Counselling in London
Harley Therapy™ is a leading group of hand-selected, accredited, and highly experienced counsellors in London who work from Harley Street, Canary Wharf, and the City. Our therapists work with you expertly and confidentially on any issue you might be struggling with. Learn more about the level of care we offer from our client testimonials.
What is counselling?
Counselling is an umbrella term for talking therapies, where you are provided with a safe and supportive environment to share what is troubling you and are listened to in a way that helps you understand yourself better. The aim of counselling is to help you find more effective and satisfying ways of living your life.
Counselling is not like talking to a friend. It is far more effective, not usually offering advice but instead giving you a fresh perspective, helping you find your own understanding of what you are dealing with, and teaching you coping strategies. And it's often easier to talk to a professional than a friend or family member as your counsellor is not personally involved in your situation, can offer impartial empathy and compassion, and will not take what you say personally.
The main forms of counselling include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Humanistic / Person-centred therapy
- Integrative counselling (a blend of approaches)
Who can benefit from counselling?
Anyone who is willing to accept help to look at themselves and their issues honestly and attentively can benefit from counselling.
You may go to counselling because you are distressed and seeking help with a specific problem. But you do not have to be in crisis to attend counselling sessions. Counselling is also very useful to simply gain greater confidence and move forward with your life more effectively.
Of course you must be willing to put in time and commitment when you attend counselling sessions, and understand that although it can be very rewarding, change is not always easy.
What issues are suited to counselling?
Counselling can help you deal with any of a wide spectrum of issues, from day-to-day worries and stresses, to distressing and traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one or a relationship breakdown, to long term psychological challenges like depression and anxiety or past trauma.
And counselling isn't just for your private life but can also help you with your career, including dealing with workplace stress, being more confident, finding better work-life balance, and making better decisions.
The relationship between you and your counsellor is one of the most important factors in the effectiveness of your counselling sessions. The aim is to build a relationship based on trust with your counsellor, and feel able to confide in them your feelings and emotions.
A qualified counsellor is trained to listen with empathy and openness to all you have to share, and all of the counsellors at Harley Therapy™ have a minimum of five years professional experience supporting clients with the problems they are facing. They are not there to in any way judge you or force you to take a particular course of action. Instead, they help you develop a better understanding of yourself and others so that you can make positive choices for yourself.
In the UK, there are two types of therapists who can offer counselling services:
Counsellor: A counsellor has specific training in counselling theory and skills (a three or four-year program in the UK) as well as clinical experience of face-to-face counselling. Counsellors typically conduct short and medium-term work with clients.
Counselling Psychologist: A counselling psychologist has similar training to a counsellor or psychotherapist, but additionally will hold a degree in psychology, giving them scientific knowledge of the human mind and behaviour. The term 'counselling psychologist' is a legally-protected term in the UK, and in order to practice as such the therapist needs to be registered with Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
What does counselling look like in practice?
At the first meeting your counsellor may explain factors like the length of the session (50 minutes), the reasons for the need to commit to weekly sessions (it provides you and the therapist with a contained space in which to work consistently) and the cancellation policy. It's important to be on time for your counselling sessions, because they will still end at the agreed on time even if you are late.
During a session you are likely to be encouraged to explore the problems you are facing and express your resulting emotions and thoughts. It is not like idle small talk, nor is it like being interviewed with questions. Your counsellor places his or her full attention on you, asks relevant things about what you share, makes sure that they have understood what you said, and allows silences for you to reflect.
There is no 'typical' therapy session, or standard way of working. Some therapists (particularly CBT counsellors) set an agenda for each session and will review progress with you at regular intervals, so that you can identify and acknowledge your progress. They may also give you homework to do or things to think about outside of therapy, so that your progress continues between sessions.
Counselling is a very personal process and it is important to acknowledge that there will be times during your therapy where it is necessary to talk about uncomfortable and painful things. Whatever you say in the counselling session is, however, confidential (subject to legal and ethical exceptions, and the fact that a therapist will have a supervisor monitoring them) and counsellors will offer guidance and support to help you through this process.
You may be offered counselling as a single session or as a short-term course of sessions over a period of weeks or months.
As for where and how the session is carried out, counselling can come in different formats, including:
- Individual counselling (face-to-face)
- Couples counselling
- Telephone counselling
- Email / internet / online counselling
- Group counselling
What results can you expect from counselling sessions?
Each person has their own unique experience of counselling, and your results will to an extent depend on you – what you want to achieve from the experience, and the commitment you make to the counselling process.
In general, results include, but are not limited to, a greater understanding of self and others, a clearer perspective on your life, clarity on what you would like your future to look like and how to move towards this, an understanding of what makes you happy and how to make positive choices, and a better ability to handle stress and anxiety.
Counselling at Harley Therapy™, London
We pride ourselves on helping all our clients move towards emotional wellbeing. Call us now to see how we can help, or register your interest via our online booking form. We look forward to working with you.
Further reading on counselling
- Do you need a friend or a counsellor?
- Top ten myths about counselling and psychotherapy
- Counselling sessions - what can you really expect?