I find it strange that some people still seem to have a deep-rooted cynicism about therapy. You hurt your arm, you go and see a doctor. But you’re feeling completely miserable every single day but you don’t think you need to go and see a therapist to help you feel better? Eh? Makes no sense to me.
If you do have a chance to do therapy and you find a therapist who you connect with then it can be an incredibly powerful tool in terms of dealing with things that may have happened to you that could be contributing to your depression. Therapy helped me get a really useful perspective on myself, my behaviour and my relationships with others. It allowed me to work to change some patterns of behaviour which weren’t making me and others happy. Good therapy isn’t just about talking about your problems - it’s also about working towards solutions.
That said, I also know therapy is no silver bullet when you’re feeling depressed.
It’s not a quick fix.
I was in and out of therapy for about four years, including a ten week stint where I went to group therapy for up to six hours per day.
It can be hard to access.
The waiting list for talking therapy on the NHS can be long, plus most people are only offered a limited number of sessions . If you go private that can rapidly become an expensive proposition, plus even then finding a therapist who you really connect with can be a time consuming process. One of my main motivations for building this website was the realisation that therapy will be out of reach for many people, so there needs to be more information about self-care to help people cope with the often devastating symptoms of depression.
It can be hard to navigate the system.
But good news - there are lots of free therapeutic services out there (links below) even though it’s often hard to find out what’s available when, to whom and on what basis. And, some therapists do provide reduced rates for people on low incomes.
Talking therapies can help you to change your thinking patterns, improve your coping skills and help to change behaviours which contribute to your symptoms. This can make you better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and conflicts.
Types of therapy
There are LOTS of different types of talking therapies. Below I’ve listed links to explanations of some of the main ones but this isn’t exhaustive.
It can take time to find the right therapist and the right type of therapy for you. Be patient and keep trying until you find what works for you. I’ve had lots of therapy over the last few years and from my experience, good therapy can be transformational.
Before choosing a therapist you may want to check:
Their qualifications and whether they’re properly accredited
What kind of therapy they practice
How long the therapy will last and what it involves
What happens when you miss or cancel an appointment. Do they charge for missed appointments, and if so, how much notice do you need to give them to avoid being charged?
How much do they charge? Do they offer reduced rates for people on low incomes, students, people over 60 etc? Do you qualify?
Do they provide free initial consultations to help you work out whether this therapist is for you?
Things you can do today
1. Make an appointment to go and speak to your GP.
2. Refer yourself to an NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. This is an NHS programme offering talking therapies for conditions such as depression and anxiety which you can refer yourself to without going to a GP. There are currently no IAPT services in Wales.
3. Find free local services. Some charities also provide free talking therapy services. Mind is one of the largest mental health charities in the UK and they have services you can access across the country.
4. Find a private therapist near you - here are some key links:
The British Psychological Society (this isn’t very user friendly but it does list all registered/qualified psychologists)