Benefits of Counselling & Talking Therapies

Anxiety and Depression.There are several types of talking therapies or psychological therapies which can help aid Anxiety and Depression. Each type aims to help people deal with negative thoughts and feelings and enables them to make positive changes.
Talking therapies include:
  • counselling
  • psychotherapy
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • other types of therapies, such as group therapy and relationship therapy.
These are discussed in more detail below.


The term counselling is sometimes used to refer to all types of talking therapy, but it is also a type of therapy itself.
Counselling involves talking to a trained counsellor in confidence about how you feel about yourself and your situation. The counsellor will listen and help you understand your problem. They will also work with you to find ways to deal with the problem better. Counselling is usually a form of short-term therapy.
Like counselling, psychotherapy is also sometimes used as a general term for psychological therapies. There is no clear definition of the difference between psychotherapy and counselling. However, the UK Council for Psychotherapy considers psychotherapy to be more in-depth than counselling and able to address a wider range of issues.
During psychotherapy, a therapist will help you consider how your personality and life experiences influence your current thoughts, feelings, relationships and behaviour. This understanding will enable you to deal with difficult situations more successfully.
Several types of psychotherapy may be used to treat conditions such as:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • eating disorders
  • self-harm
  • addictions

Psychodynamic psychotherapy
Psychodynamic psychotherapy involves an in-depth analysis of how your unconscious thoughts and past experiences shape your current behaviour. For example, it may involve talking about the relationship you had with your parents when you were a child.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends psychodynamic psychotherapy for some people with depression. It is available privately and on the NHS in some areas. A course can last several months or years, although shorter courses are also available.
 Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to retrain the way you think to help you deal with stressful situations.
CBT is used to treat conditions such as:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic disorder
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • long-term illnesses
  • eating disorders
  • schizophrenia
NICE recommends the use of CBT for all these conditions.
CBT is based on the idea that the way you think about a situation affects how you act. In turn, your actions influence the way you think and feel. Therefore, it is necessary to change both thinking (cognition) and behaviour at the same time.
The NHS is using CBT more frequently, particularly for treating common conditions, such as depression and anxiety. CBT courses are usually a short-term treatment. For example, a CBT course may be 6 to 24 one-hour sessions.

Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CCBT)
Computerised CBT is a type of CBT that uses a computer instead of a therapist. It is delivered in a series of weekly sessions and should be supported by a healthcare professional. NICE recommends CCBT for some people with depression.
Humanistic therapy
Humanistic therapies incorporate the body, mind, emotions, behaviour and spirituality to help you develop to your full potential and live life to the full.
In addressing a problem, these therapies also involve looking at other people, including family, friends, society and culture.
 Group therapy
Group therapy aims to help you find solutions to your problems by discussing them in a group setting. Sessions are led by a facilitator, who directs the flow of conversation.
NICE recommends group therapy for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and for children and young people with mild depression. A CBRT Relaxation Support Session is a form of Group Therapy.

Relationship, family and Interpersonal therapy
Relationship therapy is where couples who have difficulties with their relationship work with a therapist to resolve their problems. Family therapy is similar, but involves a therapist working with a family that is having problems.
NICE recommends relationship therapy for people who have tried individual therapy without success. Family therapy is recommended for children with depression or where a family member has a condition such as anorexia nervosa or schizophrenia.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) focuses on your relationships with others and on problems, such as communication difficulties. IPT is concerned with how your mood can influence how you relate to people who are close to you. NICE recommends this type of counselling for people with eating disorders and depression.
Mindfulness-based therapies
Mindfulness-based therapies combine other talking therapies with a particular focus on the way you think. CBRT is a Mindfulness based technique.
By noticing how one negative thought can lead to another, you can learn to recognise the first negative thought and prevent a chain of negative thoughts occurring. This can help you reduce stress and cope with problematic thoughts and feelings. NICE recommends mindfulness-based therapies to help people avoid repeated bouts of depression.
Eye movement dsensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment that uses eye movements to stimulate the brain. EMDR has been shown to make distressing memories feel less intense. EMDR can be used to help you deal with traumatic memories, such as those that come from accidents and injuries or sexual, physical or emotional abuse. NICE recommends EMDR for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Motivational counselling

Motivational counselling involves talking about issues and problems that could stop you achieving your goals and ambitions. NICE recommends this type of counselling for people who have a problem with alcohol misuse or substance misuse, such as drug misuse.

Telephone counselling

Telephone counselling, such as the service provided by the Samaritans, allows you to talk to a therapist without having to meet them. Telephone counselling may be available through charities or through your employer. Alternatively, you may be able to receive counselling by email or through the internet.