So, what is psychotherapy?
A talking therapy; a one-to-one engagement that is a shared experience for the purpose of allowing you -the client - to understand more fully and clearly you as a person and your situation. And the purpose of this is to support you to know more clearly what troubles you; what properly supports you; and what you might let go of (and how you might let go)
These may include feelings of anxiety, depression, trauma, or perhaps what is perceived as the loss of meaning of one's life. Psychotherapy is a process which seeks to help you gain an increased capacity for choice, through which you become more autonomous and self-determined.
Psychotherapy or Counsellor - is there a difference?
There is often confusion of Psychotherapy and Counselling. My view is that in essence both are seeking to support you, as indeed is any therapeutic approach. However, psychotherapy is viewed as working to a deeper emotional depth. This may be taken as read when you enquiry is with a psychotherapist, yet in my experience there are many counsellors who are very able and do work at a deep level, yet you cannot assume this, so you need to enquire and ask questions.
Psychotherapy and counselling is not a regulated profession in the UK so I would consider it essential to ensure you look for a psychotherapist / counsellor who is registered with a professional body; the two main ones being UKCP and BACP.
Through discussion and research the UK Government has leaned towards describing Psychotherapy as a profession that requires a Master's Degree of qualification and Counselling as requiring an Ordinary Degree of qualification.
That said, I am uncomfortable with a strict criteria of academic achievement in defining an individual's ability as a psychotherapist/counsellor. My view is that academic prowess is singularly poor criteria for therapeutic skills. The academic learning of theory must be matched with clinical 'in the therapy room' skills. These are skills which grow with awareness of experience
NHS UK provide a range of information relating to talking therapies: