Talking therapies for adults

Sometimes it can be easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends.

Sometimes we need a compassionate, fully attentive and non-judgemental environment to help us move forward. Although there are lots of different types of talking therapy, they all have a similar aim: to explore what you as an individual can do to make your own choices and changes that will ultimately improve how you feel.

Therapy of any type cannot change past events or magic problems away and it should not involve someone telling you what to do. Seeing a trained counsellor or therapist can help you find your own answers to problems; offer new perspectives and show you healthy and safe coping strategies for the future.

The Mental Health foundation have resources explaining the different treatment types in more detail.

Two main types of talking therapy are:

  • Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Talking Therapy services locally


Free services Your GP can refer you to the local talking therapies services (nationally known as IAPTs). They arrange a phone assessment with you. Based on your discussion, you will either be offered short-term counselling or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
You can also refer yourself locally to the same service by contacting Mindmatters (Surrey’s local service) here.

PrivateBACP: the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapists  lists all recognised practitioners and helps you find a therapist near you.
Counselling directory lists lots of useful articles and resources about the different types of help available and enables you to find a therapist near to you
Optima Health . A local wellbeing service based in Cobham offering 1-2-1 counselling and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). Recommended therapists are Hannah Walker (counsellor) and Peter Bryan (CBT and EMDR). They also operate independently elsewhere.

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Counselling and Psychotherapy have trust, respect, equality, congruence and confidentiality as their foundation.Very generally speaking, counselling can be viewed as shorter term and working more in the present, looking at what is going on now for the client. Psychotherapy is based on psychological theory, exploring a person’s early years, their childhood environment, past events and influences. This can offer clues to understanding present circumstances and responses. There is much overlap between the two and many counsellors are also trained psychotherapists.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

As illustrated in the diagram below, CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviour are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings affect your body and the way you behave. The result is a vicious cycle. CBT aims to challenge Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs) which fuel the cycle. For more information on how it works see here.

CBT has been used widely in the NHS and is now a major part of the services offered by the national IAPTS (improving access to psychological therapies programme. Research shows that it is very effective in anxiety and depression.

CBT Resources

Free online CBT resources

  • MoodGYM: Information, quizzes, games and skills training to help prevent depression
  • Living Life to the Full:  Free online life skills course for people feeling distressed and their carers.  Helps you understand why you feel as you do and make changes in your thinking, activities, sleep and relationships.
  • FearFighter: Free access can only be prescribed by your doctor in England and Wales
  • Moodjuice: They offer fantastic free worksheets on a range of mental health problems including this one on anxiety.

Other useful CBT web links

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
Beating the Blues (not free)

Self-help books using CBT

The ‘Overcoming’ series, Constable and Robinson. Self-help books which use the theories and concepts of CBT to help people overcome many common problems. Titles include: overcoming social anxiety and shyness, overcoming depression and overcoming low self-esteem.

Reading Well Books on Prescription helps you manage your well-being using self-help reading. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and is supported by public libraries.

If you know of any useful resources on this topic, please do comment below or contact us here.

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