How do you rate NHS or Private for your mental health?

It’s controversial at times, hearing and discussing the experiences of patients or clients who’ve accessed psychological therapy services here in the UK. So what is being said?

If you have a view around any differences in the provision of mental health care and a talking therapy such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behaviour therapy, please read on…

GPs, Assessments and Prescriptions

Perhaps if you have been assessed by your GP it will it be a trip to the pharmacy with your new prescription for anxiety and depression reduction, or something to break the cycle of sleep deprivation? If so, are you informed about what the medication is, how it works, for how long – and any potential side-effects?

Have you felt content the GP will refer your needs to the appropriate setting? Assuming you ARE referred!

“What’s brought you here today”?

How appropriate was the assessment that led the physician to determine what type of psychological therapy might be helpful? Or was it “CBT is what you need.“?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behaviour therapy can be very useful for those appropriate. I offer CBT to  clients only when it is agreed they are likely to derive benefit; when they are open to what is required for CBT to be effective. If the client’s needs and communications are separate to the model of CBT, with the best will in the world it is likely to be ineffective. In this case, I can be flexible to the individuals needs and explore together that which is better suited. Is this dynamic capability found in the initial or subsequent stages of NHS engagement?

The Waiting list

Nothing worse, in my opinion, being placed on a waiting list for a therapy that may or may not be helpful.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

How long might you need to wait? In rural area’s, such as where most of my clients are located, access to  the program introduced by the government Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is scant. Hardly great value for the initial £250m invested we might argue.

Here is a recent link from leading medical journal “Pulse Today” which talks of the current challenges.

“Talking therapies a victim of their own success, says DH”


Choices For My Care

Is this the point you consider going ‘Private’, of your own choice and engage fee for a service provision?

  • NHS vs Private – Both have merits, both have detractors and both have their share of providers who struggle, or choose to avoid offering ‘heart centred ‘ therapy and guidance.
  • Heart centred – When a therapist is able to take the time to build a relationship of trust based on unconditional positive regard for the client – therapist’s both in private practice and the NHS can agree and determine a course of assistance that is both unique and empowering to both.
  • Empathy – Reaching a position of ‘seeing‘ through the eyes of the person suffering emotional turbulence allows for real empathy and a non-judgemental stance. Have you had experience of both NHS and Private provision for a talking therapy, such as counselling, psychotherapy or CBT?


Client quotes – NHS


Having waited, the style of therapy offered wasn’t for me.




The counsellor didn’t engage, or didn’t seem to ‘get me’.


Two very common comments attributable to both NHS and private providers. I have worked extensively in both Private and NHS sectors. There is amazing work being done in both. But, also in both there are service offerings that may fail to reach a level that is of satisfaction for the individual and which leaves a lasting legacy for the client – or patient.

What are your experiences?

I really would find it useful to read your views, positive and negative, if you have experienced access to both Private and NHS funded mental health services. This can be shared in confidence, or publicly, as you determine. Below is a resource provided for you to download for free, from the Mental Health Foundation around preparing to talk with your GP about your mental health.

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).


  1. Judy Abramson

    Hello there

    I am considering doing a dissertation on job satisfaction for counsellors within in the N.H.S. and private practice and came across your page. Would you be willing to share and feedback you received with me to help me with my work?

    Yours in anticipation

    Judy Abramson

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