Paying for psychotherapy from a private practitioner can feel very odd, to both the patient and the therapist, to begin with anyway, for those brought up under the umbrella of the British NHS.

Isn't it healthcare, and shouldn't it be free therefore? Well, yes, in an ideal world.  Most therapists are idealists, I suspect, and certainly all of those I know think that therapy should be just as readily available on the NHS as any other kind of treatment for illness.  Most would prefer to work in the NHS, both personally and philosophically.  My own view is that mental and emotional distress is as deserving of NHS treatment as physical pain is, and often needed most by those least able to pay for it.

So is there a place for private therapy at all, and if so, under what circumstances?  The clearest case is for people seeking psychotherapy for reasons of personal development or interest, in other words those people who do not feel or present as ill in any way.   These are rare however.  Some people seek private therapy because the waiting time for therapy on the NHS is too long for them to accept.  Sometimes this is an accurate assessment of the facts, but occasionally it is a perception that is false - either out of date information or based on a rumour rather than fact.  So it's always sensible checking out the facts as best you can first (try asking your GP then phoning the service itself to get two opinions).  Other reasons for seeking private therapy include to have more control and choice over what type of therapy you want, and the therapist you want.  These are both powerful, and very good reasons, for choosing a private route.

Good information then becomes the key to finding good therapy, and this is one reason why we try to provide clear, concise information on our website, for example on our 'types of therapy' page.