What is Counselling?
Counselling and psychotherapy are defined by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) as:
‘umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.’
Counselling offers a confidential, non-judgemental space without distractions, where you can talk through your concerns with someone who is trained to listen.
And a counsellor can help you to address your problems in a positive way, by helping you to clarify the issues, explore your options, develop strategies and increase your self-awareness.
It is not a counsellor’s role to tell you what to do, or to decide if something is right or wrong; but rather to try to understand your situation from your point of view, in order to help you to figure out what you want to change and how to make it happen.
And this can empower you to take positive steps to overcome whatever is holding you back.
Counselling is often on a one-to-one basis, meeting in person in a designated counselling space. But these meetings can also take place on a screen via Zoom or over the telephone, depending on what best suits you.
There are also instances when counselling might take place with more people present, such as with couples counselling and within a group counselling setting.
What should I look for in a counsellor/ therapist?
There are various approaches/styles of counselling; I would be known professionally as a Humanistic Integrative therapist. What this basically means is that I have been trained in a variety of approaches to counselling, where I can tailor my approach to the model that best suits your needs. I won't go into the intricacies of the science behind it, but if you'd like to know more please feel free to ask.
Unfortunately in the UK, the title of counsellor or therapist aren’t yet protected (unlike Doctors or Solicitors), which means that there is no regulation against someone doing a basic counselling course and setting themselves up as a counsellor.
I believe that any professional therapist should hold an active registration with a recognized regulatory body for counsellors/therapists, such as the BACP. The role of the BACP is to ensure the safeguarding of clients when it comes to working with a therapist who is registered with them.
In order to achieve registration with the BACP, a therapist must have completed:
450 hours of learning on a BACP accredited counselling course
Minimum of 150 hours of therapy hours
Adhere to a strict ethical framework, ensuring that clients are well represented at all times in the therapeutic process
Following registration, BACP therapists are required to:
- Re-register every 12 months, reconfirming active practice.
- Undertake continuous professional development every year.
- Actively engage in clinical supervision in order to be held accountable for their work.
- Continue to subscribe to the BACP Ethical Framework
So even if you decide not to continue your counselling journey with Palms, I strongly recommend that you choose a counsellor/ therapist who is a member of a recognised professional body, as this will ensure that you're sat with someone who has been formally trained to work with you.