Tunbridge Wells is often talked about as one of the best places to live in Kent. In part, I attribute this to all the leafy parks, easy access to London (mostly), low crime-rates and good schools.
However, just because Tunbridge Wells isn’t a terrible place to be, doesn’t mean life never creeps up on you. Sometimes, you could do with some extra support.
As a provider of counselling and psychotherapy services practicing in Tunbridge Wells, I’m often asked by prospective clients which professional might be the most suited to their needs.
Whether you’re looking for a life coach, counsellor, therapist or psychologist, I’d like to help you find somebody who can help.
What’s the difference between all of those titles anyway?
Life Coaching aims to help you achieve clear, measurable targets in your life. Coaching will generally incorporate elements such as analysis, exercises and diagrams to help you identify key issues and methods to overcome them. It focuses on the present. So, if you are highly motivated and your problems are very practical and business- or career-orientated, coaching can be very helpful.
However, coaching does have limitations if you are looking to tackle more deep-rooted problems. (A coaching qualification can be obtained in 1-6 months.)
Counselling and psychotherapy will specifically look at the influence of your past history on your present problems to help you move out of unhelpful patterns of behaviour which you may find yourself repeating time and again.
Counselling has typically been regarded as more appropriate for shorter-term work focused on symptomatic relief, whereas psychotherapy has been seen as the best solution for longer-term, complex issues and personality disorders. The reason for this has largely been down to the length of time it takes to qualify in the profession (usually two years for a counselling diploma and a minimum of four years to complete psychotherapy training).
I would argue that what matters most is not the length of time it takes to qualify but the amount of experience the counsellor or psychotherapist has with your specific issue. If you’re looking for help with tackling substance misuse, for instance, you will likely have much better outcomes with a counsellor who has worked in this area for five years than a psychotherapist who may have more years of training but is a specialist in an unrelated field.
In terms of great client outcomes, I think what’s most important of all is the relationship you feel able to build with your therapist. If you meet three great therapists but you don’t feel a connection with two of them, they are not the right person for you! It’s absolutely OK to meet with several until you feel like you can build a good working alliance with that person. You want to feel comfortable enough to talk about what’s really going on for you, but also suitably challenged so that you can make progress together. You’re not investing in these sessions for yourself in order to have a cosy chat!
Unlike all of the above, a psychiatrist is medically trained (at least five years to become a doctor) and has then gone on to specialise in psychiatry (the study of mental disorders) for another six! Psychiatrists tend to work across all age groups and presenting issues but usually work with those with more severe problems as they are able to carry out medical tests and prescribe medication when required.
To see a psychiatrist, you will usually need a referral from your general practitioner (GP), in the same way you would with any other specialist, and most private psychiatrists would still prefer a referral from your GP. Some psychiatrists may advertise independently. If you’re not going via your GP, always look for the title 'MRCPsych' (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) or ‘FRCPsych’ (Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) to make sure you’re getting help from a qualified professional.
Where can I find these people?
Here is a list of other helpful links for sites which only list qualified professionals in their field:
I hope this helps you find the right therapist in Tunbridge Wells. If you are still feeling stuck, feel free to call me on 07847 537533 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to hear about what is happening and help direct you to the right person. If you are looking for psychotherapy, you can read more about how I can help below: