Letter: Good counsel

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The Independent Online
YVONNE RIDLEY's article on counselling and therapy is inevitably simplistic ("Stressed-out Britons create boom time for therapists", 25 July). A few column inches cannot do justice to the full picture. But my own research indicates that there are, in addition to 1,700 registered counsellors, at least 5,600 therapists registered with either of the two main psychotherapy bodies, apart from many chartered clinical and counselling psychologists. Even if her estimate of 25,000 unregistered counsellors is correct, by no means all are either ineffective or charlatans - I was myself unregistered for 21 years, and I believe my clients would tell you that I did as creditable a job for them then as I do now.

Nor are therapy and counselling just for those who can afford them. Apart from counselling services in some schools through to many colleges and most universities, there are employee advisory programmes where firms pay for staff to receive short-term counselling; increasing numbers of counsellors working, sometimes for a pittance, in GP surgeries; and therapists of one kind or another in other parts of the NHS - all providing therapy and counselling free.