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Counselling involves talking and listening. Most of us want or need someone to talk to, someone who listens and accepts us, especially when we are going through a bad patch. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than to a relative or friend.

Some therapists will aim to find the root cause of your problem and help you deal with this, some will help you change your behaviour or negative thoughts, while others will support you. Therapists are trained to listen attentively, to help you find your own answers without judging you.

People go into counselling for whole variety of reasons. It may be that someone has died, or left you, or that you have become depressed, or feel isolated. You may be unable to sleep, or perhaps you are having panic attacks. You may have lost your job or are facing some other life-change; or you may be simply trying to understand yourself better.


Talking therapies are not magic solutions to what sometimes seem to be wicked problems. It can be hard work and progress can be slow, erratic, and sometimes painful. It may not be the right time for you to talk just yet, or talking may make you feel worse at first. The most important thing is what you feel able to cope with, and this will change over time.

There are many kinds of talking therapies, and there is overlap between them. Therapists have different kinds of training, so their approaches and ways of working will vary. Research suggests that the relationship you build with your individual therapist is more important than the type of therapy you receive. If you and the therapist can work well together, trust and respect each other, it is more likely that the sessions will benefit you.

You might want to see a therapist from a similar background or culture, or you might prefer a female or male therapist; although good therapists will not impose their values or prejudices on you..

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