Looking for Counselling & Therapy Services?

The information below should provide what you need to know about the available services for you regarding accessing counselling & therapy.
Browse Our List of Mental Health Organisations Offering Counselling

Accessing Counselling & Psychotherapy Services in the UK

What is Counselling & Therapy?

Please read our article where we discuss this topic.

Who is Counselling & Therapy For?

Counselling & therapy can help you with any of the following:

They can also help with issues such as low self-esteem, low confidence, anger, relationship issues (family, romantic) and more.

Types of Therapy

Please read this article on the various types of therapy. This article doesn’t list them all as there are dozens, but it lists quite a few.

A Guide to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Access to Counselling & Therapy

There are a few ways you can get access to counselling & therapy:

  • Free (NHS & some charities & organisations)
  • Low Cost
  • Private (Ranging from £30-150/hr, can be more or less)

Free Counselling Through the NHS

You can access free therapy through the NHS. The National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence (NICE) advises the NHS on which therapies are most suitable for your mental health issues so which therapy you are referred for depends on what emotional or mental health problem you have and how severe it is.

You can get therapy on the NHS through:

  • Your GP – many GP surgeries provide counselling or therapy services on the NHS within their surgery. If it is not available your GP may refer you to a local psychological therapies service.
  • Self-Referral Counselling NHS – some services allow you to contact the service directly. This is more common for IAPT services. See the NHS service finder page to search for services near you and find out if you can self-refer.

What is IAPT?

IAPT is an acronym for ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’. This programme offers therapy for common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. This programme is also called 'psychological services (IAPT)' in some places, as the government is in the process of changing its name. Most areas have an IAPT service, however, some therapies are not available in all areas and the waiting times can be long. See the NHS Choices website to find your local IAPT service. Also, you browse our pages on mental health services where you can select your region and find services in your region, borough or area.

Counselling & Therapy through a Charity or Organisation

Some voluntary, community and charity sector organisations can offer you free or affordable access to therapy, for example:


  • Your Local Mind – Mental Health Issues.
  • Mental Health Matters (MHM) - offers a telephone counselling service and therapies in some areas.
  • Relate for relationship counselling


  • Cruse Bereavement Care - free counselling services if you have experienced a bereavement
  • If you are a student, your university or educational institution may have counselling services they can offer you.
  • Your workplace might offer an Employee Assistance Programme that could help you access a limited number of free therapy sessions.

Private Counselling & Therapy

You may find it very tough to access the service you want on the NHS. In such a case, if you are able, you may have to consider the private sector. Mind is actively campaigning to make sure that everyone has access to talking treatments when they need them. You can find out more about what they’re doing in their campaign pages and see how you can get involved.

Paying for Private Therapy

As mentioned above, the cost of private therapy varies and a one-hour session may cost between £50 and £150. Your GP may be able to suggest a local private therapist or you can find a therapist online. The following organisations have approved therapists. Make sure you check that the therapist is listed in one of the registers of approved practitioners below:

British Psychological Society: Psychologists

  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP): Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
  • Association for Family Therapy (AFT): Family Therapists
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP): Counsellors and Therapists
  • British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC): Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP): Psychotherapists
  • The Health and Care Professions Council: Practitioner Psychologists and Art Therapists
  • Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy: Cognitive Analytic Practitioners and Psychotherapists

It’s also a good idea to talk to several therapists before you decide which one is right for you as you will be spending a lot of money, £50-150/hr is just one-session.