“Talking can lighten your load”

If you have difficulties for a long time and they haven’t got better, or are getting worse, you might think about getting professional help. There are a huge range of different types of counselling and psychotherapy but the bottom-line is that most work for most people.

What you can get will depend on where you are and what’s available locally. On the NHS, in the UK, counselling or brief psychotherapy typically lasts for 6-8 sessions, every week or fortnight. If you get referred to a psychologist or a psychiatrist because you have a more severe mental health problems you are more likely to get 12-18 sessions.

Cognitive Behaviour Treatment (CBT), developed by an American psychiatrist called Aaron Beck, is the most ‘evidence-based’ psychotherapy because it has been shown to work for most problems in clinical trials. Waiting lists can be long but you might be able to get it over the internet and get some help with in (so-called ‘internet guided CBT’).

Resources Find IAPT near you, search www.nhs.uk Get i-CBT on your phone or iPad: www.bonfireda.com/iCBT.html

Sanity check: Psychotherapy is not a cure all. It can make things worse as well as better. About 5% of people getting IAPT treatment in England & Wales report ‘lasting bad effects’, especially if they didn’t know what sort of treatment they were getting.

So, check you get on with your counsellor or psychotherapist – that you can talk to them – and check that they are trained to give you the treatment they say they are: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/208/3/260