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Find a Therapist
If you have sexual or relationship difficulties and think that it might be useful to see a therapist then there are a couple of ways to go about it:
- You can visit your GP (General Practitioner, or doctor) and ask them to refer you to a Sexual and Relationship Therapy clinic in your area. You need to tell them a little bit about the problem in order to do this, but not all the details if you are not comfortable doing so.
- You can find a private Sexual and Relationship therapist yourself. In order to do this you could look them up in a phone directory or online, but we would suggest that you use our list of therapists. From this list you can find a therapist in your area.
Whichever route you take you should always check out the therapist's qualifications. Our accredited members have all completed a COSRT approved course or an equivalent course, and they must continue to meet our criteria for accreditation on an annual basis.
General Membership is a broad level of membership that includes therapists who may practice sexual, couple or relationship therapy. Those who are in training are included in this category, and this will be clearly shown in their individual listing.
- UKCP Psychotherapist
- Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
Other organizations that accredit therapists include BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), and BPS (British Psychological Society).
Shopping Around for a Therapist
When we hire a plumber to sort out a leaky pipe, or a technician to fix our computer, we generally think pretty carefully about who we go to.
We will make sure they are suitably qualified, we might ask our friends to recommend someone who helped them, we may get quotes from several people to find the person who seems most reasonable and trustworthy. If we're unlucky and someone does a bad job then we find somebody else who will hopefully be better.
It is strange, then, that when people go to therapy they often assume that they have to stay with the first therapist that they see and, if they don't find that therapy useful, they often give up on it and don't try again.
It is perfectly acceptable to shop around for a therapist. This is particularly the case if you are spending money to see a private therapist, but even in the constraints of an NHS clinic, it is fine to say that you would like to try somebody else. Situations when it is common to do this include:
- If you would like a therapist of the same gender or cultural group as yourself, or who speaks your first language (although this isn't always possible of course)
- If you want a therapist who has the approach that fits your way of seeing things best
- If you have been with a therapist for a while and you think you don't have a very good rapport
It is important that there is a good match or rapport between you and your therapist so that you understand and trust each other. Not every therapist will suit every client.
When getting a private therapist you might well want to see two or three for an assessment before deciding on one to go for. At least you might phone up or email a few and ask them about their work. When shopping around for a therapist these are the things it may be useful to check:
- Their qualifications and experience
- What professional organizations they belong to
- What code of ethics they work to
- What approach they use
- Their experience of working with issues like the ones you have, or people like you (for example, some lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender clients, or clients from a specific religion or with a particular health problem might well want to check this)
- How much they charge (and whether they charge if you miss a session)
- How many sessions they offer, and how frequently
- Whether they will work with a translator (if English isn't your first language) and how that works
- How long their waiting list is