Counselling psychologists focus on relating the skills and knowledge of personal and interpersonal dynamics to the therapeutic context.
They use psychological theory and research in therapeutic work to help clients with a range of difficult life issues including bereavement, domestic violence, sexual abuse, traumas and relationship issues. The majority of counselling psychologists work in health and social care settings, including the NHS, and also help support people to manage a wide range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychosis. Other counselling psychologists are based in consultancy, prisons and probation services, education and research, and private practice.
Counselling psychologists work collaboratively with the client in a holistic way in order to alleviate distress and empower recovery, with a value base grounded in the counselling psychotherapeutic relationship. Practising as a counselling psychologist requires a high level of training and self-awareness, and counselling psychologists must also engage in personal therapy.
Clients can include children, adults, families, couples, groups and organisations.
All counselling psychologists in the UK must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and have completed training at postgraduate level, either by completing a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, or the BPS Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP).
“The relationship with my husband wasn’t ‘accessible’ anymore. We tried to talk things through ourselves for months and months but nothing seemed to make a difference. Sessions with a counselling psychologist really helped us to work through our differences and make a path for the future. We are now feeling more confident as a couple again.”