Mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. According to the World Health Organization, treating mental health is an integral and essential part of treating a person’s overall health.

What is counselling?

Counselling falls under the umbrella term ‘talking therapies’ and allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.

A counsellor is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do. Instead, they will encourage you to talk about what's bothering you in order to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking. The counsellor may then look to create a plan of action to either help you reconcile your issues, or help you to find ways of coping.

How can counselling help?

The way counselling can help will depend on the person receiving the treatment. For many, the fact that counselling offers a safe and confidential environment to speak in is all it takes.

In life, what we say to others can sometimes have a knock-on effect, altering relationships and the way people see each other. Counselling eliminates this problem and offers you the space and freedom to explore your own thoughts with an unbiased party.

While counsellors may not give you concrete advice or a checklist of things to do to feel better, what they will do is help you uncover your own insight and understanding of your problems providing you with the tools which will help you to resolve them on your own.

In the majority of cases, a single session will not be enough to help overcome any issues you're facing. Counselling is a journey, and it takes time and consistency to work effectively. Because of this, many people opt for regular counselling sessions to make the most of the process.

Counselling can help you understand yourself better and the way you think, which will ultimately help you develop a clearer understanding of your problems. The more armed with information you are, the easier it gradually becomes to navigate your way through any difficulties you are facing, so that eventually you can come out the other side feeling more positive. Counselling can also help you better understand other people's point of view, which can shed light onto the way you interpret words or actions.

Qualifications and Professional Registration

In the UK, counsellors typically have had a minimum of two years of training (often many more), and at least 150 hours of experience working with clients in order to achieve a professional counselling qualification. A qualified counsellor should be registered/accredited with a professional body, which means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation. The counsellor should also be a member of the Accredited Register held by the Professional Standards Authority. This means that when clients choose a counsellor from an Accredited Register, they have the assurance that the counsellor has met the high standards required to be listed on the register.

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