Why work with a Counselling Psychologist?

Counselling psychologists are trained to doctorate level in the practice and science of psychological therapies. Their work rests on extensive knowledge of the theories of human development and distress. Depending on the needs and wishes of clients, they may work in a specific modality of psychological therapy, such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or may integrate several ways of working due to their enhanced knowledge of the different approaches to talking and experiential therapies. This allows them to guide individualised care in response to the differing needs of the people they work with. They are also guided by the continually developing research base of the profession, in order to provide care that is substantiated by scientific enquiry and evaluation.

Whatever the approach, counselling psychologists’ work is centred on creating respectful and collaborative relationships that are designed to bring therapeutic benefit to clients. To enhance and guide counselling, they create a psychological formulation of their client’s concerns and difficulties. This is shared and reworked during therapy, as personal troubles are explored and understood, and as new ways of being and living come into view.

Alongside their academic and clinical training, counselling psychologists receive many hours of counselling themselves. They also undertake a form of personal development in which they explore their own psychological and emotional make up. In experiencing and working with their own psychological conflicts and disturbances, they come to understand themselves at greater depth. They also come to appreciate the value of a trusted therapist as a companion to personal exploration. They come to know how it feels and what it takes to be in the counselling chair.

After qualification, counselling psychologists receive regular supervision with a professional peer during which aspects of their work with clients are reflected upon. This is a supportive relationship that is guided by the ethical codes and practice guidelines of the profession. The aim is to enhance the quality of work with clients and to safeguard all concerned from any risk of harm and intrusion of privacy.

Counselling psychologists are required to complete 40 hours of continuing professional development each year, in order to develop and refine their skills and knowledges, enhance their personal wellbeing, ensure that they remain fit to practice their profession and maintain their professional registrations.