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You may feel like the time is right to get therapy for your problem but don't know where to go. Here we explain what a therapist is and how you to seek help.

What is a therapist?

A therapist is a professional who works to help people deal with mental, emotional, behavioural, or relational problems and syndromes. Therapists can have different educational backgrounds and specialisations, and cover a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, and social workers.

The term therapist is not protected, meaning that anyone can call themselves a therapist, but a licensed professional category is a protected title. Being licensed means that there is patient safety in the treatment and it is done according to the methods that research has shown to have good results. There are many problems that can be improved with the help of therapy.

What are the different types of therapists?

Therapists differ in their training, specialisation, and treatment methods:

The choice of therapist may depend on the client’s specific needs and preferences regarding the treatment method and problem area.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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Click here to view all psychologists, therapists, and coaches.

What can a therapist help with?

A therapist can help with a wide range of mental, emotional, behavioural and relationship problems. Here are some examples of what a therapist can help with:

  1. Anxiety and depression: Therapists often work with clients suffering from anxiety, depression and other affective problems, offering strategies to manage symptoms and exploring the underlying causes of these feelings.
  2. Stress management: They may offer techniques and strategies to manage stress and improve the client’s ability to cope with life’s stresses.
  3. Sleep problems: Therapists can help with sleep problems and insomnia, which is the diagnosis for more severe sleep problems.
  4. Relationship problems: Therapy offers a space to work through problems in relationships, whether in couple relationships, family dynamics or problems in relationships with friends or colleagues.
  5. Self-esteem and self-image: Therapists help individuals work on issues related to low self-esteem and negative self-image to promote a more positive self-perception.
  6. Crises and life changes: They can assist people who are struggling with behavioural issues or who are facing major life changes, such as career change, loss, or big decisions.
  7. Trauma and PTSD: Specialised therapists work with clients who have experienced trauma and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  8. Addiction and abuse: Therapists can provide support and treatment for people struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other behavioural problems.
  9. Eating disorders: They can help people with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating to understand and treat the underlying psychological causes of their behaviour.
  10. Personal development: Therapy can also be a tool for personal development, helping individuals to better understand themselves, develop personal strengths and work towards their goals.

Therapists adapt their treatment based on the client’s unique needs and goals, and they may use different therapeutic techniques and methods to help their clients improve their mental and emotional well-being.


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How do I know which therapist to choose?

The choice of therapist depends on the specific needs of the client, the therapeutic orientation of the therapist, and the professional background and skills of the therapist. There is research showing some methods are better than others for specific problem areas, so it is important to find a method that works. It is also important for clients to feel comfortable with their therapist and have a sense of trust, as this is fundamental to a successful therapeutic process.

How does a therapist work?

Therapists use different methods and techniques to help their clients, depending on their specific needs and problems. These can include talk therapy, behavioural therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and many others.

The goal of therapy is often to help the client understand and process their emotions, improve their relationships, develop healthier patterns of behaviour, and increase their overall well-being.



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12 common questions about therapists

What is a therapist?

A therapist is a professional who works to help people deal with mental, emotional, behavioural or relationship problems, and syndromes.

Who is a therapist?

Therapists can have different educational backgrounds and specialisations, and the term can cover a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, and social workers.

Is therapist a protected title?

No, the term therapist is not protected, which means that anyone can call themselves a therapist, but a licensed professional category is a protected title according to the National Board of Health and Welfare.

What does legitimation mean?

Legitimation means that there is patient safety in the treatment and that you need to work according to the methods that, according to research, have shown good results.

What is a psychologist?

Licensed psychologists in the UK must be licensed by the Health & Care Professions Council. They can assess, diagnose and treat mental and behavioural problems with talk therapy.

What is a psychotherapist?

Psychotherapists in the UK are licensed by one of three associations: the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, the British Psychoanalytic Council, or the Association of Child Psychotherapists and have undergone an advanced training course in psychotherapy for doctors, psychologists, and social workers to treat emotional and mental disorders.

What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are trained doctors who can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medication.

What is a healthcare counselor?

They are accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for health and social care. They complete a social work programme with an internship to offer therapy and counselling for social and personal problems.

What is a coach?

Coaches specialise in specific areas such as relationships or careers and provide targeted therapy and support.

What can a therapist help with?

A therapist can help with a wide range of mental, emotional, behavioural and relationship problems.

How do therapists work?

Therapists use different methods and techniques to help their clients. These can include talk therapy, behavioural therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, and others.

Where can I seek help?

If you want to seek therapy, we recommend you contact a licensed psychologist or therapist. Book an initial session with one of Lavendla’s therapists through our website. We make the difficult easier.

Treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy

Treatment approaches can differ between different schools of therapy. Below are the treatment steps associated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a method that can be used for many different problem areas and conditions:

Understanding and assessment

The first step is to understand the problem and that it is okay to seek help for it. A licensed psychologist can help you assess your situation based on your life situation. You can also fill in assessment forms.

Psychoeducation and objectives

You will learn about the problem and how it affects you both physically and mentally. It is important to understand what is happening in your body, thoughts and feelings. It also involves setting goals for treatment.

Tools to change behaviours and patterns

This works on identifying and changing patterns of thinking that are linked to the problem. This will help you develop a more nuanced picture and increase your ability to manage emotions, thoughts and change behaviours. With your therapist, you explore situations and learn how to deal with them. You will also be given homework to practice between sessions.

Follow-up and evaluation of progress

You will have support from your psychologist throughout the process. At the end of the treatment, you will also receive a plan to practice and maintain your progress over time. Feel free to book an online session with one of our licensed psychologists or therapists to see how they can help you.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by dominic

Dominic is a Cape Town-based copywriter and editor with a background in psychology.