You’d see a GP for the flu, and a facialist for your skin, so why not a therapist for your mind? Here are four ways it could help…

1. It arms you for life

You don’t have to spend your days in the Hollywood glare or be depressed to benefit. ‘Women seed therapy for lots to work stress,’ says online psychologist Sue Wright (psychologyonline.co.uk). The focus now is on nipping things in the bud rather than waiting to hit rock bottom before seeking help. Cameron Diaz used therapy to stop brooding, while Shakira’s sorted her body image. But therapy doesn’t just solve one issue: ‘The skills you learn can help in everything from self esteem to relationships,’ says Sue.

2. It help you achieve more

You don’t have to spend hours a week on the couch. Take solution-focused brief therapy, for example. ‘We concentrate on where people are trying to get to and set targets to achieve that,’ says therapist Evan George, co-founder of BRIEF UK (brief.org.uk). ‘Most people need just three sessions.’ And with online therapy you don’t even have to change out of your pyjamas, you just log on. ‘You can do your online session while your baby’s napping or, if you travel a lot for work, log on from your hotel room,’ says Sue. ‘I’ve seen it all!’

3. It’s about your future, not your past

Delving into your past, session after session, while you pick apart your childhood experiences, isn’t required. ‘We don’t encourage a focus on your problematic past because that makes it appear more dominant in your present – and we’re all about moving forward,’ says Evan. And if you’re put off by the thought of revealing your innermost thoughts to a stranger, online therapy takes that pressure away. ‘You never see a reaction in your therapist’s face, which makes you more uninhibited,’ says Sue. ‘That means you get to the point very quickly, so the average person needs only seven sessions.’

4. It’s quick and often free

That’s why it’s on the rise. ‘Not many people have the time or money for long-term psychotherapy so we’re seeing increased demand for brief therapy,’ says Evan. The same is true for online therapy: ‘Rather than becoming engrossed in a dependent on counselling, it’s about learning skills,’ says Sue. In fact, online therapy has been so successful that the NHS is rolling out pilot schemes with a view to making it available to everyone. Your first step, though, is to visit your GP: some practices offer free counselling. If you’d prefer to go private, then do check your therapist is accredited with one of the organisations listed at the British Association For Counselling And Psycholotherapy website, bacp.co.uk.

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