Alternative private therapy

Finding a psychotherapist is a uniquely personal process. Trust in the therapist and therapeutic approach you choose is an integral component of effective therapy. If you’d like to find out if Synergy Psychotherapy is the best fit for you book a free 20-minute consultation.


If you’re looking for an alternative private psychotherapist here is some guidance and information aimed to help your search. 

It can feel difficult to cut through the jargon and the various options when looking for a psychotherapist, especially at what is likely to already be such a difficult time, when you are seeking treatment. Just as if you were looking for a plumber to do some work at your home it can be helpful to do your research. Below are some important considerations when seeking private psychotherapy, information about what Synergy Psychotherapy offers and guidance as to where to find out further information that may help you to make a decision.

Take Care

Psychotherapist accreditation; the gold standard

It is important to be aware that psychotherapy in the UK is an unregulated profession which means that anyone in the UK can legally refer to themselves as a psychotherapist or counsellor and advertise these services without any (or with insufficient) skills, training or experience. The impact of this on people seeking therapy at often the most vulnerable times in their lives, is that:

  • There may be a risk of harm as there are no assurances that the psychotherapist chosen is suitably qualified, competent or safe to practice.

  • Should there be any concerns about treatment there is no system of redress.

  • It may be a struggle to navigate complex pathways to care and to cut through professional jargon which delays accessing psychotherapy and reaching recovery.


Statutory regulation of psychotherapy in the UK would ensure that only those psychotherapists who are suitably qualified, experienced and skilled, who are fit to practice competently and safely, would be legally able to identify themselves as psychotherapists or counsellors. It would also ensure that any concerns about practice would be investigated by a single regulating body, for example, as per Doctors regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) or Nurses registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); with consistency and transparency, subsequently ensuring the public are protected from harm.


As the UK Government have - as recently as 2020 - stated that they have no plans to introduce the statutory regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors, the best that psychotherapists and counsellors can currently do is to voluntarily become accredited with a professional body. Because there is no statutory regulation there exists a number of professional bodies for psychotherapists and counsellors - including (but not limited to) those referred to above - to regulate all of the different psychotherapeutic approaches. However, the only accrediting professional body for Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists is the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). BABCP accreditation is required for most Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist jobs within the NHS and with many private healthcare providers.







Accreditation with the BABCP is the gold standard for CBT therapists in the UK to demonstrate that they are:

  • Suitably qualified. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists accredited with the BABCP have:

    • Completed a portfolio of evidence of mental health training, experience and references demonstrating the required knowledge, skills and attitudes that underpin psychotherapeutic work (as a pre-requisite of formal postgraduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy).

    • Passed a post-graduate level assessed training course taught by recognised CBT trainers, which followed a core curriculum and comprised of a minimum of 450 hours of specialist CBT training overall. 

  • Knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in CBT practice. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists accredited with the BABCP have:

    • Completed a minimum of 200 hours of CBT practice including a minimum of eight supervised and assessed pieces of clinical work, during their training.

    • Received a minimum of 40 hours of supervision, including a minimum of 9 hours of close supervision (a supervisor sitting in on clinical practice or watching recorded clinical practice, and rating therapist competency), during their training.

  • Accountable. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists accredited with the BABCP have:

  • Committed to providing safe and effective therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists accredited with the BABCP have:

    • Received regular supervision and a report from a BABCP accredited supervisor on the preceding 12 months of CBT practice prior to accreditation/reaccreditation.

    • Received a professional reference from a BABCP accredited psychotherapist.

    • Kept their professional skills and knowledge updated by engaging in ongoing training.

    • Contributed to public protection by voluntarily applying for accreditation to signify meeting the gold standard of CBT practice.

Synergy Psychotherapy has signed a petition to call for Government legislation to introduce the statutory regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors due to the belief that this is needed for public protection and confidence in psychotherapy.


Your Synergy Psychotherapy therapist is accredited by the BABCP to be able to provide confidence in being suitably qualified, experienced, skilled and fit to practice competently and safely.

treasure chest on beach2.jpg

Do your research

Whilst there is nothing inferior about a psychotherapist or counsellor who isn’t accredited with a professional body you may wish to consider:

  • Doing research to find out whether the psychotherapist or counsellor has completed a purely theoretical course(s) OR a course(s) which required learning and development of clinical skills, demonstrated through assessed work with patients, alongside course attendance.

  • Doing research to find out whether the psychotherapist or counsellor has completed a short period of learning (for example, a 1-hour workshop) OR a number of courses over a period of years.

  • Doing research to find out whether the psychotherapist or counsellor has completed a training course(s) for which certification was given for attendance only OR a formal qualification for which certification was achieved only through passing multiple assessments, over the duration of the course. 

  • Doing research to satisfy yourself that the psychotherapist or counsellor is fit to practice competently and safely; if this involves liaising with the psychotherapist or counsellor to find out about their practice and background (rather than this information being available upfront) this may be costly. 

  • That there is no formal system of redress if you have concerns about the psychotherapist or counsellor’s practice.

Synergy Psychotherapy advise that when looking for a psychotherapist you:

  • Find a psychotherapist who is accredited with a professional body. (N.B. Being a member of the professional body is not the same as being accredited by them. For example, anyone with an interest in CBT can join the BABCP as a member, subject to a fee, but BABCP accreditation has to be applied for and is only conferred to those members who meet strict criteria, as above).

  • Ask to see a psychotherapist’s evidence of accreditation with a professional body and/or their qualifications and enquire about their experience. Gaining and maintaining accreditation takes a lot of time and commitment, costs the psychotherapist yearly fees and is voluntary; Synergy Psychotherapy are proud to be accredited by the BABCP and will gladly share evidence of this and/or relevant qualifications with you.

Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapists can be found via the CBT register.

N.B. It may be helpful to cross-reference accredited therapists on the register with an internet search for their private practice details. Only those therapists who have paid fees to advertise via the CBT register will have private practice details listed on there. For instance, you may find ‘Joe Bloggs’ is accredited on the CBT register but no details are listed of his private practice; assuming he has one you would then need to look for these details, for instance by doing an internet search.


Accredited psychotherapists practicing other psychotherapeutic modalities can be found via their accrediting professional bodies; it may be helpful to refer to the information above for some guidance.

Page last updated: 20/08/2021. All information correct at time of update but is liable to change; to ensure information is correct at time of use visit the organisation website or contact the organisation directly. Synergy Psychotherapy is not responsible for the content of any external sites.