We are now seeing face to face client again using masks and gloves to protect clients from Covid while visiting our clinics. We also offer video call sessions.
by Dr. Becky Spelman on 12/05/2019

What is a Counselling Psychologist?

Counselling psychologists work closely with clients presenting with a wide range of issues. They help them to identify their strengths and work through any problems they may have in a range of areas, including personal relationships, career development, addiction, stress, anxiety, and much more. They can work in private practice and also in a range of institutional settings. For example, universities, schools, and community centres often have counselling psychologists on their staff, as do general and psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab centres.Counselling psychologists often work in cooperation with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers, teachers, nurses, and doctors, to find the best treatment plan for their patients. This frequently involves integrating varied treatment modalities to provide an approach tailored specifically to the individual’s needs.

When a counselling psychologist works with a patient, their joint goal is to explore behaviours that the patient would like to change, or ways in which they would like their life to improve. Together, they examine how to approach the desired changes, the practical measures they can put in place to achieve them, and how they can determine and assess outcomes, with a view to reaching the stage whereby the patient no longer needs therapy but feels confident moving forward on their own.

How can they help?

Counselling psychologists can work with patients who have been diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses, including a range of emotional, social, and behavioural disorders, and also with patients who are not considered to have a mental illness, but who are interested in making positive change in their lives.For example, they can work with patients who are struggling in areas including their emotional, educational, and vocational selves. Counselling psychology helps people from both groups to achieve a better degree of control over their lives.

The successful outcome of treatment depends to a great extent on the development of a positive professional relationship between the therapist and the client, and on the understanding that the primary focus of the counselling is on the patient, their individual life experiences, their subjective views of their lives and goals, and their emotional and practical needs. When positive change happens, it is because the patient themselves has identified their needs and made the changes necessary to achieve them.

While clinical and counselling psychology have much in common, counselling psychologists tend to work more with patients whose symptoms are less severe and who are struggling to cope with everyday stress and anxiety rather than clinical psychologists who tend to work more with serious mental illness such as psychosis. They can work with both individual clients and with groups, organisations, and families; with people who suffer from a range of problems in their lives generally, and with people who are currently experiencing emotional difficulties because they are in a particularly stressful period, such as those who have recently suffered a bereavement or a major setback in their careers. Interventions, which often use cognitive behavioural techniques, are often goal-directed and predicated around a specific problem or set of problems, such as issues around self-esteem or loss, rather than more generic concerns. To this end, a counselling psychologist endeavours to create the sort of environment in which change can take place. Particularly in multi-cultural societies, an awareness of cultural difference and the ways in which culture can interact with stress and/or practical issues can be useful in this respect. A counselling psychologist endeavours to create a warm, non-judgemental, and welcoming environment in which their clients will feel safe and comfortable in openly expressing their feelings and exploring ways in which to address the issues that are troubling them.

How can I talk to a Counselling Psychologist in London?

If you would like to talk to someone about counselling psychology, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at:020 3887 1738 or by email at: info@privatetherapyclinic.com.


Gelso, C.J., Williams, E.N. &Fretz, B. (2014). Counseling Psychology (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Gelso, C.J. and Hayes, J.A. (1998). The Psychotherapy Relationship: Theory, Research and Practice (pp. 22–46). New York: Wiley.

Imel, Z.E. &Wampold, B.E. (2008). “The importance of treatment and the science of common factors in psychotherapy.” In: Brown, S.D. & Lent, R.W. Handbook of Counseling Psychology (4th ed). New York: Wiley.

Counselling Psychologist AT PRIVATE THERAPY CLINIC