Read our posts about counselling

Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Guardian journalist Zoe Williams has known integrative psychotherapist Julia Bueno since they were teenagers. But they have never before spoken about Julia’s profession - how it works, why she does it, and whether Zoe is sceptical about the whole process. Welldoing put them together for a truth-telling session. ZOE: My prejudice about therapy is that it's every day, it really gets into your life, it goes on for eight years, the therapist doesn't say very much and you talk yourself into an answer . JULIA: Therapy isn't like that. You are thinking about 'old...
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Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy arguably exist on a continuum;  Julia Bueno has given a good explanation of the differences in her article Who does what? Talking therapies explained on this site.  Compared to the more emotional focus of psychotherapy and counselling, coaching is typically addressed at specific issues in a person’s life which may be perceived as dilemmas, conflicts, or simply “being stuck”.  These issues very often appear at first sight to be mostly practical in nature, but a little investigation frequently reveals deeper truths.  It would certainly...
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Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the most effective. Connecting to our senses promotes wellbeing and relaxation through our sight, sound, smell, and touch. Learning how to manage the everyday and extraordinary stresses of life is a vital skill – one that everyone can develop simply and easily with minimal expense. While there is little that can be done to take away the risk factor, stress - including traumatic events - is increasingly part of everyone’s experiences. While you may not be able to avoid it, you can do something to mitigate the risks and reduce...
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Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Anniversaries are generally considered to be celebrations, marking events, people, places and times that we have loved and enjoyed. They bring us into contact with memories we wish to retain and relive such as birthdays, graduations and weddings to name but a few. Anniversaries have a place the world over, in culture, religion, history and society. But what happens when anniversaries become difficult? In my work as a psychotherapist I have come to believe that the reason some anniversaries are difficult is two-fold. Firstly these anniversaries act as a type of...
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How to Choose a Therapist

How to Choose a Therapist

I have to admit that simply following your intuition and inclination is not such a bad way to go. This is particularly true if you know a fair bit about therapy, such as the various different approaches. It is even more of an option if you have a clear sense of what you want to achieve in therapy. But what if you want to approach this question more systematically? Let’s work through a few variables that, from my experience, people contemplating therapy are concerned about. Age I have never heard of anyone saying ‘I really want a very young therapist’. This is...
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How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

As part of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) requirements for Continuous Professional Development, I recently attended a training course on Affairs and their impact on the couple relationship. It was a fascinating course with therapists from different cultures, training and moral values. Affairs are always a controversial subject, often touching both therapists and clients deeply and on a personal level. A quarter of couples coming for relationship counselling present an extramarital affair as their reason for seeking counselling. A...
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Who Does What? Talking Therapies Explained

Who Does What? Talking Therapies Explained

'Shrinks' come in various guises, but understanding what type of practitioner they are may help to make more sense of the work they do. Counselling or psychotherapy? First off, you may wonder about the difference between counselling and psychotherapy. Even the professionals aren't agreed on a definitive distinction, as both involve talking to someone who is trained to listen and respond in appropriate and helpful ways. However, generally, counselling deals with a specific issue over a short period of time (‘goal-oriented’), while psychotherapy tends to work...
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EMDR Explained

EMDR Explained

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing may sound like an occult magic trick, but in fact it is a form of psychotherapy developed by the American psychologist Francine Shapiro in 1989. She noticed that when feeling depressed, if she moved her eyes in different directions her level of distress reduced considerably. I was first drawn to the technique because of the controversy that surrounded it. When I found out more, I became intrigued by the techniques themselves, which seemed  to produce profound changes, although seemingly simplistic and rather inexplicable...
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What Twenty-Something Depression Feels Like

What Twenty-Something Depression Feels Like

Towards the end of July 2010 my boyfriend broke up with me. We'd been together for three months. At first it seemed like any other breakup - I felt sad, and cried, and missed him, but within the usual realms of a relationship ending. However, the signs were there that this break-up had hurt me more than I'd originally realised. I lost a lot of weight really quickly, without realising or trying. I ended up in tears one morning, after trying on outfits for university for two hours. I hated how I looked, and I was terrified of seeing him when I thought I looked ugly. The...
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