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Advice and Counselling Service

External counselling and therapy information

If you are looking for alternative options for therapy outside Queen Mary, including longer-term options and free NHS services, we provide guidance on finding the right alternative for you.

At the Advice and Counselling Service, we offer short-term counselling that most students find very helpful and effective. However, sometimes longer-term therapy may be more appropriate or the preferred approach.  

Worried about someone?

See below for information on counselling organisations in London offering low-cost therapy, free NHS psychological services, and ways to find private therapy. These recommendations are based on our knowledge of which services Queen Mary students have generally found useful in the past. 

If you are considering longer-term therapy, it may still be useful to come and see us for a counselling appointment as we can help you to assess whether this is the right step for you.  

Low-cost therapy organisations 

Download our list of External Therapy Organisations [DOC 3,441KB] who provide longer-term therapy at a reduced cost for students.

The list includes organisations across London, many offering face-to-face as well as online therapy. Check on their websites to confirm what type of therapy they offer, what the fees are and whether their waiting list is open. You may want to enquire with a few different places to find out how long the waiting list is currently.  

NHS services 

Each borough in London has talking therapies and psychological services available for free to their residents.  

For talking therapies services, you can usually self-refer online, with therapies usually offered on a short-term basis. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is typically offered via groups, an online programme or one-to-one. Some other talking therapies can be available too. To find your local service, you can google ‘talking therapies + the name of your borough”. 

For other psychological services offering longer-term support, you will need to contact your GP to discuss whether a referral is appropriate.  

If you live in Tower Hamlets, you can self-refer to their service on the Tower Hamlets Talking Therapies website. They also offer a wide range of wellbeing webinars that you may find useful, covering topics such as Worry Management, Improving Sleep and Staying Well.  

Private therapy

Below is a list of registers you can use to search for a counsellor or therapist privately. Accessing therapy privately will usually cost more than the organisations above, but you can ask whether therapists offer reduced rates for students. There are also a couple of registers at the end which are specifically for low fee/ no fee. But this will depend on availability.  

BABCP’s CBT Therapy Register 

The BABCP is the lead organisation for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the UK. Their register will help you find an accredited therapist practising CBT. Find out more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on the BABCP website. 

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) 

The BACP is a membership organisation that sets standards for therapeutic practice in the UK. You can search their online register for a registered member or accredited counsellor. Before searching, you may find it helpful to find out more about types of therapy on the BACP website. 

Online directories 

There are numerous online directories where private therapists will advertise their services and tell you about how they work. These therapists will work across different models of therapy and counselling.  

Directories include: 

BAATN: Black, African and Asian Therapy Network  

This network details options for low-cost counselling available to Black and Minority Ethnic clients in the UK. 

Free Psychotherapy Network  

A national network of psychotherapists offering free sessions to those on low incomes in the UK. 

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