What are these 'talking therapies'?
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) reviews the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of all treatments available in the NHS, and has issued guidance recommending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as the treatment of choice for anxiety and depression.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
CBT aims to help people change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour which are causing or maintaining current problems.
Changing how you think about things, can have a massive impact on how you feel and behave. CBT involves actively using processes and techniques to change thought processes as well as involving talking about your issues or problems.
Under the guidance of a therapist you will take part in practical exercises or agreed tasks to change thinking and behaviour, and carrying them out. It is a structured approach - you agree specific goals in overcoming your problems that you work towards step by step.
The aim is to help people improve their wellbeing through speaking to a counsellor. People are encouraged to talk about their situations and their feelings, and with the help of the counsellor come up with solutions to tackle them.
People use counselling for a variety of reasons including help for a specific problem like a bereavement or relationship break-up, or on a decision, a crisis, or a relationship where there is conflict.
Counsellors focus on patient choices in their life circumstances as a basis for their work. Counselling differs from CBT in that it focuses more on talking during sessions, and less on doing exercises or 'homework' between sessions.
The Department of Health (2001) suggest that individuals who are having difficulty adjusting to life events, illnesses, disabilities or losses may benefit from counselling.