What type of therapy is right for me?
If you’re looking into therapy for the first time, you’ve probably read about CBT, counselling, psychotherapy, and psychology. If you’re wondering where the difference lies, or what these unique treatments might mean for you, keep reading.
Book an appointment
We’ve partnered with Mental Health Prevention Lead Lisa Gunn to clear things up so you can quickly find the best treatment option for you.
Talk with a therapist
At Nuffield Health, we offer a wide range of confidential mental health services and therapies. An initial assessment and personalised report from a trained professional will help you understand which type of therapy will work best for you.
You can book a call with one of our therapists at a time and date that is convenient for you using the call button at the top of the page. Alternatively, click here to book online.
What to expect when you call
A mental health triage assessment at Nuffield Health involves a telephone conversation between you and one of our trained and trusted therapists. This call usually lasts around 30 minutes.
During your call, you’ll have the time and space to talk about your problems and what’s led you to seek support at this time. A therapist will then ask you a series of questions to find out more about your symptoms and to make sure you’re feeling safe.
Once this is finished, there will be time to discuss treatment options and to arrange a booking with one of our therapists to start a course of treatment that works for you.
Types of therapy and how they work
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
CBT actively explores the links between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It looks at the interaction between these three areas and helps you develop a toolkit of techniques to manage a range of difficulties, with the aim of equipping you to become your own therapist by the end of treatment.
Counselling aims to help you recognise your strengths, creativity, and choices, while considering self-development, growth and responsibilities. The therapist allows you to explore these areas via a process of self-discovery which enables you to uncover your own truths and solutions.
Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapy
Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies focus on the ‘unconscious’ (hidden from your awareness) or relationship patterns that evolved from childhood. These techniques explore how ‘hidden’ the subconscious can influence our present-day behaviours and patterns of thinking.
Art therapies use media such as painting, music and drama to encourage you to draw on your inner creative resources. It facilitates creative expression of your feelings, without always using words
Relationship therapy looks to resolve issues and improve communication within couples or other relationships. While they are usually attended by couples or all parties within a relationship, they can also be attended by individuals or a mixture of both.
Relationship therapy seeks to resolve issues and improve communication between partners. While they are usually attended by couples or all parties within a relationship, they can also be attended by individuals or a mixture of both.
More about CBT
A CBT therapist could be a psychologist, a nurse, a social worker, or a specialist CBT therapist.
Most CBT therapists tend to be accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), indicating a high level of training and commitment to this type of therapy. Some psychological therapists might use aspects of CBT in their practice but might not call themselves CBT therapists if this is not the main type of therapy they use.
Once you’ve finished your course of treatment, you will have a better understanding of the thought processes that influence your behaviours. CBT is all about working through problems with the aim of creating a mental toolkit that you can use in the future.
Choosing CBT over counselling
You might choose CBT instead of counselling when you’re working towards changing repeated patterns in your life, and you know what it is you’d like to change.
Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on what you can do practically to change how you feel, or to change the impact your emotions are having on your life. CBT is particularly useful as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and breaking potentially unhelpful cycles like addictive behaviour.
More about counselling
Counselling involves a series of face to face or virtual meetings with a therapist who will listen to you and help you navigate difficult emotional challenges.
While counselling is occasionally used as an umbrella term for various talking therapies, it is a form of therapy in its own right. Counselling fosters open dialogue about everyday issues and can also be used to address specific mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.
Choosing counselling over CBT
You might choose counselling over CBT when your problem is caused by something that can't be changed (for example a bereavement, or a long-term illness), or when you’re unsure whether you need to make a change in your life (like a difficult relationship).
Counselling is often used to help you adjust to difficult circumstances. It can also be helpful if you aren’t sure what the problem is.
What is a psychologist?
A psychologist is someone who has completed a degree and postgraduate qualification in psychology. They are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and can train up to a doctorate level or equivalent.
The types of psychologists who usually specialise in treating mental health problems are clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists.
