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Counselling and Therapy

If you are looking for free NHS funded therapy and counselling in Kent and Medway, Live It Well has details of all of the NHS free self refer counselling and therapy services. Maybe your GP has told you to get counselling? or maybe you feel like you need the support yourself, find out what is available on the NHS and other sources here.

Everyone feels down at some point in their lives. Usually these moments will pass but what should you do if they don’t and you feel like you need some help and support?

Talking Therapies

Talking therapies, sometimes known as psychological therapies, can help people cope with:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emotional problems
  • relationship problems
  • troublesome habits like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • phobias
  • other problems, such as hearing voices and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • anger management
  • bereavement

Talking therapies are available free on the NHS for people who meet the eligibility criteria. You can call direct to book an assessment or your GP can refer you.  The team will assess your need and identify whether therapy is right for you, they can also help you access other support.

Treatment can include Guided Self Help Booklets, Life Skills Workshops, Focused Counselling, Employment Related Support and therapy which may be available via the computer (computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, also known as cCBT), over the phone, in group sessions or face to face.

The person carrying out the treatment is usually called a counsellor or therapist, while the person being treated is called the patient or client. Counsellors or therapists don’t usually offer advice, instead they help people gain insight into their own issues, feelings and behaviour.

Most psychological therapies are one-to-one or in groups. You can also work through some treatments using self-help books, and some therapies can work using the internet. You may be offered 6 or more treatment sessions, depending on your assessed needs.

There are many different types of therapies. MIND and It’s Good to Talk provide comprehensive information as to the different types of therapies that are available, to find out more click on the links below:

Mind – Talking Treatments Guide
NHS Choices Guide to Therapy

The provision of these therapies is in line with the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). To find out more about NICE click here.

To see all of the free NHS Therapy and Counselling services in Kent and Medway follow the link.

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Free LGBTQ Counselling for Young People in Kent and Medway

Metro are able to offer Free Counselling for LGBTQ Young People in Kent and Medway and their families. This counselling gives young people the chance to talk about issues that are troubling them find out more here: Contact Fred Crossman: 020 8305 5009 or email fred@metrocharity.org.uk. For more information see the Chat Youth Counselling Information sheet or to see the work that Metro Centre are doing go to: www.metrocentreonline.org.

Charities and Voluntary Organisations

Some Charities and Voluntary Organisations  offer cheap or free counselling, these include:

  • Cruse for bereavement care, for more information click here
  • Relate for relationship counselling, for more information click here.

For all free NHS Talking Therapy and Counselling in Kent and Medway follow the link. You can refer yourself into these services and there are several organisations covering all areas in Kent and Medway.

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How do I find a Private Counsellor

If you have the money available you can find a counsellor privately and pay for your counselling. The cost of therapies can vary greatly and a one hour session could cost anything between £40 – £100. Remember that counselling may take many weeks to complete. If you feel that you can afford to go private your GP would be the best place to start, you can ask them to suggest a local private therapist that might be suitable for you.

There are no rules governing who can advertise talking therapy services, so it’s essential to check that the therapist is listed on one of the registers of approved practitioners. Talk to several therapists before you decide which one is suitable for you.

NHS Choices has additional advice as to how to choose a counsellor, for more information click here.

The following organisations have approved therapists:

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There are many free resources available, especially books and computer based tools, that can help people work through their emotional issues and develop coping strategies to help maintain wellbeing.

Books Can Help – Read Yourself Well

Kent and Medway Libraries run a Books Can Help scheme. These books cover a range of topics such as:

  • Anger Management
  • Bereavement
  • Confidence Building
  • Eating Issues
  • Managing Anxiety Compulsive Habits Trauma
  • Mood Management Depression

In Kent a GP or other professional can ‘refer’ you onto the scheme, you can then take your referral form to one of the 39 participating libraries. Further details how you can access the Kent Books Can Help scheme can be found by clicking here.

Medway have also complied a list of suitable books, find more about the scheme in Medway by clicking here.

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Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Clients who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art. The aim of art therapist practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment. To find out more or to search for a local therapist through the British Association of Art Therapists click here.

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Computer Aided Online CBT

Computerised self-help programmes are now available which provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy online or as a download onto your computer. Some people find that they prefer using a computer rather than talking to a therapist about their private feelings. The software can also be used as an introduction to CBT before you decide on face-to-face therapy. Some people find the programmes are more effective if they work through them with the support of a friend or mental health professional.

You can use computers free of charge at libraries across Kent and Medway, To find your local library, if you live in Kent click here or if you live in Medway click here.

Online self-help programmes should not been seen as an alternative to a proper diagnosis and treatment from a qualified person. Consider speaking to your GP or a mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms related to depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.  If you are unsure, call the Mental Health Matters Helpline on 0800 107 0160 or go to our Need Help Now? page for more information.

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The Big White Wall

The Big White Wall is an online early intervention community for people experiencing common mental health issues who use the service to  support and self-manage their own mental health. It combines the basic principles of social networking with the expert knowledge to improve mental wellbeing and is available 24 hours per day.

Therapies available include:

  • Talk therapy in community, groups and on a one-to-one basis
  • Guided Groups informed by recognised therapies such as cognitive behaviour and interpersonal therapies
  • Extensive Useful Stuff section on the website to help people self-manage psychological distress
  • Networking based on peer support including the ability to make friends and follow their moods and activities

You can find out more about the Big White Wall by clicking here.

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Live Life to the Full

Live Life to the Full is an online life skills course that is designed to help people respond to issues and demands that may occur in everyday life.

The course covers:

  • Practical Problem Solving
  • Anxiety Control
  • Helpful and unhelpful behaviours
  • Changing unhelpful thoughts
  • Healthy Living – sleep, diet and exercise

For more information on Live Life to the Full click here.

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e-couch provides information about emotional problems; what causes them, how to prevent them and how to treat them. It includes exercises to help you understand yourself and others better.

The e-couch program includes information, exercises, a workbook to track your progress and record your experiences, and toolkits to help you improve your mood and emotional state and tackle challenges that you may be facing.

Although a great resource, e-couch was developed in Australia so the ‘Need Help Now’ sections on the website will be for Australian organisations and not ones based in the UK. If you need to speak to someone now please click here.

For more information on e-couch click here.

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MoodGYM is an interactive web programme developed to prevent anxiety and depression. It consists of five modules, an interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment.

Although a great resource, MoodGYM was developed in Australia and the ‘Need Help Now’ sections on the website will be for Australian organisations and not ones based in the UK.  If you need to speak to someone now please click here.

For more information on MoodGYM click here.

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Moodscope offers you a simple way of measuring your mood and sharing your results online with friends. It sends daily reminders and thoughts for the day and helps you track your mood over a prolonged period, reminding you that no mood lasts forever. It is a new idea, but has already got some very enthusiastic supporters who believe it helps them focus on what they are feeling and why. Click here to go to their website.

Live It Well wants to ensure everyone has access to free and low cost Counselling and Therapy in Kent and Medway

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