5 Facts About Therapy

5 Facts About Therapy

by Dr Emma Gray - 17th September, 2014

5 Therapy Facts

1. It is estimated that currently there are over 500 different types of therapies for mental health problems. These generally fall under the umbrella of what are referred to as ‘talking therapies’ and include the more well known and proven therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Schema Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and the less well known therapies that currently lack any evidence base, for example Gestalt therapy, Existential Therapy, Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Humanistic Therapy.

2. The effectiveness of most talking therapy designed for mental health problems like anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders (inc anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified {EDNOS}) has yet to be proven. Therefore when choosing a particular therapist it is important to determine which method or therapeutic approach they use. Currently the talking therapy with the most robust evidence base across a range of mental health problems is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and although it does not have a 100% effectiveness rate it’s proven track record makes it the most obvious and sensible choice in the first instance.

3. A good therapy should aim to work at two levels. The first of these is the symptoms level in order to provide the sufferer with some immediate relief on a day to day basis. However for long lasting results a good therapy should also identify and resolve what underlies the presenting symptoms (e.g. depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder {OCD}), sleep problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, eating disorders { inc. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified {EDNOS}). Usually this is a core self belief about defectiveness or inadequacy or fear of rejection and abandonment originating in early experiences.

4. A talking therapy is not just about talking, although this is important in order for the patient to identify and clarify their problems and thought and feelings about it. A good talking therapy should also teach the patient a set of skills to manage both the practical and psychological challenges that they face so that once therapy is complete they are able to manage independently. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is well known for promoting the teaching of skills in therapy, with a core therapeutic aim being to enable the patient to become their own therapist. As a result Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has a very low rate.

5. Good therapists need extensive training. Currently the private sector is mostly unregulated with anyone being able to use the title ‘therapist’ and ‘counsellor’. This can make choosing a therapist difficult. Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologist train for between 7 and 10 years to achieve a Doctorate in Psychology ensuring that they are the most highly trained professionals in the field of mental health and its treatment. The team at The British CBT & Counselling Service consists only of Doctors of Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology ensuring that only the best therapy is provided to patients.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


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