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Three Kinds of Psychotherapy

From a layman’s perspective it’s easy to think that all psychology jobs are the same, but there are very many different kinds of talking therapies requiring specialist training and suited to different kinds of issue.  We’ll put the spotlight on three today, to help you make better choices about what you might need, either as a client or if you are looking for a job in the field. With one in four people suffering a mental health issue every year, it’s important to be informed about the help that’s available.

Psychotherapy counselling


Counselling is probably what you think of if you summon a mental image of ‘therapy’: a series of sessions (normally arranged in blocks of six or twelve) with a single professional counselor. This is normally best suited for people without a specific mental health issue, but who may be unhappy with how they cope with a particular situation or emotion. People often choose counselling if their life has undergone a dramatic change like a bereavement, divorce or even a promotion, so they can talk with a trusted person in confidence about how to deal with things constructively and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychologists work with people to diagnose mental health conditions and treat them with psychological techniques (rather than with drugs). They work with patients to identify conditions like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Depression, and Schizophrenia and use techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to give them tools to manage these conditions. At times, especially when working with the NHS, Clinical Psychologists may be working with patients with conditions that could make them a threat to themselves or others and focus on ways to help them through this crisis.

In the NHS, Clinical Psychologists could work in hospitals, within a Social Services unit, or in a local health centre or clinic.


A close relative of counselling, Psychotherapy (imagine Freud, Jung or Frasier Crane for the popular image of a psychotherapist) is focused on longer courses of sessions discussing a patient’s past and finding the root of issues they are facing today in their previous experiences.

Psychotherapy has been shown to help people suffering from depression and longer term mental health issues, while Clinical Psychologists may be more helpful for someone facing an immediate crisis. Psychotherapists working for the NHS are based in hospitals, while those in private practice often work from home or a rented office.

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