We are now seeing face to face client again using masks and hand sanitiser to protect clients from Covid while visiting our clinics. We also offer video call sessions.
by Dr. Becky Spelman on 20/08/2020

WHAT CAN A PSYCHOLOGIST DO FOR ME?

Whether you’re struggling with emotional and/or behavioural issues, or have found yourself experiencing a sudden life transition you’re having difficulty adjusting to, our team of Psychologists are fully equipped to help you find your way back optimum mental health. Many of our practitioners are trained in multiple therapeutic models, so are able to tailor an approach that is best suited to your circumstances.

The mission statement that all of our Psychologists at Private Therapy Clinic have is ‘positive change.’ Our aim is for you to leave every session feeling that little bit more empowered until you reach a point when you’re ready to stand on your own two feet, again. Our intention isn’t to create co-dependent relationships. We work with you to build the life skills so that no challenge whether big or small can knock you off your stride in future.

WHAT ISSUES CAN A PSYCHOLOGIST DEAL WITH?

Our Clinical and Counselling Psychologists in London are able to assist you with a wide range of mental health problems. We’ve had great success helping people overcome: the loss of loved ones (bereavement), break-ups, relationship issues, sleep disorders (insomnia), stress depression, social anxiety, past trauma, phobias, addictions, eating disorders, sexual issues and even aiding people on their personal development journey.

To see a full list of the therapies we offer, please visit our all services page.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND A COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST?

Both Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists are accredited by the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC), and as long as they work as Therapists rather than in areas such as research, they tend to do the same job. The only difference you’ll find is that in the UK, a Clinical Psychologist will have entered a government-funded training program, whereas a Counseling Psychologist will have funded their own training. The accreditation awarded at the end of both these Doctorate training programs is identical with both Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists being able to apply for the same positions. This is very much the case here at Private Therapy Clinic as all of all Psychologists see the same range of clients. Individual Psychologists may also choose to specialise in their own particular area interest and quite often are able to offer several therapeutic interventions.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I NEED TO SEE A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST OR COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST?

Since both Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists are both trained to the same level in the UK as long as they are in possession of a HCPC accreditation. The best way to know if the psychologist you’re thinking of seeing matches your needs is by finding out what their specific areas of specialty are. At Private Therapy Clinic, we make this easy for you by listing all of this information on our Therapist’s profile page.

However, if you’re still uncertain, and would like some guidance choosing the right Psychologist, we offer a free 15-minutes consultation to help you understand your issue what type of assistance you require. After speaking with us, we’ll then be able to match you with the right Therapist whose skillset best matches the specific issues you’re facing and who’ll be able to provide the best possible outcome.

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

A clinical psychologist works with people suffering from psychological distress or dysfunction to help them find a way to feel happier and more fulfilled in their lives, as assessed by themselves. Clinical psychologists work directly with patients, and they can also be involved in research. They typically provide psychotherapy, and can use a range of therapeutic modalities, depending on the needs of the client in question and the options available to them.

WHAT IS A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST?

Clinical psychologists often work with clients who are suffering from one or more mental illnesses, including clients who may also be taking pharmaceutical medication to help them with their symptoms. They also work with clients with a range of other issues, including learning disabilities and more generalised problems such as anxiety, or problems associated with particular events in the past, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome. A clinical psychologist can also work in specialised fields, such as health psychology or occupational therapy, or with the elderly or other demographics with specific needs. They may work in private practice, in an academic setting (especially if their primary interests are research-focused) or in an institution or national health service. Clinical psychologists can also work with individuals, as well as providing couples therapy, family therapy, or group therapy.

There is a certain amount of overlap between clinical psychology and psychiatry. Both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists often work with people who have been diagnosed as having a mental disorder and aim to improve their symptoms and quality of life. However, psychiatrists more typically take a pharmaceutical approach to mental illness and often prescribe medication, such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, to relieve symptoms, whereas clinical psychologists work with clients to address their issues using the clients’ own resources. This does not negate the fact that there are certainly times when people with mental illness require medication. However, clinical psychologists work on the assumption that positive change can be made without depending on pharmaceutics. In an institutional or clinic setting, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists can work together to find the best short- and long-term approaches for patients, depending on their individual needs.

