Our Team

Amy Rattigan

Qualified Counsellor and Registered member of the BACP
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Linda O'Hern

Qualified Psychotherapist (MSc, UKCP Registered), Certified Transactional Analyst, Couples Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor, Mediator and Trainer
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Maggie Murray

Qualified Counsellor and Registered Member of the BACP
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Martin Parker​​​​​​​

Qualified Counsellor and Registered Member of the BACP
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Yvette Pringle

Qualified Counsellor and Registered Member of the BACP
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Tricia Seaton

BBO Programme Manager

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What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

The terms Counselling and Psychotherapy are often used interchangeably. Though they have similar meanings with considerable overlap, there are some important distinctions between the two that are helpful to keep in mind when looking for a mental health care provider.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is sometimes known as “talking therapy” it is a conversation or series of conversations between a counsellor and client. Counselling usually focuses on a specific problem and taking the steps to address or resolve it. Problems are discussed in the present-tense, without too much attention on the role of past experiences.

Though the titles “Counsellor” and “advisor” are often used like synonyms, counsellors rarely offer advice. Instead, counsellors guide clients to discover their own answers and support them through the actions they choose to take. In the UK Counsellors can be Senior Accredited, Accredited or Registered Members of various Professional Bodies the largest of which is the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) they can be qualified at Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Counselling Certificate/Diploma, Masters or PhD by satisfying a number of educational, experience, and testing requirements over a period of years.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, like counselling, is based on a healing relationship between a healthcare professional and client. Psychotherapy, or therapy for short, also takes place over a series of meetings, though often it has a longer duration than counselling. Some people participate in therapy over several years; constantly or by dipping in out according to their needs. Therapy can be carried out individually or in groups.

Instead of narrowing in on individual problems, psychotherapy considers overall patterns, chronic issues, and recurrent feelings. This requires an openness to exploring the past and its impact on the present. The aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the underlying issues which fuel ongoing issues. Psychotherapists help to resolve past experiences as part of laying the foundation for a satisfying future.

Many psychotherapists are open to and interested in wisdom from a variety of sources, my particular interest lies with the inner child, adult and parent ego states as discussed by Eric Berne and bringing unconscious processes and learned behaviours into the conscious mind. Other therapists may be interested in working with bodily reactions or cognitions whatever their interest therapists need to be comfortable working with strong feelings, traumatic memories and addressing therapeutic developmental needs in the relationship.
In the UK Psychotherapists are usually registered through a professional body the largest one is United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP). Psychotherapists are usually educated to a minimum of Masters level, have completed a minimum of 160 hours of personal therapy, at least 750 hours of supervised practice hours and a minimum of 750 hours of training.

How do I Choose Between Counselling & Psychotherapy?

In the UK, Counselling and Psychotherapy are unregulated professions which means you need to be aware of who you choose to work with; you need to check they are qualified, a member of a professional body, insured and have a current Disclosure and Barring Certificate. Unfortunately, because there is no regulatory body there are unscrupulous practitioners out there.

Providing you are aware, choosing a Counsellor or Psychotherapist should be a straightforward task. Usually the most important aspect is finding someone who is a good fit for you that is trustworthy and easy to talk with. Research shows that the connection between Counsellor or therapist and client is the most important factor in successful outcomes. However, you can narrow your search for a Counsellor or Psychotherapist by considering the following things:

Do you have a single concern that you would like to get some feedback on? Consider counselling.
Have you noticed a pattern of problems or concerns that seems to keep coming up? Consider psychotherapy.
Are you typically satisfied with your life and relationships, and just looking for a sounding board? Consider counselling.
Is it time to address previous trauma or family patterns that are keeping you from feeling good in your own skin? Consider psychotherapy.



Therapy is time set aside by you and the therapist to look at what has brought you here.

This might include talking about life events, (past and present), emotions, relationships, environment, social settings, thought processes and patterns of behaviour.

The therapist will do their best to facilitate you to look at your issues and to identify the right course of action for you, either to help you resolve your difficulties or help you find ways of coping. Talking about these things may take time, and will not necessarily all be included in one session. BACP (2014)

Your relationship with your therapist is unique, she or he is there to listen and facilitate you in a way which is different from that of friends, neighbours or family members. Whatever you tell your therapist is confidential.

In line with UKCP and BACP Ethical Frameworks for Good Practice, all Psychotherapists and Counsellors receive regular clinical supervision to help keep the work safe; your identity remains protected at all times.

Initial Meeting:
We nearly always begin with a private and individual information session which lasts for about an hour. The Mediator can then help you choose what you'd like to do next.

Mediation Sessions:
You may agree to meet with the other party and the Mediator. If you decide to go ahead with a joint meeting, the Mediator will ensure that things are discussed in a safe, productive and fair way.
Intake sessions generally last 1 hour per individual party. Joint group sessions generally last 2 hours. If the Mediator is working with a family, it is likely more than one intake and joint group meeting will be required.

What is expected of me?
You should be prepared to discuss your wishes, ideas and needs for the future at the mediation sessions and be ready to listen as well as talk.

Helping things to work:
If all goes well and a joint agreement is reached, we will help you to get it to work once you leave mediation. We also offer back up sessions in case they are needed at a later stage.

Questions Answered:

Do I have to come to Mediation?
Mediation is voluntary, but we recommend it as a non-confrontational way of resolving matters.

What if I am unable to speak to the other party in the dispute?
That is why the Mediator is there. They will ensure that you have space to be heard fairly, and that all sessions feel safe and productive.

Will the Mediator visit me at home?
We always meet with clients in a neutral venue, either at our office or in a place close to where you live.

Is it confidential?
Yes, mediation is entirely confidential.

What will be discussed?
The Mediator will listen to what you want to discuss and deal with the problems that matter to you.

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Tel: 01522 535555
Email: atconcepts@outlook.com
Address: The Detached Conversion
Ample House
South Park