Finding a Private Therapist – The ‘Who, What, and Why’ to Navigate a Way Forward

Finding a suitable private therapist can be overwhelming, to put it lightly!

In this blog post, I hope to empower you to ask the right questions and make an informed decision when considering a potential private therapist.

This article by the BBC is a difficult read for therapists and clients alike, but it highlights several issues that I would like to bring to your attention. Please check the credentials and accreditation status of any practitioner that you are entrusting to work with your mental health, regardless of the title that they use.

Counselling

Counsellors should be recognised by the ‘British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy” (BACP) and found on their database available to the public. They will typically have had training to the level of a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A CBT therapist should be recognised by the ‘British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies’ (BABCP). This is the gold-standard organisation to ensure that they are competent, regulated, and meeting their annual CPD and supervision requirements. A BABCP-accredited CBT therapist will always be listed on their database, and you can be assured that they have undertaken postgraduate training in their speciality to a high level of either Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s Degree.

Psychology

Psychologists are chartered members of the ‘British Psychological Society’ (BPS), and regulated by them. They are also registered with the ‘Health and Care Professions Council’ (HCPC). They have a ‘protected title’, given to professionals following successful completion of an accredited doctorate course. Their title may include their specialty, such as a ‘Clinical Psychologist’, ‘Educational Psychologist’ or ‘Neuropsychologist’. A ‘Counselling Psychologist’ is a type of Psychologist, so their training, experience, and job role is different to a counsellor.

Credentials, Accreditation, and Regulation

Your qualified practitioner will have completed postgraduate training with relevant placements, following their undergraduate degree (3 years minimum). They will hold a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master’s Degree, or Doctorate in their subject. The time taken to achieve these qualifications can vary from 1 to 3+ years respectively.  

Sometimes, different types of therapists and psychologists may work together as part of a multi-disciplinary team. However, this is more common in NHS clinics.

If you become aware of a practitioner that is using their title incorrectly, is not accredited, or not upholding the standards of their regulatory body, you can take action. You can contact the organisations below for further advice, and you can work with an alternative therapist.

Most importantly – if you’re not sure, ask! Any practitioner should be happy to answer your questions before starting treatment.

Useful links that may help you:

Counselling:

https://www.bacp.co.uk/

https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

https://www.babcp.com/

https://www.cbtregisteruk.com/

Psychology:

https://www.bps.org.uk/

https://www.bps.org.uk/lists/cpsychol