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Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions? We have answers.

  • What is counselling/psychotherapy?
  • What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist and counsellor?
  • What are the different therapies used?
  • How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?
  • How can I be assured of a practitioners’ professionalism?
  • What is a professional body?
  • What is registration/accreditation with a professional body?
  • How long does each counselling session last?
  • How regularly will I see my counsellor or psychotherapist?
  • What are our opening hours?
  • How do I make an appointment?
  • How much do sessions cost?
  • How do I make payment?

What is counselling/psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a broad term used to describe talking therapies, including counselling. Both counsellors and psychotherapists provide a service for those looking for support and treatment for a wide range of mental health and emotional issues. The possibility that there is a difference between counselling and psychotherapy is a heavily debated question in the field of mental health treatment, and one that has yet to be answered. Some claim that counselling tends to tackle problems at the time of the crises, whereas psychotherapy focuses on longer-term psychological problems. However, this is not a universally agreed contention and you are advised to contact professionals personally to find out more about how they work.

Whether you choose a counsellor or psychotherapist, the most important thing is that you choose the right individual for you. How you connect with the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is likely to determine how successful the treatment is. It is also helpful to have a little knowledge on the different therapies on offer. There are many different therapies that can be used by counsellors and psychotherapists, some involve looking at past relationships and experiences to make sense of them, and others involve looking at the ‘here and now’.


What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist and counsellor?

As you may have already noticed, there are many different terms out there to describe professionals working in the mental health industry – each helping in different ways. Understanding the key differences between these professionals and how they can offer support should help you decide which one is right for you if/when you decide to seek help.

Take a look at the following brief descriptions:

Psychiatrist

Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders, covering diagnosis, management and prevention. A psychiatrist must undergo full medical training as a doctor before choosing to specialise in psychiatry. Once a psychiatrist has become fully trained, they can go on to specialise further in general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry, psychiatry of learning disabilities, psychotherapy or child and adolescent psychiatry.

Unlike many other mental health professionals, psychiatrists can assist in medical treatment and testing as they have the appropriate training.

Psychologist

Psychology is the study of the human mind and the way we think, act and behave. As well as looking at the way our minds work in day-to-day life, psychologists are also interested in mental health conditions. The title of psychologist can be given to someone who has completed a degree in psychology, however there are other titles in psychology that are protected by law (such as clinical psychologist).

Most psychologists fall into one of two camps – they are either research-oriented (meaning they spend time studying the way the mind works to better our understanding) or applied (meaning they apply their skills to patients).

Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy is a term used to describe a range of talking therapies and covering the approaches and methods used within each type. It is this broad usage which has led some professionals to use the titles psychotherapist and counsellor interchangeably. When we talk about a psychotherapist, we are talking about a professional who works with clients to help them overcome a range of emotional, social and mental health issues through talk therapies.

As it stands the title psychotherapist is not regulated by law. There are however, variations of the title which are regulated/protected by industry bodies (such as registered psychotherapist) and which generally indicate a high level of training. Find out more on our qualifications page.

Counsellor

A counsellor will use psychotherapy to help clients develop understanding and insight into their behaviours/feelings, with the aim of overcoming difficulties. In some cases the simple act of talking through difficulties with a counsellor can help the client, in other cases a more tailored therapy approach is required. This will depend on the nature of the concern and will be assessed by the counsellor. Similarly to psychotherapist, the term counsellor is not currently regulated by law – so you are advised to check a counsellor’s experience and training to ensure they are suitably qualified.


What are the different therapies used?

Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories. These are behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, and humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the ‘here and now’. This is a generalisation though and counselling and psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these techniques.


How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?

Only you can decide whether you wish to try counselling or psychotherapy. Just talking to us confidentially who is not a friend or family member can make all the difference. Counselling or psychotherapy provides a regular time for those in distress to explore their feelings and talk about their problems.  We can help you develop better ways of coping, allowing you to live the life you deserve.


How can I be assured of a practitioners’ professionalism?

By choosing us as therapist’s registered and accredited with a professional body you can be reassured, we have met the standards of training and experience required by that organisation.


What is a professional body?

There are various professional bodies (also known as member organisations) in existence that have taken on the role of self-regulation of counselling/psychotherapy. Whilst counsellors and psychotherapists are under no legal obligation to become a member of a professional body, membership will mean they have met certain requirements set by their professional body and must abide by a code of ethics and complaints procedure.


What is registration/accreditation with a professional body?

Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means, we have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by our member organisation.


How long does each counselling session last?

Each session will usually last 50 minutes, however we do allow an hour.  However this is often flexible and should be discussed with your therapist before attending the first session.


How regularly will I see my counsellor or psychotherapist?

We offer weekly sessions, however this can vary depending on the type of therapy and your personal requirements.


How do I make an appointment?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Call us: 0330 00 11 037

2. Email us: info@drdownes.com

3. Connect with us to arrange an initial consultation


What are our opening times? 

Monday – Friday 08:00am-20:00pm

Emergency weekend appointments are available by prior arrangement.


How much do sessions cost?

Session fees vary, depending upon location, service and duration:

Indivdual sessions: £65-£85

Couples sessions: £85


How do I make payment?

We accept cash, cheques, bank transfer and PayPal.


What’s Next?

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Pathways of referrals

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What we do

Therapy
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After being disappointed with a previous therapist, I was referred to Rebecca; I cannot praise her enough, her kindness, understanding and professionalism, as well as being extremely empathetic. She was able to get to the heart of my problem really quickly, made me realise what I needed to do to put myself in a better place. I am now much more secure and in a happy place. I would like to thank her for her help.

May 5, 2016