Why Counselling in Private Practice?
Updated: May 28
This is often the first stumbling block for people considering counselling. It’s already a potentially daunting prospect to share your most personal, most painful or most remorseful thoughts with a stranger. Adding the question, “Which stranger?” can sometimes make us feel so overwhelmed that we put counselling on the back burner. Life then gets a bit better, we forget about counselling, we go on with our lives, and then BOOM! You find yourself here again!
With one in four of us experiencing a Mental Health issue at some point in our lives suggests to me that we can all do with a bit of support! And the number is increasing. Despite the NHS’S IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme, not all needs can be met by existing services. In many instances, the prescribed 8 sessions isn’t enough to get to the route of the problem. These clients are then discharged; having been given some tools and understanding, but not the time they needed to explore the issue to its fullest. And often not long enough to truly BELIEVE that the can initiate change. I know this, because I also work in the IAPT arena.
What are the benefits of Private Practice?
TIME. Your money, your time. This idea generates personal power to the client. It can make clients work harder at exploring the issue. Taking more action (if appropriate).
TIME. When considering counselling NHS waiting times can be obstructive. With private practice, there are no time restrictions. Additionally if you DO need to go at a gentle pace, then finding a private counsellor is key. Some issues take time to explore and a private practice can provide the safety net of on-going support. Safety and the containment of difficult issues are extremely important to a counsellor. As a counsellor, it is my job to ‘see ahead’ and to make sure the pace is ‘safe’.
CHOICE. Choice of location, time, language spoken, gender, type of counselling required. There are great counselling directories on search engines where you can enter all criteria important to your needs. Use them, research your counsellor. Go for an initial meeting. You do not have to commit if the relationship doesn’t feel quite right in the room.
HIGHER LEVEL OF CONFIDENTIALITY. Counsellors in private practice keep their notes confidential. It doesn’t appear on a Mental Health Record or Work Record.
Please note: The same ethical rules apply in breaking confidentiality regarding discussing Murder, Manslaughter, Drug Trafficking, Terrorism and Immediate risk of suicide.
The important thing to remember is to choose a counsellor that is registered to a governing body, like the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) or NCS (National Counselling Society). In order to be registered, counsellors have to abide by ethical codes, have indemnity insurance, and have regular supervision.
Also, be patient. Counsellors don’t have magic wands. But what they should have in abundance is the belief that you can do this, whatever it is (personal to each of you). The counsellor’s role is to be present, to be with you along the way, to figuratively hold you when you feel like you might fall. Stick with it, especially when it gets hard.