutely essential that you check them out from one of these sources.
For further information contact:
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
1 Regent Place, Rugby, Warks
Telephone: 0870 443 5252