Our guide to semi medical therapies
Hotcourses Editor

Our guide to semi medical therapies

First published date November 04 2013 Amended date April 22 2015

Therapeutic literally means to help. But while there are probably millions of courses that ultimately help people (everything from plumbing to floristry), semi medical courses are aimed at improving people’s wellbeing using different types of therapy.


Are you interested in learning more about therapy?

Are you the kind of person strangers and loved ones tend to open up to? Is this something you enjoy? Would you like to train in semi medical therapeutic techniques to better learn how to support yourself, your loved ones and maybe even develop a professional practice?

There are many types of semi medical and therapeutic courses on offer. Often, talking to a counsellor is the only time people are able to share certain things about their lives and emotions. It can be very healing both in telling their story and changing their relationship to it.



One favourite analogy for therapy is that during our lives, we pick up baggage (break ups, trauma, pain, loss and all sorts of things) and it can all become a bit unwieldy and even painful or impossible to move forward. By undertaking therapy, people can learn to unpack - with support – their most scary seeming bags then repack them in a way that makes it easier to carry.

There are many different types of semi medical therapies and while the array may seem confusing, research shows that no matter what style people train and qualify in, after a few years, many of the differences fade away.

Ultimately it’s all about your being able to be there for your client to provide a supportive and healing environment where they can open up and understand more about their part in the past as well as freeing up new ways of doing things for the future.

Depending on what you choose, doing a semi medical course will teach you anything from basic counselling skills to how to work therapeutically with clients.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one example of a type of therapy and is often referred to in the media as an increasingly popular method of getting professional support to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Like most forms of counselling, CBT is a talking therapy. By challenging the way we think about certain situations and how this influences our actions, CBT can help with a wide range of emotional and even physical conditions. NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines recommend CBT for many people struggling with depression and anxiety. Adults and children can benefit. NICE guidelines also recommend CBT for conditions including OCD, schizophrenia and psychosis, bipolar disorder, chronic fatigue, sleep issues, anger issues, chronic pain, behavioural and anxiety difficulties for children.

Once we identify unhelpful ways of thinking, we can often change them and, as a result, change behaviour and change lives.


Play therapy

While counselling and CBT need clients (adult or child) to be articulate enough to talk about what’s troubling them, play therapy offers another way in. This can help the therapist, child, parents, carers, teachers and others better understand what’s causing a child’s disruptive or rebellious behaviour, sadness, inability to cope or concentrate.

If you choose to train as a play therapist, you’ll learn how to support children in understanding what may feel overwhelming, upsetting and confusing. Sometimes, there may be trauma involved. Other times, conflict (parents’ divorce and so on).

When we (adults as well as children, although play therapy is more popular for children) learn to play, we often access creativity and potential that was hidden. As you train as a play therapist you’ll learn to create conditions of safety to allow this transformation.

If you go on to work in this field, you’ll benefit from seeing clients improve their self esteem, behaviour, relationships with friends and family (and at school) and anxiety tends to reduce. It can be very rewarding.


Is a semi medical course right for you?

There are so many types, even if you don’t find the perfect fit right away, it’s worth exploring further. Many involve students experiencing therapy for themselves (both to see how therapists work and to work on our own issues so we’re better able to identify what’s ours and what’s clients’ stuff).

If your aim is to become a therapist, research the relevant accrediting bodies in advance to ensure that you’ll be eligible to become a member when you qualify. This will not only help you in terms of being registered on their directories (so clients being able to find you) but you’ll have their support in adhering to high standards of ethics and practice.


Celebrity therapy

Many people have tried semi medical therapies and celebrities are no exception. Here are a few who have been open about how they have benefitted from therapy –

Courtney Cox

Stephen Fry

Demi Lovato

Robert Downy Junior

Lindsay Lohan

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