Scared of Counselling and Psychotherapy?

woman covering her face lying on green grass

Understandably, many struggle initially with the idea of going for psychotherapy and counselling. I did it myself.

On one hand, there is the possibility of immense life changing benefits. On the other there is:

Certainly there’s no shortage of research demonstrating the health benefits of psychotherapy, but this evidence is not personal to you and we are all very different.

In fact one of the great joys of the profession is you are never entirely sure what will be achieved through counselling.

Going for therapy is a sign of strength and courage

You may well consider you have problems. Perhaps serious mental health issues. After all, according to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, and of those, only 30% will access some form of therapy or counselling support.

You may feel you have lost your “mojo” or need to talk to someone who is not personally connected to you.

Whatever the motivation, going for counselling is an act of bravery and maturity. Although it is increasingly popular and considered essential by many, few “seize the day” and take positive action.


two women taking to each other.


Why counselling is safe and non judgmental

Opening up to a stranger hardly seems like the easiest thing to do, but you do this at your own pace.

The job of a psychotherapist is to create an environment of trust. Removing taboos and normalising feelings are all part of the process.

There is not much that can shock an experienced psychotherapist about the human condition and we seek to communicate empathy and validate feelings.

Mostly we are making use of our client’s positive qualities, strengths, and resilience, rather than their weaknesses. There are always plenty, however low the client is presently feeling.

Privacy and confidentiality are the foundations of counselling

We simply have to adhere to strict ethical and legal guidelines to protect our clients’ privacy. No qualified psychotherapist takes this lightly. There are a few exceptions:

  1. Legal requirements: Therapists are required to report any instances of child abuse, elder abuse, or if the client presents a danger to themselves or others. In such cases, the therapist may be required by law to break confidentiality and report the information to the appropriate authorities.
  2. Court orders: In some circumstances, a court may order a therapist to release confidential information, such as in legal proceedings or a criminal trial.
  3. Group therapy: In group therapy, confidentiality may be more challenging to maintain as several people are involved in the therapy session. Therapists should clearly explain the limits of confidentiality in group therapy and emphasise the importance of respecting each other’s privacy.
  4. Electronic communications: Electronic communications, such as email or text messaging, may not be as secure as in-person therapy sessions, and the therapist should advise clients of the risks and limitations of these methods of communication.

Value for Money?

This is perhaps the most difficult to answer. With clear problems it it better and often cheaper to act sooner, but how do you put a price on things like:

Even though psychotherapy and counselling is often used interchangeably there can be a difference in cost and quality.

Psychotherapy typically takes a more in-depth and long-term approach to treatment, focusing on the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may be causing the problem.

Counselling, on the other hand, is typically more focused on addressing specific, immediate concerns and providing practical solutions. The psychotherapy route may take longer and require someone with higher levels of qualification. This makes it hard to judge the costs.


Certainly the act of seeking psychotherapy and counselling can be a daunting experience, but it can also be a life-changing journey.

By understanding the benefits, finding the right therapist, recognising the courage it takes to seek help, and seeking support, individuals can take the first step towards a happier and healthier life. If you are experiencing fear or hesitation in seeking therapy, remember that you are not alone and that help is available.