HOW CAN A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST HELP?

Clinical psychologists typically start working with a client by carrying out a detailed assessment with them to determine exactly what their needs are. The assessment can include an interview, formal testing, and clinical observation, and is a crucial element of treatment, which cannot take place without it. Many different assessment tests are available to explore different types of need, and they should be used only in conjunction with other forms of exploration. After assessment, clinical psychologists generally suggest a diagnosis tailored to the client’s unique circumstances, encompassing a general impression of their personal situation in the context of the various difficulties that they face.

Once the therapist has a clear idea of the patient’s needs, they work with them to establish a psychotherapeutic relationship in which they can cooperate to examine the patient’s problems and to establish modes of change. Depending on the therapist, the client, and the situation, they might use one or more of a number of intervention types, such as free association or cognitive behavioural therapy, with a focus on understanding the patient’s problems better and formulating positive approaches that the patient can take to bring about change in their lives.

While some clinical psychologists focus on approaches that prioritise insight into how the problem arose, and others focus on developing practical methods to facilitate change, many use an integrative approach that incorporates aspects of each, while also being mindful of patients’ cultural background and unique life experiences.

COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST

Counselling psychology has roots in professional work dating to as long ago as the late nineteenth century, and it has continued to develop as a discipline, and to contribute to the effective treatment of emotional and mental health issues, to the present day.

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 A COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST 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.

HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST

Health psychologists study how behaviour, psychological issues, and cultural factors can all impact on illness. They work in both the private and the public sector, and across a range of specialties. Many of them work in clinical settings, while others focus primarily on research.

WHAT DOES A HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST DO?

In the past, mental and physical health were often treated as though they were completely separate, but in more recent years, we have become increasingly aware of how psychological factors can impact on our health. While disease can be caused by external factors, such as a virus, an accident, exposure to toxins, and so forth, we are more knowledgeable about the contribution made by intrinsic factors, such as lifestyle, emotional wellness, and so on.

For example, when people suffer from chronic stress, this can feed into physical ill-health in a wide range of ways, contributing to diseases including various inflammatory conditions, heart disease, and more. Similarly, people who live with problems such as chronic pain generally find that their condition is easier to control or manage if they live in a way that keeps stress and anxiety to a minimum. A health psychologist can help them to achieve this.

A variety of behaviours can also have a major impact on our physical health, such as the negative impact of smoking, substance abuse, or overeating, or the positive impact of exercising, eating healthily, and maintaining friendships. Health psychologists explore how all of these factors work together, in our socio-cultural context, to contribute to the overall picture of our health status. They can also administer tests, such as personality tests, and work with patients in a clinical setting to figure out the best way for them to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

HOW CAN A HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST HELP?

Now that we know how much our psychology and behaviour impact on our physical health, health psychologists can work with individuals, and with policy-makers and other healthcare professionals such as doctors, practice nurses, social workers, and so forth, to create and sustain environments that support good physical and mental health.This can mean working with an individual person to help them to engage with health-promoting behaviours, and to deal with a personal challenge such as alcoholism or substance abuse, or working with institutions or groups to foster an environment in which it is easier for everyone to make healthier choices and to engage in positive change.

Health psychology also involves helping health-care professionals to engage with their patients in a way that prioritises communication and patient empowerment. Research shows that patients who feel listened to and respected are more likely to adhere to medical advice and instruction from their doctors.

Often, health psychologists work with individuals or demographics that are considered to be particularly in need of support. For example, very young single mothers often live on low incomes and can need help in sustaining a lifestyle that maximises the health and well-being of themselves and their children.

