Counselling and Talking Therapies

Medically Reviewed by:Dr Nina Parker& Professor Tom Bourne MB.BS, Ph.D, FRCOG
Last Reviewed:01/06/2021
Next review date:01/06/2024
Written by: The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

Get in touch

If you or someone you know needs support with an ectopic pregnancy, please feel free to contact us.

What is counselling/talking therapy?

Counselling is an umbrella term for a number of talking therapies. Counselling or talking therapy may be one to one or in a group, over the phone, internet or face to face. There are many different types of counselling and talking therapies and different counsellors, therapists or psychologists use different techniques. Therefore, it is important to choose carefully who you see if you are not being referred by a doctor/GP. 

We strongly suggest that you find a counsellor, therapist or psychologist who is registered with a professional body and who has experience of supporting people after pregnancy loss. The main professional bodies in the UK are: The Health and Care Professions Council, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and UK Council for Psychotherapists and you can use their websites to find registered members.

Do I need counselling/talking therapy?

Accessing counselling/talking therapy is an individual decision and, if you think that you would like to talk about what has happened and you find it difficult to talk to friends or family, then you may benefit from talking to a counsellor or therapist. 

Up to one in three women following an ectopic pregnancy will have symptoms of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress that persist over time. In these cases, it would be a good idea to seek help through your doctor/GP, psychologist or experienced counsellor. Please refer to “Mental health following ectopic pregnancy” for symptoms to look out for.

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or feeling suicidal, you should contact your doctor/GP immediately, attend A&E or you can call the Samaritans helpline any time of day or night. 

When is this the right time for counselling/therapy?

There is no right or wrong time for counselling or talking therapy. If you are considering it, it may be a good idea to make an appointment. Commonly, people delay and hope that time will heal. However, you are likely to feel better sooner, if you seek help quickly. 

Seek professional help or see your doctor/GP if:

  • You are concerned that you have developed a mental health problem (see Mental health following ectopic pregnancy); or
  • You remain very distressed about the ectopic pregnancy more than 4 weeks afterwards; or 
  • It is impacting other areas of your life, such as your work or everyday duties, your relationship with your partner, extended family or friends, or your personal well-being,  

If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you should seek help immediately from your doctor/GP, A&E or by calling the Samaritans helpline at any time day or night.

How do I find a counsellor/therapist?

If you are looking for a counsellor/therapist, we suggest that you ask for a referral by your doctor/GP, access through NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies or IAPTS service or use a practitioner who has undertaken recognised training and is registered with a professional body. 

Unfortunately, there is little regulation of talking therapies in the UK and anyone can call themselves a counsellor with very little or no training. Therefore, when choosing a therapist, you should check that they are registered with a professional body.

You can search for a therapist or check that one you have found is registered on the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy website, The Health and Care Professions Council website or The UK Council of Psychotherapy website.

These resources can also help you to look for someone who has professional experience/interest in the area of women’s health or fertility problems or pregnancy loss.

The NHS can provide free psychological therapy and you can refer yourself or ask your doctor/GP. This NHS service is known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPTS). IAPTS can offer talking therapies including counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy for people experiencing conditions such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress. 

To find out more or to refer yourself, visit: NHS talking therapies

The charity MIND also can provide counselling with trained practitioners locally at affordable prices. Counselling charges are means-tested (you pay what you can afford) and so you may receive counselling support for a nominal fee or even for free.

If you are having difficulties relating to your partner after the event, the Relate website has helpful information including how to find a local Relate counsellor that specialises in couple’s therapy.

Get in touch

If you or someone you know needs support with an ectopic pregnancy, please feel free to contact us.

Other pages you might find helpful

Make sense of some of the emotions you may be feeling post an ectopic pregnancy

Read more about the importance of your mental health

Get help