Counsellor Bridges Gap for Clients Waiting Months for NHS Therapy

WITHIN days of returning to full-time counselling, Paul Bridge was shocked when clients said they had been told to expect a wait of up to eight months for NHS therapy. Paul, 52, has been a counsellor for 18 years and in August opened his own firm Therapeutic Counselling Services in Winter House, Bacup.

He said: “I had one client come to see me who had been told the waiting list to see an NHS therapist was six months, another was told seven months while another went to see the doctor in January and only got an appointment in August. These are just a few of the people with high anxiety and depression who have sought me out, but how many more are also out there struggling to cope with problems on their own waiting for help? This is a huge problem especially as suicide rates are so high.”

Male suicide, often called the silent killer, is the single biggest cause of death in the UK for men under the age of 45 – a total of 84 suicides every week. September 10 was Suicide Awareness Day. Every two hours someone dies after committing suicide in the UK. With his business partner, Paul developed a profiling tool which is used by different agencies to assess clients’ needs. However because many authorities used European funding to purchase it, the Brexit decision resulted in a downturn in sales.

Paul, from Bacup, said: “I have four children to support and a Masters degree in counselling, so I decided to set up my own business close to home. I am so glad that I did because I really enjoy what I do and get a lot out of it. I am an integrative therapist and my Masters degree at Manchester University was all about using different forms of therapy. I am experienced in many different kinds of therapy and create a bespoke treatment for every individual client, because one size doesn’t fit all.”

As well as offering private counselling sessions, Paul is also looking to work in local businesses on employee assisted programmes and has offered his services to local GPs as an associate counsellor. Paul also has experience of helping drug users, probationers and offenders, and would be interested in working in schools.

To contact Paul email or call 07720841002.

Paul was also delighted that his business was recently nominated for a 2018 Rossendale Business Award.

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

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