In terms of helping to form policy, health psychologists can advise government bodies and civil servants on policies that foster good health. For example, research shows that access to green spaces and outdoors areas to play fosters not just good physical health in children, but also good mental health, and even a better academic outcome at school. This informs government policy in terms of including green spaces in any new builds.

One of the most important roles of health psychology is in the area of prevention and designing ways in which to encourage people to have healthier lifestyles and to positively reinforce the good things that they are already doing. Communication is key to the work of health psychologists, who can provide clients and healthcare professionals alike with the vocabulary and understanding they need to discuss lifestyle issues in the context of healthcare.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY

Forensic Psychology is a branch of Psychology with a specific focus on the legal system. Forensic Psychologists can provide expert testimony, and support both defendants in legal cases and the victims of crime. This challenging area helps to ensure that justice is served for everyone involved in the legal process.

WHAT IS FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY?

Forensic Psychologists typically work with and in the legal system. As well as having a suitable qualification in Psychology—typically at postgraduate level—they also have a good understanding of the legal system of the country in which they reside, especially with respect to expert witness testimony and a range of areas of expertise (which can include areas such as child custody, and whether or not someone is competent to stand trial).To practise as a Forensic Psychologist in the UK, Psychologists must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold at least a recognised master’s qualification as well as a recognised bachelor’s qualification.

HOW DO FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGISTS HELP PEOPLE AND SOCIETY?

Forensic Psychologists are able to explain often very complex psychological concepts in language that judges, juries, and legal professionals can understand, and they work with a highly specific patient demographic, composed largely of people who have been accused of a crime. They may be appointed to work with defendants to determine their state of mind—both in terms of assessing whether they are able to stand trial as a competent adult or if they should be considered insane, which will have a great bearing on how the case against them is pursued, and the sort of sentence they receive. For example, if they are considered incompetent to stand trial because of an underlying mental illness that is so severe that they are thought not to understand the implications of what they have done, the court may have the right to detain them indefinitely in a psychiatric institution, until they are considered sufficiently well (and low risk) to stand trial or to be released.

Forensic Psychologists may also explore issues of risk and whether or not an individual found guilty is likely to reoffend. This is likely to have an impact on the sentencing decision made by the judge. For example, in the case of someone convicted of a serious crime such as sexual assault or assault and battery, the Psychologist’s considered opinion as to their likelihood of reoffending is likely to influence how long they are sentenced for, and if or when they can apply for bail.

Forensic Psychologists can also work with law enforcement; for example, by providing the police with criminal profiles, by helping the authorities to deal with the traumatic aftermath of crime, and in training police officers.

Other Forensic Psychologists are involved in academic research and explore issues such as why particular types of people tend to be associated with particular sorts of crime. Because of the nature of their work, their research is often carried out with prison populations.

HOW IS FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY USED AS A TREATMENT?

Forensic Psychologists also provide treatment to individuals who are seen to need their services when they are undergoing the legal process. This might include interventions for people who need to undergo treatment in order to be considered legally competent, for individuals who have been diagnosed as being insane in the course of a lawsuit against them, or to reduce the risk of recidivism in the future.

While Forensic Psychologists have much in common with psychologists dealing with any client or patient, there are also some important differences and challenges. For example, their time together with their client is likely to be short-lived and to focus on certain specific issues rather than on more general issues of mental wellness. Their client may not be attending sessions voluntarily but in response to a court order, which can be a substantial challenge, particularly in terms of establishing trust. It can also be challenging to balance one’s ethical responsibilities towards one’s client with those to the legal process. Competencies and experience in this area are crucial for anyone hoping to work in this field.

WHO CAN I SPEAK TO ABOUT GETTING HELP FROM A PSYCHOLOGIST IN LONDON OR THE UK?

If you’re like to get in touch with us and schedule your free consultation, you can get in touch by calling us on: 020 3887 1738 or alternatively, you can book online by clicking here.

*** All of our Psychologists are registered with The Health and Professionals Council (HCPC)

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