What is Private Therapy?
It may come as no surprise to you that private therapy is when you fund the cost of your treatment yourself. Many people do this for a variety of different reasons, depending on their individual needs, expectations, and circumstances. Let’s take a look at some of these below.
Why Pay For Your Own Therapy?
- There will likely be significantly reduced waiting times
- You can find a therapist that is trained in the type of psychological therapy that best suits your life experiences and emotional difficulties
- You have the choice in exactly what therapist you work with
- Sessions are not limited to a specific amount
- You have more choice in the frequency of your appointments
- Being able to return to the same therapist over and over, if and whenever you need to
- You can choose to have therapy even if you aren't clinically "depressed or anxious."
Reduced Waiting Times
Typically, if you go privately, one of the perks is being seen very quickly. Given that many people tend to seek help when they are in a bad place, being seen quicker is a huge advantage. Many NHS Trusts have long waiting lists, depending on where abouts you are based, and waiting for support when you really need it can take its toll.
The Ability to Choose Your Therapist Based on Their Areas of Expertise
Many people like to choose their therapists based on their specific experience. People with autism may prefer working with a therapists with expertise in this area. Those who have experienced childhood trauma may prefer to see someone with experience in childhood trauma. For me, people tend to come to me because I have lots of training and experience in supporting mothers with their mental health.
Being able to choose your therapist is such a great benefit, given all the research which suggests that the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist is hugely influential in the clinical recovery of the client. Let’s face it, if you don’t get on with your therapist, you are unlikely to benefit from the treatment they are providing, and this can also impact your view of therapy as a whole.
You Choose The Amount of Sessions You Want
In the NHS, we know that cuts in financial support are affecting the service provision, and typically, you will be allocated a specific number of appointments, depending on what area of the country you live in. This can mean that if you are offered treatment in the NHS, you may not be given enough appointments to fully address your emotional difficulties. Whereas privately, you have the choice of how many appointments you have, meaning that you are more in control of your treatment pathway.
Going Back to The Same Therapist If You Need To
Another advantage is that if you ever need emotional support again, you can go back to your private therapist who will remember you and your story and will be able to offer tailor-made support without having to go back through your life experiences and emotional history. Some like having the continuity of care, whereas others like to find another therapist with a different style and set of experiences. There is no right or wrong in this, it really depends on what you prefer.
Therapy Can Be Effective And Useful, Even If You Aren't Anxious or Depressed
Lastly, you don't need to be clinically depressed or anxious to have therapy privately. I think society has a view that you need to be unwell or struggling for therapy to work, but it can work for anyone who is interesting in understanding themselves better and making meaningful changes to reduce the likelihood of future emotional distress.
What Are The Disadvantages of Private Therapy?
The main, key disadvantage of funding your own treatment for your emotional wellbeing is the cost. Not everyone is able to pay privately for their treatment, and this can act as a barrier for accessing it. In my opinion, on both a personal and professional level, the cost of funding your own appointments are far outweighed by the advantages. I have, and continue to, pay privately for my own therapy. I have found a therapist who understands me and my journey, and who supports me in my struggles, and I prefer going back to her, knowing that she knows me, and my history. For me, this is one of the great benefits of paying out of my own pocket.
Another option is to check if you have private health cover with your employer. Some employers have a policy with providers such as AXA, whereas others have a budget of funding and will pay towards a course of therapy for you. It's worth speaking to your employer and finding out. I am a registered Psychotherapist with AXA, Bupa, Aviva, Cigna and Nuffield Health, so if you are covered by them, please get in touch and we can arrange some therapy for you.
How Do I Find a Suitable Therapist For Me?
If you are looking for a CBT Therapist, you can access the CBT Register to find someone in your area who can support you through whatever it is that you need support with (see useful links below). However, the beauty of online therapy is you can find a therapist outside of your area and still get the same high-quality therapy online as if you were in the same room.
You can access a website called Psychology Today where you can view the profiles of various different therapists to suit your needs.
What Should I Look Out For When Trying to Find a Therapist Privately?
When you are looking for a therapist to work with privately, please ensure they are accredited, This may be either by the BABCP (British Associations of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies) for a CBT Therapist, or the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) for counsellors.
If you are looking for an EMDR Therapist, ensure they are EMDR Europe Accredited. Doing so will ensure you are paying for someone who is highly trained and skilled in providing the therapy you need and have been accredited by the professional body associated with the therapy they offer. Given that the cost of therapy is in your hands, you want to ensure you are paying for someone who is both qualified and experienced in supporting you.
I am accredited by both the BABCP and EMDR Europe, and I am currently pursuing accredited by the ISST (International Society of Schema Therapy). I am trained in CBT, EMDR & Schema Therapy and use these modalities with my clients, depending on their needs and preferences.
If you have been thinking about paying for your own therapy but haven’t made a decision yet, I really hope this blog has helped you think a bit more about the pros and cons of it. If you are still unsure, you are so welcome to book in with me for a free consultation and we can discuss your situation further.
It will give you a chance to chat more about what your circumstances and expectations are, and whether you feel I am the right therapist to support you. You can check my availability and book in your free consultation by clicking the first link below.