Counselling is a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues.

Sometimes the term "counselling" is used to refer to talking therapies in general, but counselling is also a type of therapy in its own right.

What can counselling help with?

Counselling can help you cope with:

  • a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder
  • an upsetting physical health condition, such as infertility
  • a difficult life event, such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or work-related stress
  • difficult emotions - for example, low self-esteem or anger
  • other issues, such as sexual identity

View the counselling directory of local services and organisations

What to expect from counselling

At your appointment, you'll be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions with a trained therapist, who'll listen and support you without judging or criticising.

The therapist can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, and find your own solutions to problems. But they won't usually give advice or tell you what to do.

Counselling can take place:

You may be offered a single session of counselling, a short course of sessions over a few weeks or months, or a longer course that lasts for several months or years.

It can take a number of sessions before you start to see progress, but you should gradually start to feel better with the help and support of your therapist.

View the counselling directory of local services and organisations

This page is based on content that originated from the NHS (adapted).