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Therapies to help your mental and emotional health

If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, your doctor may suggest that you try a psychological therapy. These are sometimes called ‘talking treatments’, ‘counselling’, or ‘psychotherapy’. They offer an opportunity to explore problems that are affecting your mental or emotional health with a trained professional. They also help you to find ways of dealing with the problems.

Here are two different types of psychological therapy.

Counselling - a type of talking therapy that allows you to talk about your problems and feelings in a confidential environment. A trained counsellor listens to you and can help you deal with your negative thoughts and feelings.

Counselling can take place face-to-face, individually or in a group, over the phone or by email.

Your family doctor may offer you some counselling through the NHS. Alternatively, you can pay privately to see a counsellor. Your family doctor will be able to recommend suitable counsellors to you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a therapy that can help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Unlike other types of psychotherapy, CBT focuses on the problems you are having at this moment in time, rather than issues from your past. It makes you think about how your actions affect how you think and feel at this moment. This can help you to manage your problems in a more positive way.

CBT is usually provided by a trained therapist but psychiatric nurses and social workers may also be able to do this. CBT is also available through online courses.  Your family doctor may be able to arrange for you to do a CBT course through the NHS, or you can pay privately to do one.

Contact Epilepsy Action for more information about CBT courses.


Mindfulness is a way you can change the way you think and feel about your experiences, especially stressful experiences. It involves clearing your mind and paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. Mindfulness training helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings. It can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to affect how the brain works and even its structure. People undertaking mindfulness training have shown increased activity in the area of the brain that regulates our emotions. This can improve our attention, productivity and satisfaction.

Many doctors believe that mindfulness would be helpful for people with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and stress. There is lots of research that supports this belief.

Mindfulness training can take place in classes with other people. There are also online courses available. You can pay for these yourself, or your family doctor may arrange for the NHS to pay for you. Your family doctor can give you more information about mindfulness training.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. See Wellbeing and epilepsy.


Epilepsy Action would like to thank Professor Markus Reuber, Professor of Clinical Neurology at theUniversityofSheffieldand Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for his help in producing this information.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated December 2013
    To be reviewed December 2016

Comments: read the 2 comments or add yours


For 17years I used depo for contraception. Since coming off it I haven't had any seizures. My so-called "partial seizures" have actually have resembled as panic attacks which I can control. I want to know whether stopping my body's natural monthly functions has affected my mental health which has affected my epilepsy.

Submitted by Claire Jones on

Hi Clare
I have just spoken to you on our freephone helpline about your situation.  I hope this discussion covered the queries you raised in this post. If there is anything further we can help you with, please feel free to come back to us.

As we discussed, many people find that taking care of their wellbeing can help them to have as few seizures as possible. This simply means taking some steps to looking after your body and mind. This usually involves having a healthy diet, getting quality sleep, being active, and including mindfulness techniques to manage stress. There is more details about this in the wellbeing section of our website: epilepsy.org.uk/info/wellbeing

Diane Wallace
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on