NHS or private?
Can I access counselling for free through the NHS?
It is government policy to make counselling and other talking treatments more easily available on the NHS. If you want to try a talking therapy, ask your GP, who will be aware of what’s available locally. Your GP can refer you for a short course of talking treatment that is free on the NHS.
More information about NHS counselling:
Paying for counselling
If you can afford it, you can choose to pay for your therapy privately. The cost of talking therapy varies and a one-hour session can cost between £40 and £100.
In the first instance, ask your GP if they can suggest a local private therapist. If you still need help, you can find a private therapist using the internet, the library or the Yellow Pages.
There are no rules governing who can advertise talking therapy services, so it’s essential to check that the therapist is listed on one of the registers of approved practitioners.
Talk to several therapists before you decide which one is right for you:
- British Psychological Society: psychologists.
- The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) is a multi-disciplinary interest group for people involved in the practice and theory of behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy.
- Association for Family Therapy (AFT): family therapists.
- Relate provides phone and online counselling for individuals and couples.
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is a professional body representing counselling and psychotherapy with over 37000 members and works toward a better standard of therapeutic practice.
- British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC): psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
- UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP): psychotherapists.
- College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT, formerly BASRT): couples counselling and sex therapists.
- Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA) provides information and help with: counselling, psychotherapy and counselling skills, finding a counsellor/psychotherapist, counselling services, other services …