Top Tips: Choosing the Right Service and Therapist (For You or Your Child)

Top Tips: Choosing the Right Service and Therapist (For You or Your Child)

On 9 October 2023

Finding a private psychologist or therapist to help you (or your family) can be daunting. The internet is a big place, and unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there. If you’re feeling confused, don’t worry! We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you navigate this important decision. Take a look below at our guide to the help you’re looking for.


Perhaps the most important and first thing to check out, is what someone is qualified to offer, and to whom. Depending on the type of professional, they should be registered with a professional or regulatory body. Clinical and Counselling Psychologists are registered with HCPC. Use this link: to search a name, finding out if they are registered.

It may come as a surprise, but the term “psychologist” is not protected in law so anyone can use it. People with just an undergraduate degree in psychology can use this title, EVEN IF they have no clinical experience or training! To become Clinical or Counselling Psychologists, professionally trained and HCPC registered, they need to have done a further three-year Doctorate in clinical practice as well.

So, what about counsellors and psychotherapists?

Counselling is an umbrella term which covers a large array of different trainings with varying lengths. To be sure you have a suitably qualified professional, look for someone registered with the BACP ( or the BABCP ( and if in doubt, feel free to ask about their credentials. Professionals expect this. If you want to know the difference between these professionals, check out our blog:Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor or Psychiatrist; Who Should I See for What?”

So, now you’ve found someone qualified to offer psychology intervention, or therapy. What next? There are a few other things you might want to consider:

If you’re looking for someone to support your child, check, are they trained to work with children. How often do they work with children? It’s not simply a case of treating children like mini adults- there are specific considerations for working with children and young people. Most work with children will involve consideration of family, school life, and wider dynamics, and recognising how these impact the child. An understanding and knowledge of child development and family functioning, and supervised clinical practice with children, is included in clinical psychology training, but you may need to check with practitioners from other disciplines, just to make sure they have the necessary training and experience. Professionals working with children also require an up-to-date DBS check, ensuring they have no convictions and are safe to work with children and young people.

Keeping You and Your Information Safe

Any professionally qualified practitioner has to follow strict guidance to keep you, your family, and your information safe. Clinical/Counselling Psychologists, for example, follow practice guidance from the British Psychological Society ( This gives advice on clinical practice e.g. on confidentiality. This is very important, however there are circumstances where information may need to be shared. This should be clearly explained to you in the first appointment- if not before.

Do you have a clear understanding of the boundaries and expectations of a therapeutic relationship? Before you can begin therapy, it can be useful for boundaries to be set out; some practitioners/services will outline expectations to you before you meet, in a written document for you to sign. Check out payment terms- how they will take payment? What about their cancellation policy? Many services/practitioners will charge for missed appointments. Your information is sensitive, so should be stored according to GDPR law, and professional standards. Again, if in doubt ask your practitioner for a copy of their privacy policy, which should be available to you.

The First Appointment

Now you are ready for your first appointment, consider where you will be seen. Will your appointments be online, face to face, or a combination of both? There has been a huge growth in online providers- which can work in some circumstances- but it is not suitable for everyone. Consider how you will feel discussing private or upsetting matters online. Do you have a quiet and private space to do this? Check whether the online provider will be meeting you in a suitable setting also. Online can provide flexibility, but double check the provider is qualified to practice in the UK- as some large online providers aren’t UK companies and use worldwide practitioners. Professional registrations usually only qualify someone to practise in their own country, and they won’t be insured to work elsewhere. If you unfortunately had to make a complaint, using a non-UK company could affect you. For a successful outcome in therapy, research tells us,

(see the most important variable is the relationship you form with your practitioner.  This is the vehicle for healing. Bear in mind whether online therapy will allow for the relationship’s development. In the case of children, engaging online can be challenging, so check this option feels right for you and your family.

To help your decision, get a feel for the person or service before you buy. Take a good look around their website, Linked In, or professional Facebook page. This may tell you important information about their values and professionalism. Most services and practitioners will offer a free, brief telephone conversation, where you learn more about the service and how it works- so don’t be afraid to ask for a phone call.

We hope these top tips have given you a helpful guide to navigating tricky first steps towards getting support. At Cura Psychology, we guide you through the journey and are always happy to talk things through.  To get in touch with Dr Louise Earley, our service director, either call on 0121 8177058, or use the contact form on our website, so you can learn more and see if we are the service, you’ve been looking for!


Cura Psychology

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35 Lombard St
Lichfield WS136DP

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07903 335476

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