Talking therapies

Talking therapies

Talking therapies are a way of relieving emotional distress. They can help people to change their attitude and:

• Explore issues with a trained professional
• Gain a better understanding of yourself, and
• Develop coping strategies that can help you lead a more positive lifestyle.

For some people, talking treatments alone can be effective in treating mental health problems. For others, a combination of talking treatments and drug treatment may be more effective. Drug therapy tends to work by treating the symptoms of a mental health problem, whereas talking treatments address the underlying causes of the problem.
Lots of people find that talking to friends and family can really help. Ruth tells us more:

“My GP referred me to a counsellor. I’d already been talking to family and friends, but wanted someone neutral to help me. She helped me work out how I can help myself to feel better and rebuild my confidence. I had 6 sessions and after that I felt confident enough to continue on my own, with the books that she had recommended”


Counselling is a process in which a person works closely with a counsellor on issues that may be causing distress in their lives. Counselling provides an opportunity to talk about problems and feelings, in an environment which is safe and confidential.
Counselling can help with problems like:

• Depression
• Major life events
• Conflicts
• Stress
• Physical illness
• Sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

Counselling helps a person to explore what is going on and to make sense of their confusion so they can reach their own decisions.

Find out more:

Mind leaflet - Making sense of counselling
Counselling Services in Manchester: download this leaflet to find out about free or low cost counselling services available in Manchester.
The Counselling Directory is a website containing details of qualified, approved counsellors for people who have the means to pay for these services.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps you to:
• Reconsider how you think about yourself, the world and other people
• Understand how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

An effective course of CBT can help you to change how you think (through the "cognitive" part) and what you do (through the "behavioural” part). When put into practice these changes can help you to feel better.

An example of a very basic exercise that your therapist may ask you to do (amongst other things) is to keep a ‘thought diary’ which helps you to reflect and replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.

CBT is one of several “talking treatments”, but unlike some of the other methods, it focuses on the problems or difficulties that are affecting you now, rather than focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms from the past. CBT teaches you ways to improve your state of mind now and in the future.

CBT is very practical and you will have to take an active role in your treatment

Find out more:

Royal College of Psychiatrists Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Leaflet
Mind Making Sense of CBT Leaflet

Getting Help:

Books based on CBT principles are available in local libraries.

Beating the Blues a computerised form of CBT (cCBT) is also available in Manchester as a 12 week computer course you can work through with the help of a facilitator. There are also online courses you can access at home on the internet Living Life to the Full or Moodgym.
Supported self help clinics are offered by the NHS in Manchester. Primary Care Mental Health Teams offer one to one support based on CBT principles. In some areas the teams also offer counselling. Appointments are available at your GP surgery or local health centre.

Other Talking Therapies

For more information about talking therapies download the following factsheets:
Mind leaflet- Understanding talking treatments
Royal College of Psychiatrists– Psychotherapy leaflet

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