Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Therapist

Use these 5 top tips to help you choose the right therapist and avoid common pitfalls

With the COVID Pandemic impacting on people’s mental health there has been a huge increase in the demand for therapy. New online therapy platforms have emerged making therapy more accessible than ever. But it’s a minefield! How do you know what you need or who to pick?

Here’s our top 5 tips to choosing your therapist

top 5 tips therapist psychologist choosing top tips

1) Check their credentials

Any Bonafede therapist in the UK will be registered with a reputable association or regulatory body. This gives you someone to complain to if you need to but also means that the therapist will have met certain training criteria. Look for Psychologist who are registered with HCPC. Psychotherapists and counsellors with the BACP, and CBT therapists are registered with the BABCP.

It’s important for you to know that most therapists’ titles are not protected. This means that anyone can use them, and they do not have to have ANY training. It is entirely possible for a Psychology graduate to call themselves a ‘psychologist’ or for someone with no qualifications at all to call themselves a behavioural therapist, a counsellor, or a psychotherapist. 

All these titles can be legitimately used by great therapists, you just must check their qualifications, training and who they are registered with. And if they won’t tell you…..RUN!

women worried

2) Can you have a free consult

Any legitimate therapist should have no problem offering you a free initial telephone or video consult. This is usually 15 to 30 minutes and allows you to get a feel for your therapist and if you want to arrange an initial meeting or assessment. This next initial meeting will cost you but should not tie you into any more sessions and you should be free to look for other therapists if the fit isn’t right.

3) Cheaper isn’t always better!

It might be tempting to go for cheaper therapy, but a word of caution. Cheaper is likely to mean less qualified, and less qualified might mean it takes longer for you to see any results or positive changes. If it takes longer for you get results it may not end up being cheaper in the long run. Don’t be afraid to ask a therapist if they can offer payment plans, bi-weekly sessions, cost reductions or cheaper sessions through block booking.


Also just take a minute to think about what you spend on your physical health each week? Gym, bicycle, yoga classes, spa, beauty treatments etc, your nutrition? Food shop, supplements, meal boxes etc? Isn’t your mental health worth it? I think so…

Its also important to note that being expensive also doesn’t mean its better – shop around and see what the average cost is for the type of qualified therapist you’re looking for. Therapy shouldn’t be extortionate – but you will find that more highly qualified or specialist therapists will cost you more.

Average costs in UK per hour:

  • Counsellor – £40 – 60
  • Psychotherapist – £40 – 80
  • CBT Therapist – £40 – 90
  • Clinical Psychologist £90 – 175
  • Counselling Psychologist £60 – 150

4. Do you feel safe with them? 

Therapy can be hard and leave you feeling vulnerable. You may be exploring issues you’ve never spoken about before. It is important that you feel safe with your therapist, that you can trust them and that you do not feel judged by them. You should be able to have open conversations about difficult things and not feel shut down.

5. Do they have experience in your area of need?

All therapists are very different and often specialize in different areas of therapy or mental health. Some therapist work with only adults and some with only children. Others specialize in addiction or a certain type of therapy such as CBT. Make sure that whoever you choose, they can offer you what you need and have experience with your area of difficulty.

So there you have our top 5 tips for choosing a therapist, good luck in your search!


BBC uncovers unregulated mental health cures

The BBC recently aired a programme ‘I Can Cure You: Online mental Health Cures’ where Jordan Dunbar (reporter) explored and investigated the murky world of unregulated mental health services and therapists.

As NHS waiting lists reach record levels, more and more people are looking for treatment for their mental health online. Reporter Jordan Dunbar was one of them. He was targeted by adverts promising to cure his depression. As he looked deeper, he uncovered a world of cures and treatments promising to solve disorders like anxiety, OCD and more. All carried out by people with no qualifications. He hears allegations of bullying, manipulation and exploitation of vulnerable people all desperate for help, with companies charging thousands of pounds in the process. With these practices being completely legal, who is looking out for us when we look for help? (BBC)

Did you know that the term ‘counsellor’ or ‘psychotherapist’ is not regulated – anyone can use these titles and they do not need any training to do so. Jordan spoke to many people who in their desperation to receive help and support, sought out therapists or services online. Some of the stories uncovered by Jordon are shocking and extremely concerning.


One women spoke about being asked to do therapeutic work whilst videoing herself in order for it to be used to publicise the service. She was even asked to repeat videos if they weren’t good enough. Another person spoke about how their therapist cut sessions short, blamed them for the difficulties and conducted sessions whilst out and about shopping and driving! This is exploitation of vulnerable people at a time when they need care and genuine support.

Some titles are ‘protected’ like Psychiatrist and Clinical Psychologist, and therefore you cannot use these titles without the correct qualifications and you must be regulated by the appropriate professional body e.g. HCPC. Other unprotected titles rely on the therapist joining relevant regulatory bodies who monitor and agree training requirements.

So if you’re looking for a therapist – what should you be looking for?

Check out our next blog – Top 5 Tips to choosing the right Therapist