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Counselling on screen

A greater understanding of the effectiveness of counselling, and a decrease in the stigma attached to it, have rightly been reflected in an increase in the depictions of counsellors and the process of therapy on television and radio. Over the last few years, counselling has featured in television dramas, sitcoms, documentaries and advertisements.

As the leading organisation in the UK for counselling and psychotherapy, we have a long history of working with writers and production companies. If you work for a production company and are looking to show counselling on screen, we are here to guide you.

Dramatisation of counselling 

In our press release about counselling in drama we explore some of the issues raised by fictional portrayals of counselling, and our work in this area.

Here are some ways we can help you:

  • We can put you in touch with a practising counsellor for an informal chat about the therapeutic process. With 42,000 members working in a variety of environments, including in schools, workplaces, community centres and healthcare settings, we can offer a unique insider viewpoint on your ideas from someone working in the field
  • During the writing stage, we can advise on script development to make sure your depiction of counselling is as realistic and representative as possible
  • If you are showing a particular type of counselling such as relationship counselling, CBT, trauma counselling or group therapy, we can hook you up with a specialist in this area so you can be sure you’re showing it in a realistic way
  • We can help you with character and storyline development, including specific advice about our own procedures, such as what happens when a complaint is made about a counsellor.

Counselling in documentaries

Documentaries and 'reality' programmes, which feature practising counsellors and their clients, present us with the powerful possibility of explaining and radically demystifying the therapeutic process. As such, they have the potential to open up counselling as a source of help to an audience who may never before have considered it. However, any programme maker considering showing participants engaged in a 'real life' therapeutic process should take into account important ethical considerations.

How we can help:

  • Call us during the research stages of your production for an informal chat about the most important ethical concerns relating to showing counselling on screen 
  • If you need to find out more about counselling and how it works, we can put you in touch with a practising counsellor from our 42,000 members who can talk you through it
  • Looking for a more specialist viewpoint? Our network of members spokespeople allows us to access the expertise of hundreds of practitioners working across a range of sectors
  • We can advise you on ways of portraying counselling that maintain the confidentiality between counsellor and client, and give an accurate representation of what counselling involves.

Get in touch

If you are making a programme that features counselling, get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you portray our profession in an accurate, sensitive and engaging way.

Call our press office on 01455 206393, or email media@bacp.co.uk