Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. A counsellor is trained to listen with empathy and they can help you deal with any negative thoughts and feelings that you have. Sometimes, the term 'counselling' is used to refer to talking therapies in general, but counselling is also a specific type of therapy in its own right. Other therapies include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and relationship therapy (which could be between members of a family, a couple or work colleagues).

The purpose of talking treatments is not usually to give advice, but to help you understand your feelings and behaviour better and, if you want to, to change your behaviour or the way you think about things. You should expect your therapist to be respectful, and to provide an environment that is confidential and free from intrusion. Sessions usually take place once a week, and making this regular commitment gives you a better chance of finding out why you are having difficulties.

Talking treatments can help with difficult experiences or feelings you’ve been going through such as the breakdown of a relationship, a bereavement, low self-esteem, anger, fear, sadness or guilt. They can also help with common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Talking treatments can also help you cope or come to terms with the symptoms and mental distress of an ongoing physical problem, illness or disability.

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