top of page

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.

  • What am I looking for?
    We often refer to "needing to talk to someone" when we are struggling with our mental health. It can be useful to consider your expectations from talking to a professional. What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is a type of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy (regardless of the type) is pre-booked, structured input. Most types of psychotherapy are intended to be offered no more than once weekly (psychodynamic psychotherapy is an exception to this - up to three weekly sessions may be offered). Psychotherapy (regardless of the type) is a process of understanding yourself and your difficulties better. The psychotherapy process takes place over the short to long term (depending on the type of psychotherapy you're accessing), with the same consistent psychotherapist throughout. How do I know where to start? "I'm feeling desperate, unsafe, suicidal and/or thinking about seriously harming myself/I'm in a crisis". The most important thing when feeling this way is to take each moment as it comes, with a focus on getting through and staying safe. Please see the 'crisis support' signposting page for details on services set up to support people, when in crisis. "I'm interested in receiving a mental health diagnosis and/or looking at medication options for my mental health problems". Only a psychiatrist can provide a mental health diagnosis in the UK. Psychiatrists are medically trained professionals and specialise in recommending appropriate medications for mental ill health. There are NHS psychiatrists for whom you would need a referral (via your GP) to make an appointment or private psychiatrists who your GP may also be able to advise on. "I'm interested in talking to someone, to offload when life is tough". If you don't want, or are unable to make a commitment to regular appointments, or you don't experience a pattern of difficulties but want someone to be available to listen to you, from time to time when you're struggling, please see the 'emotional support' signposting page. "I want to learn how to manage my difficulties/learn coping techniques". Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)-based coping skills are incredibly helpful for some difficulties. See the 'self-help' signposting page for further information. "I need specific advice for life stressors". Sometimes support that is practical (rather than emotional in nature) is needed or we might benefit from specific advice or guidance on a matter. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is a free, confidential, national organisation offering knowledge and practical advice on a range of issues including (but not limited to) housing, finances, benefits, immigration and consumer rights. "I'm lonely". 'Befriending' is a supportive, reliable relationship between a volunteer and someone who is feeling socially isolated. An internet search is probably the most reliable way to get up to date information on services in your locality.
  • What approach/modality of psychotherapy am I looking for?
    'Therapy', 'counselling' and 'psychotherapy' are broad terms that are often used interchangeably to refer to a number of therapeutic approaches or 'modalities' (a bit like referring to plumbing as 'one of the trades' when there are a number of trades). What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). For more information about the approach see the 'About CBT' page. How can I figure out what approach/modality of psychotherapy is for me? The BACP have provided an A-Z of therapeutic approaches. For more detailed information about a psychotherapy modality, see the associated accrediting body's website, for example (but not limited to): Counselling - the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) - the EMDR Association Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) - the Interpersonal Psychotherapy UK Network Psychoanalytic and psycohodynamic psychotherapy - the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
  • What type of psychotherapy am I looking for?
    Many psychotherapists specialise in working with certain age populations (for instance, children, adults or older adults). Psychotherapists work either with individuals, couples, families, in groups, or sometimes a mix. What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? Individual CBT for adults (people aged 18+). Where can I find out what type of psychotherapy a provider is offering? This information is usually on the psychotherapy provider's website or you could make an enquiry.
  • What difficulties do I want to work on in psychotherapy?
    What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? CBT to treat: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - repetitive behaviours that reduce the anxiety caused by distressing thoughts. Synergy Psychotherapy have a special interest in treating OCD. Agoraphobia - avoidance of places/situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing, or help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) - preoccupation with perceived physical flaw(s)/defect(s), accompanied with repetitive behaviours. Depression - persistent low mood which impacts on daily living. Dermatillomania/excoriation disorder - repetitive and excessive skin picking. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - chronic, excessive and global worrying. Panic disorder - anxiety about having panic attacks ('fear of fear') and living life in a limited way in an attempt to prevent further attacks. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - following a single event trauma - feelings of a traumatic incident not being in the past, along with easily and frequently triggered symptoms of reliving the event. Social anxiety disorder - persistent anxiety about feeling embarrassed or making a fool of oneself in social situations. Specific phobias - excessive fear of something specific which interferes with daily living, for example, situations (such as heights or diving), animals or insects, objects, blood, needles or vomit (this is not an exhaustive list). Trichotillomania - repetitive and excessive hair pulling. How can I find out what therapeutic modality will be helpful to me? Certain types of psychotherapy have been found to be effective for the treatment of particular mental health difficulties and these are recommended by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence): Antisocial personality disorder - specialist CBT Bipolar disorder - CBT, IPT or behavioural couples therapy and/or specialist therapy designed for bipolar disorder Borderline personality disorder - Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Eating disorders - eating-disorder-focused CBT and/or Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) and/or Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) for anorexia Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) - CBT Depression - CBT, group exercise, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), IPT, counselling, psychodynamic psychotherapy Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) - CBT Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - CBT or EMDR Psychosis and schizophrenia - family intervention and CBT
