Private referrals require you, as the patient, to book the appointment with the consultant and hospital of your choice. If you have private medical or health insurance, some policies will allow you to book with any consultant or hospital, while other policies restrict the choice to a list of approved consultants. Insurance companies almost always require a letter of referral from a GP, so before attending your private appointment please either make a face to face appointment with us here in surgery or complete an eConsult request stating which consultant and hospital you are planning to see. If you have any questions about this process, or are enquiring about a copy of the referral letter, please contact the Practice Secretary directly on 01446 777012.
If you’re referred for counselling or another psychological therapy through the NHS, it will be free of charge. However, your choice of the type of therapy may be limited. If you have a preference for the type of therapy you receive, or the time or location of your appointments, you may choose to look for a private therapist.
If you decide to pay to see a private therapist, make sure they’re qualified and you feel comfortable with them. The cost of private counselling can vary considerably. Depending on where you live, a session can cost between £10 and £70. Some therapists may be willing to adjust their fees in accordance with your income.
Many private counsellors offer an initial free session and concessionary rates for students, job seekers and those on low wages. You should ask about charges and agree a price before starting a course of counselling.
Finding a qualified counsellor
Most reputable counsellors will be registered with a professional organisation that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) (a government body), such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or The National Counselling Society.
Counselling and clinical psychologists must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), and may also be chartered with The British Psychological Society (BPS). The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) maintains a list of accredited CBT practitioners.
Therapists registered with a professional association have met the PSA’s high standards for governance, standard setting, education and training, information management, and complaints. They must also maintain high ethical and professional standards. This gives the public greater protection, and guarantees a minimum level of training and continuing professional development.
You can find a therapist near you by using the postcode search on the BACP website.