Bristol, Nottingham, Cambridge and Watford top list for the most people searching for support from counselling

  • New research reveals the locations where the highest percentage of people look for private therapy in the UK
  • Residents of Bristol were found to look for private therapy more in the past twelve months, than any other UK location

Data from Counselling Directory, the site that has connected over 1.5 million people with therapists in their local area, reveals the areas across the UK that have seen the highest percentage of people looking to engage with private therapy, over the past twelve months.

The southwestern city of Bristol topped the list with 11.6% of residents found to have used the Counselling Directory to search for a therapist over the past 12 months, followed by Nottingham, Cambridge and Watford. Oxford, Manchester and Norwich came in towards the bottom of the top 10.  

London saw less engagement with private therapy, with 6.84% of people in the capital looking to find the right counsellor for them.

The 10 cities or towns where people have been searching for private therapy over the past 12 months with Counselling Directory

City and percentage of people looking for private therapy

  1. Bristol - 11.6%

2. Nottingham - 9.7%

3. Cambridge - 9.3%

4. Watford - 9.3%

5. Newcastle upon Tyne - 9.1%

6. Loughborough - 9.0%

7. Exeter - 9.0%

8. Oxford - 8.9%

9. Manchester - 7.6%

10. Norwich - 7.5%

The areas with the lowest percentage of people looking for therapy included Wolverhampton (2.13%), Bradford (1.33%) and the town of Maidstone in Kent (0.5%).

The research was collated by analysing data from Counselling Directory on 50 major UK cities and towns

Therapist and Counselling Directory member Beverley Hills comments on the findings:

“There are certain places across the UK that have traditionally attracted a wonderfully diverse socio demographic due mainly to the transient nature of its location. This in course gives rise to a more tolerant society; it’s less close minded because of its inhabitant’s backgrounds. Bristol’s history as a trading port is one of these places and over the years the settlers there have been of an artistic culturally mixed nature.

“The stigma of therapy, once seen as the preserve of the very mad or the very wealthy, has been around for many years. Today thanks to the raising of mental health awareness, this stigma is slowly falling away and looking at an openly diverse city like Bristol could point to the reason why more and more people are seeking out alternative therapies there; they have the support of their community and do not live in fear of judgement.

“Talking therapy is not there to fix, rather it’s there to help you facilitate your own change; you have the problem and we believe you also have the solution within yourself. My personal opinion is it doesn’t matter when you come to therapy, that you come to therapy is the most important thing. Aged 7 or 107 it’s never too early or too late to heal.”

Counselling Directory helps people find the right private therapists for them, by location, specialism and price range. Many counsellors offer discounted rates for people on low income or who may be unemployed. The Directory also lists charities and information about free support groups.

All of this information, and more, can be found on the free Happiful App too - where, in addition, Happiful, the magazine devoted to better mental health conversations, can be read for absolutely free.


Notes to Editor


Beverley Hills and Lee Valls speak about the rise in anxiety (video to embed)

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The Benefits of Counselling with Disree Shaw (video to embed)

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For more information about the research or results please contact PR Officer Alice Greedus on

Counsellors from the Counselling Directory are available for media requests and comments, as well as team members from the Counselling Directory.

About Counselling Directory:

Counselling Directory has been helping connect people with the help they need since 2005. Listing more than 18,000 professional counsellors and psychotherapists nationwide, everyone has the opportunity to find mental health support. Counselling Directory also provides helpful information on therapy types and common mental health concerns, articles from qualified therapists, as well as public and professional events.

Counselling Directory is part of the Happiful family with sister sites; Happiful Magazine, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Therapy Directory and Nutritionist Resource. We exist to support others, to continually challenge stigma around mental health and mental illness, and to promote wellbeing.