  • How much time do I have to commit to psychotherapy?
    The expected duration, frequency and timeframe of sessions is likely to vary between different types of psychotherapy and will depend upon the difficulties you are addressing. What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? CBT sessions which are structured for 60 minutes. For some anxiety disorders and trauma presentations some 90 minute appointments may be needed (this would be discussed and agreed in advance). It is recommended that appointments are attended weekly in order to keep the momentum of learning going. This is because all of the sessions link together, with the intention being to continually build on learning from previous sessions. Regular gaps in therapy are likely to impede your learning and progress. Homework is an essential component of CBT. A minimum of 1 hour per day of homework is recommended during the treatment phase of CBT, in order for you to implement and solidify the learning from your sessions. CBT is a short-medium term psychotherapy so would not usually exceed a maximum of 25 sessions. An average of 16 sessions are recommended to work on most mental health difficulties. Of of the aims of an assessment with Synergy Psychotherapy is to determine the number of sessions that would be recommended for your difficulties, which would be discussed prior to commencing therapy. How can I find out which therapy modality will suit my level of commitment? It is best to discuss this directly with the psychotherapist you are going to work with, to set realistic expectations. Here is some information as a guide: Traditional psychoanalytic psychotherapy usually consists of up to three, hourly sessions, per week, for a number of years. Psychodynamic psychotherapy which uses similar techniques to psychoanalytic psychotherapy is often condensed to a once-weekly commitment of hourly sessions, for around a year. Counselling varies depending on the particular approach being accessed but sessions are usually 60 minutes with weekly or fortnightly frequency. The timeframe can vary from a few sessions to years depending on who you work with, the counselling approach and what you are working on. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) sessions are typically 90 minutes in length, weekly, for 10-16 sessions. Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) sessions are usually 50 minutes long and take place weekly, for 16 sessions. As is the case with any psychotherapy, time outside of sessions is recommended to reflect on your difficulties, the work you've been doing in appointments and in the case of some therapies time to complete agreed homework tasks is needed.
  • How much does psychotherapy cost?
    What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? FREE 20-minute telephone consultation. Click to book. £150 60-minute face-to-face assessment appointment, inclusive of assessment report £80 60-minute sessions (for initial assessment and treatment sessions in a course of therapy). £120 90-minute sessions (may be required for some anxiety disorder and trauma treatments; to be discussed and agreed in advance). How can I find out how much other psychotherapies cost? The NHS offer free psychological therapies depending on your difficulties and the area in which you live. A recommended first port of call would be to speak to your GP who can advise you in the first instance. If you would prefer to speak directly to an NHS psychological therapy service you can self refer to your local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service. See the 'NHS' signposting page for further details. Some local services may be run by third-sector organisations or charities which means in some cases they may be able to offer free or reduced-rate psychotherapy and/or psychotherapy charged on a 'sliding scale' (this means the amount they charge is based on how much you earn or can afford to pay). It may be useful to use a directory of services to explore these options: Live Well York An information and advice community website for adults and families wtih a directory of services. Mind in Bradford online directory Database of local organisations offering support and advice. Mind InfoLine, 0300 123 3393 Provides information and signposting. Mindwell Mental health information for everyone in Leeds. Treacle A social prescribing directory built for people living in the Worth Valley. The cost of private psychotherapy will vary from provider to provider; most list their fees on their websites. To find accredited psychotherapists see the relevant accrediting professional body. There also exists directories of private counsellors and psychotherapists: Counselling Directory Psychology Today Please see the 'alternative private psychotherapy' signposting page for further details.
  • Is now the right time/am I ready?
    Engaging with any psychotherapy approach is a practical and emotional commitment. The practical commitments include time to attend appointments, protected time to continue the work outside of sessions and the financial cost. The emotional commitments are that psychotherapy provides a safe space to explore difficult emotions and is therefore - by the very nature of the process - likely to be emotionally challenging. It is important to give serious consideration to your ability to commit to the psychotherapeutic process in order to reap the benefits, especially as life doesn't stop once you're in therapy. You will need to be able to attend appointments regularly, on time and with dedicated time outside of sessions to to reflect on your work, practice any skills taught and complete any homework tasks agreed. You will also need to be able to stick with psychotherapy in spite of the emotional challenges it brings. Difficulties in committing to psychotherapy are not uncommon but are likely to impede your progress in therapy and would therefore be addressed in your sessions. If these difficulties continued in to the longer-term, after exploration and collaborative problem-solving this may suggest the timing of psychotherapy is not right. Consider psychotherapy like a University degree: If you wouldn't start a degree right now because of pressures on your time (for instance), is this the best time to start psychotherapy? The more you put in to the course/psychotherapy the more you'll get out. In the case of a degree if you work harder you may achieve a higher grade, e.g. a first class honours (1st) instead of a third class honours (3rd). In the case of psychotherapy this could be the difference between reaching your self-defined recovery, minimising your symptoms or seeing no change at all. You would be unlikely to pass your degree or see any change in your difficulties if you can't commit and put in the hard work. What does Synergy Psychotherapy offer? A free 20-minute telephone consultation to see if we are the right fit for you. Book here. Following the consultation if you'd like to move forward an assessment will be completed which will provide an opportunity to consider the timing of therapy and how any potential obstacles to accessing therapy may be addressed.

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: 06/08/2022. 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.

bottom of page