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How do you start to look for a therapist?

Taking that first step towards working with a counsellor or a therapist can feel daunting. How do you start to look for a therapist, and what should you be looking for when thinking about support?

In the UK, counselling is not under statutory regulation so anyone can offer their services as a counsellor or a therapist. This means that looking for help could come with many pitfalls, while there are no laws in the UK regarding counselling and psychotherapy, there are guidelines in place.

It is voluntary for counsellors and therapists to register to become a member of a professional body, but would you see an unregistered doctor or nurse?

Professional bodies are there to help reassure you that counsellors and therapists have the experience and qualifications to ensure safe practice.

Different professional bodies have different requirements, (counsellors/therapists could be registered with one or more). The National Counselling Society (NCS), The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) etc are examples of professional bodies.

The professional body will ask for evidence of professional training, practice hours, clinical supervision, indemnity insurance, continued ongoing professional practice etc but even then, it is still best to ask about their accreditation and check the register.

Check their experience and areas of expertise, does their training/qualifications mentioned cover their areas of work? For e.g., working with children and young people is different to working with adults, do they have any professional training in this area?

Therapists will not mind questions about training, expertise, type of therapy they offer etc so don’t be afraid to ask.

YOU are employing someone to do a job it is important that they meet your needs, and most of all it's important that you and your loved ones have the risk of harm reduced, a registered body means accountability.


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