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Providing Therapy Through TCC

By Hayley

Occasionally I am approached by somebody who hears about my therapeutic training and wants me to provide them with therapy. It's easy enough to make the connection that if you're in emotional distress then any therapist will help, but I cannot accept counselling clients via TCC.

I'm writing this blog post to signpost you to other sources of support, should you need it.

How to Find a Therapist Online

Counsellors and therapists are easy to find if you look online. To find a therapist in your area, Google 'therapist' plus the name of the town or city you're living in (or live nearest to), e.g., 'therapist Michigan'.

Cheap or Free Therapy

Therapy can be expensive and it's the curse of the industry that the people who need therapy the most are the ones least able to afford it. However, I can suggest an insider's trick to help you find a cheaper therapist.

To become qualified, counsellors and therapists have to see clients for a certain number of hours. Some charities know this and invite us to work for them, to counsel their service users for free or for a lower rate than a qualified therapist would charge. You can Google 'low cost' or 'budget' counselling (any term that means 'cheap' should get some results. Don't forget to try 'free') to find where the student counsellors in your area are working. Student therapists are supported more heavily than qualified therapists are, and clients are triaged to us by the charity based on our experience and training. That means that you are protected and seeing somebody whose competency is suited to the issue you declare you are experiencing when you request help.

A second trick is to run a search for counselling training facilities in your area, call them, and ask them where they send their students, e.g., 'counselling training London'.

Quick Help to Tide You Over

Cheap counselling can also mean long waiting lists, so if you're in crisis and need to speak to someone now, here is a range of options:

Addiction (including Drug Addiction and Alcoholism)

Alcoholics Anonymous deal with more than just alcoholism. They are happy to accept people with addictions to all substances, and if you have an addiction that isn't related to a substance (such as gambling or sex addiction) then depending on the chapter they may still be happy to invite you to join their group. If not, they should be well-equipped to signpost you on.

Note that, if you are not religious and find that the spiritual side of Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't suit you, there are secular equivalents. Their distribution is patchier than the well-established AA, but see this page for information and a list of links.

Domestic Violence has this list of organisations that you can contact.

Some of the organisations listed in the above link will actively anticipate and accommodate requests for help from men and people in same-sex couples, however as male victims of DV can struggle to find male-centric support, here are some male-centric resources.

General Support

The Samaritans offer a telephone and email-based service. The service they offer isn't counselling, it's a non-judgemental listening service. However, if that's all you need then you can find them here for the UK, and here for the US. If you live in another country then run a Google search for 'Samaritans' and the name of your country to find their contact details.

Mental Health has this helpful list of organisations around the world and plenty of contact telephone numbers.


See Samaritans, above. Alternatively for other support lines around the world see this page.

Why I Cannot Be Your Therapist

Just in case you are still determined that I should be the one to provide you with therapy: there are several reasons that hold me back from providing therapy to you myself, including ethical reasons that I must abide by:

I'm a trainee

I am an advanced trainee and not yet a qualified therapist - my competency has yet to be formally confirmed by taking and passing an exam. As such I currently have clients triaged to me by a case manager. This is how it should be, and I have no desire to bypass this process until I become qualified.

Time management

I am very busy. Building and tending to The Character Consultancy could take 70 hours of my working week, every week all by itself, but I do other things too. I see clients for counselling on a voluntary basis. I am preparing a psychoeducational group with a colleague and am committed to putting in the time that my half of the operation requires. I have a home and a relationship to tend to. And finally, I am bound by two separate Codes of Ethics to keep myself in good psychological shape so that I can support my counselling clients properly, and that involves taking time away from my various commitments to relax.

Avoiding Dual Relationships

Therapists in my field have a formal responsibility to refer clients on when they have a dual relationship with them. This means that if you and I have a prior relationship then by default, I have other priorities, goals, expectations, requirements, etc in relation to you. The therapeutic relationship is a space where your therapist remains as neutral a person as possible in order for you to have the space you need to grow as a person. If your therapist is also your teacher, parent, friend, provider of a service, etc., then this can muddy the waters, so dual relationships are seen as unethical. I therefore refer on any clients who come to me via TCC as such a client would be both a TCC client and a therapeutic client, and I respond to each differently.

There is a second reason for therapists to turn down requests for therapeutic help by people they already know: confidentiality. It's a small world, and you can never be quite sure who knows whom. If you engage in therapeutic work with a therapist who already knows you, there is a chance she knows other people in your social circle, and this may compromise either your, or the other person's confidentiality.

Therapy requires mutual respect to work

Some people who find me via TCC, who ask me to be their therapist, ignore me when I say "no" and keep on asking in the hope that I will cave in and say "yes". This is not respectful to me. Disrespect like this would result in a poor therapeutic relationship. If you don't respect me enough to accept that my "no" means "no", then how can I develop a relationship with you that will allow me to help you?

As such, when a person disrespects my boundaries about this, I become less likely to provide them with therapy, not more so.

I prefer to keep my therapeutic life and my TCC life separate

This is a personal preference rather than a preference informed by my ethical, moral, and legal responsibilities, but I would like you to respect my preference about this nonetheless.

Finishing Up

I am confident that you will find the help you need from one or another of the above links, or from a therapist in your area.

Please note that I have written this to ensure that you get structured support, should you need it, from an appropriate source that is able to provide you with the time and attention you deserve. Ring-fencing time and energy for clients is an ethical requirement. I have good friends and acquaintances who I have met through TCC, and have no problem being kind and listening to them if they're having a rough day or week. I only need to direct you - or them - towards a therapist or helpline if you require structured support over a sustained length of time.

Please ensure that you look after yourself by seeking support from an appropriate source.


Title image by Malleni-Stock and used with their kind permission.