Finding affordable counselling
Counselling, or talking therapy, can be extremely beneficial for a wide range of people working in the legal sector who are struggling with depression, anxiety or addiction, as well as helping people to deal with traumatic life events such as bereavement and being bullied.
Counselling can be expensive, so here are some suggestions to help you find affordable counselling services.
LawCare may be able to help with the costs of counselling if your financial circumstances mean that you can't afford to pay for it. Read more about funding for therapy.
Private counselling is readily available, and suitable therapists can be found via websites such as BACP or UKCP or local recommendation. Private therapy is often convenient, quickly arranged, and very beneficial, but sessions can cost between £40 and £100 which can be a barrier for people on lower incomes. There are several options for overcoming this.
Ask the therapist
Your preferred therapist may offer a concessionary rate in cases of hardship. If therapy is expensive in your area (for example, if you live in London) then consider asking a therapist further afield, where costs may be lower, for virtual or telephone sessions.
In the UK counselling is available free on the NHS but there may be a considerable waiting list. You can access this via your GP but can also self-refer. Find out more about NHS talking therapies.
Your Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) or Private medical insurance
If your workplace offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) then you can get free and confidential telephone counselling by using that service. The number to call may be listed on your intranet or in your employee handbook. If your firm includes private medical insurance (such as BUPA) as one of the employee perks then you could check whether this includes access to talking therapies.
The Bar of Northern Ireland have engaged Inspire to provide support for their members, including up to 6 counselling sessions free of charge.
The Solicitors Charity
The Solicitors Charity are currently piloting a scheme which will include free a mental health assessment and potentially ongoing therapy for solicitors in England and Wales only. Find out more information about The Solicitors' Charity.
Wellbeing at the Bar
The Bar Council, Institute of Barristers’ Clerks ('IBC') and the Legal Practice Managers’ Association ('LPMA') provide an Assistance Programme to all self-employed barristers with a practising certificate, as well as members of the IBC and LPMA. You can find more information about this on the Wellbeing at the Bar website.
Counsellors in training
Therapists who are training may offer low-fee clinics so that they can practice what they have learned. They will always be supervised by a qualified therapist. Here is the list of counsellors in training in London and here are some other options from the free psychotherapy network.
There are many charities which offer free therapy in a particular area, such as Cruse for bereavement, or Relate for relationship counselling. In addition consider seeing if Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point, or Mental Health Matters can help you.
Local not-for-profit centres
Local community groups including churches sometimes offer a service which may include free or reduced cost counselling. You may like to make enquiries or do an online search for options in your area.
Real stories of people in the legal community who have experienced stress, depression, anxiety and more.