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What therapies are available and what is right for me?

Updated: May 18

Making Sense of The Therapy Minefield

When you begin looking for help with a psychological problem, you very quickly discover that there are so many different therapies to choose from, which can create anxiety. However, despite the number of therapy styles available, they tend to fall into four main types.

  • Hypnotherapy

  • Psychotherapy

  • Counselling

  • Psychology-based therapy


There are generally two forms: one is regression therapy, which is where you talk to the therapist, and the other is suggestion therapy, where the therapist talks to you; the latter is often referred to as solution-focused therapy. Regression therapy usually resolves unresolved issues from childhood. Solution-focused therapy helps to condition your subconscious to be able to make changes for you to do something you are currently unable to do or to help you stop doing something you now cannot. In both working styles, the therapist will usually ask lots of questions before starting the actual hypnosis session itself.

The number of sessions will vary according to the presenting problem. For simple things like phobias or dealing with habits, 1 - 4 sessions. It can be as many as 18 sessions or more for more complicated issues.

To find a qualified therapist, check out the following professional associations:

The General Hypnotherapy Register

The Association of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists

The National Council of Hypnotherapists


Psychotherapy often tends to be slower than hypnotherapy, though, for some problems, it is more reliable or appropriate. Not all people or issues are suitable for treatment with hypnosis; a professional therapist will be able to advise accurately. Many Hypnotherapists can work using psychotherapy, and many Psychotherapists use hypnosis. Once again, it might take the form of an investigation into past trauma or be purely solution-focused, attempting to resolve the presenting issue. The older 'standard' models of psychotherapy (including C.B.T.) are still effective but usually slower than later models developed in the last ten years or so.

The number of sessions will again be variable, often in the order of months or years.

The British Association Counsellors and Psychotherapists

National Register for Psychotherapists and Counsellors


As a therapy, Counselling tends to be much slower than other therapies but is thought to be gentler. The last two therapy types tend to fix problems, and Counsellors are more like sounding boards. Counselling often fulfils a different purpose from the other two therapies mentioned here. It usually operates as a support system for those who, for one reason or another, cannot cope with life independently. Generally, Counselling is less dynamic but is no less effective in the long term.

The number of sessions required is usually indeterminate, though the client can quit without ill effect whenever they want to.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy


This type of therapy is like psychotherapy but has a more scientific approach. It has no dependence on hypnosis, but many psychologists use it. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming) is one, and BWRT is another, providing fast resolution to trauma and anxiety-based problems. Many modern therapies are based on neuroscience and can achieve speedy results in the hands of a good practitioner.

The number of sessions varies from 1 to many, according to the therapist, their model, and the presenting difficulty.

The British Psychological Society

The Terence Watts BWRT Institute

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