The advice and support provided by BAPN is NOT the same as that which would be provided by a qualified Counsellor.  However, we are aware that in some circumstances, when members contact us, they'd benefit from the help of a professional Counselling Service  which is why we offer the following advice:


Counselling is a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues.

Sometimes the term "counselling" is used to refer to talking therapies in general, but counselling is also a type of therapy in its own right.

What can counselling help with?

Counselling can help you cope with: 

  • a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder

  • an upsetting physical health condition, such as infertility

  • a difficult life event, such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or work-related stress

  • difficult emotions – for example, low self-esteem or anger

  • other issues, such as sexual identity

  • some work related issues such as anxiety at work, dealing with bullying behaviour, work related stress.

What to expect from counselling

Counselling can take place:

  • face to face 

  • in a group 

  • over the phone 

  • by email 

  • online through live chat services 

You may be offered a single session of counselling, a short course of sessions over a few weeks or months, or a longer course that lasts for several months or years.

It can take a number of sessions before you start to see progress, but you should gradually start to feel better with the help and support of your therapist.

Can you get free counselling on the NHS?

  • You can get free psychological therapies, including counselling for depression, on the NHS.

  • You don't need a referral from your GP.

  • You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service.

  • Or you can get a referral from your GP if you prefer.

  • Private counselling

  • If you decide to pay to see a private therapist, make sure they're qualified and you feel comfortable with them. 

  • The cost of private counselling can vary depending on where you live, with a session costing anywhere between £10 and £70. 

  • Many private therapists offer an initial free session and lower rates for students, job seekers and those on low incomes. 

  • You should ask about charges and agree a price before starting a course of counselling.

Charities and voluntary organisations

Some charities and voluntary organisations also offer counselling. These organisations usually specialise in a particular area, such as couples counselling, bereavement or family guidance.

You don't need a referral from your GP for an appointment for these services, but you may have to pay a fee to cover the cost of your sessions.

Charities that may offer counselling include:

You may also be able to access support groups through your local community, church or social services.

Finding a qualified therapist

As counselling involves talking about sensitive issues and revealing personal thoughts and feelings, your counsellor should be experienced and professionally qualified.

Reputable therapists will be registered with a professional organisation that's been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). This means they have met the PSA's required professional standards to practise. 

You can find a qualified therapist through the PSA check a practitioner page.