How to find a therapist: what type of therapy is right for you?

One of the main plus points to finding a private therapist is choice. Whilst it’s more likely within NHS or similar therapy provisions to be allocated a therapist, you choose your therapist yourself when you go privately.


I have written the ‘find a therapist’ blog series to provide some clarity when making these choices, so you can gain some confidence with deciding who to get in touch with.


Anyone who doesn’t have a background in counselling or psychology is unlikely to know what the terms therapists use in their profiles actually mean. This post in particular provides some basic information about the most common approaches to therapy and how to find out more about them, if you want to know which is suited to you.


What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychotherapist?


The term ‘therapist’ can be confusing. It tends to be used as a blanket term for someone who offers some form of therapy - mental health or otherwise - and shouldn’t be confused with terms like Counsellor or Psychotherapist; these describe the service the therapist offers.


Read more about the differences between counselling and psychotherapy here.


Different types of therapy


Most therapists will list their therapeutic approach and the therapist directories provide the option to search for a therapist based on this - sometimes called a modality. But what are the main approaches and how do you know if they will suit you?


Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy


Many therapists, including me, choose to train in an integrative way. This means that throughout our training, we explored a variety of different approaches to therapy and built a range of skills.


I like to think of having a therapeutic toolbox which gives me, and other integrative therapists, the opportunity to draw on different ‘tools’ in our work and adjust the way we work to the individual person we meet.


Below is a list of common therapeutic modalities; these will sometimes form the ‘tools’ for integrative therapists or provide a core model for therapists who offer a specific form of therapy. Instead of repeating what is already available, I’ve included links to pages that I think provide the most simplistic information about each approach.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


CBT focuses on unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours. It aims to challenge these in order to create change and centres on solving current problems.


Read more about CBT on Mind’s website.


The Person-Centred Approach


The main focus of this approach is to encourage and facilitate growth and change within ourselves, so that we reach our own full potential. Your therapist will work alongside you, to help you reach the changes you are seeking.


The Counselling Directory has a useful information page about person-centred therapy: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/person-centred-therapy.html


Psychodynamic Therapy


I’m going to hand over to Psychology Today for this one, their info page is great - https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/therapy-types/psychodynamic-therapy


Creative therapies


Some therapists draw on drama, art and play in their therapeutic work - and this isn’t just when working with children.


Again, Mind lists a great set of information about art and creative therapy - click here to read it.


And if trying to find a therapist feels confusing…


As you may have read in my other posts from the ‘find a therapist’ series, focusing on one aspect in this way might feel too confusing or overwhelming.


If this is you, there is good news. There are other ways to find a therapist that don’t involve educating yourself by reading about the different approaches and who they are meant to be good for. It might be worth considering other factors like the type of person the therapist might be; for example, their age, gender or even what they look like.



If you’d like to explore working with me, you are welcome to send me an email. I’ll suggest we organise a time to speak over the phone or video for an informal 15min consultation. If you prefer, we can arrange a half price initial consultation session. You can reach me at: info@elsieowen.com


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Find a therapist: Counsellor or Psychotherapist?

First things first, the term ‘therapist’ can be confusing. It tends to be used as a blanket term for someone who offers some form of therapy - mental health or otherwise - and shouldn’t be confused wi