Counselling psychologists usually specialise in counselling and psychodynamic psychotherapy, while clinical psychologists are trained to assess and treat people with a wide range of difficulties, but then tend to specialise in a particular area at the end of their general training. Both types of psychologists can also be CBT therapists.
The difference between a psychologist and a CBT therapist
The term “psychologist” refers to someone who has a degree in psychology and has further studied in aspects of the human mind and behaviour.
A “CBT therapist” describes the type of therapy this person practices. The term “psychological therapist” is most often used to describe any individual who delivers a form of talk-based therapy.
Why choose Nuffield Health?
At Nuffield Health, we do all the research for you. Our trusted services remove the need for guesswork or worry.
With years of experience, we know exactly what to look for in our therapists and which questions to ask. All our therapists have passed stringent quality control tests to give you access to safe, secure, and confidential mental health services.
We also insist that all our therapists have the highest DBS clearance, valid insurance cover, the right level of qualifications to support you and the appropriate accreditation with a professional body.
What does a session look like?
Therapy sessions are provided by a trained mental health professional. These sessions are usually conducted on a one-to-one basis, but can include couples, families, or groups. Sessions can take place in a face-to-face setting, or remotely over the phone or via video link.
Therapy is completely confidential and provides a safe, empathic, and non-judgmental space for you to discuss your problems and concerns with a trained professional.
Which therapy style works best?
There is no answer to this question. Which therapy will work best for you depends on several factors that can be explored at an initial consultation with a professional.
Many different types of therapy are effective, and some approaches work better than others for different problems or concerns. You may also find that one style simply appeals to you more than another.
As we’ve seen, therapists are often trained in more than one approach, and there are areas where techniques used by the different approaches often overlap. Sometimes therapists integrate a number of approaches, or use a blend of different approaches depending on the person and type of support needed.
What’s best for me?
The most effective way to find out which therapy is best for you is to have a personal consultation with a trained mental health professional. They know exactly what questions to ask about your situation to work out which style of therapy will suit you best.
A Nuffield Health consultation also includes a fully personalised report outlining the best treatment recommendations for you.
Can I do research on my own?
It can be useful to read about the different types of therapy available. It’s also a good idea to check out which therapies have the best evidence to support them. For example, current evidence shows that CBT is the most effective treatment for a wider range of types of mental ill health, including many anxiety problems such as panic, social anxiety, OCD and depression.
Keep in mind that it can be easy to get lost in online information. Remember that a style of therapy that worked for friends or family may not be the best fit for you, so try and avoid personal recommendations. The best way to find out what will work best for you is always to take the advice of a professional.
Things to avoid
Anyone in the UK can call themselves a therapist. Because of this, it can be difficult to make sense of the courses and qualifications that some therapists mention.
It is best to choose a therapist who is registered with a professional body like the BABCP or UKCP so you know they have the relevant qualifications and DBS checks to work inside important ethical and clinical guidelines.
- Choose a therapist that you feel comfortable and safe with
- There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to therapy
- A mental health assessment can help you understand which therapy type is right for you
- Testimonials and recommendations can be useful, but it’s best you engage with a professional to help you find the right option
- A Nuffield Health triage assessment includes a tailored report unique to you
- You can book for a time that suits you using the call button at the top of the page
To help with any confusing or unfamiliar terminology, we’ve put together this nice and easy glossary for you to view below.
Behavioural therapy: an umbrella term for therapy techniques that seek to adjust behaviours
Cognitive behavioural therapy: a solution based therapy where you work through potentially problematic patterns of thinking
Counselling: a talk-based therapy where problems are talked through with a professional
Psychoanalysis: a therapy focussing on the interaction between the conscious and unconscious mind
Psychodynamic psychotherapy: looking into the relationship between parts of the mind and the personality that may have developed in childhood and how they might impact you now
Talk-based therapy: therapy where you talk about thoughts and feelings with a professional
Psychologist: a professional with a degree in psychology who specialises in the study of mind and behaviour
Psychiatrist: a doctor concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions
Therapist: a common term for anyone offering a type of therapy