Therapy needs to be free

I love this from the Guardian's agony aunt :

For all but the most self-deluded, identifying why we feel a certain way is not an insurmountable challenge. What does present difficulties is understanding how those deeply embedded experiences affect our choices, “natural” impulses and decision making.

And for this she says, it is useful to get help. But where and from whom do you get this help?

It took me 25 years to return to therapy – despite indications I needed help – after an encounter in my late teens, fresh from the death of my father. The moment I mentioned my father’s passing and tears started streaming, my therapist rubbed his hands with glee, handed me a bill for £90 and an appointment card for the following week. His undisguised relish and self-congratulatory air at extracting this “breakthrough” forged in me a resolve to not become a case study.

This is why we all need to train as therapists because almost everyone needs help with this process of analysis and understanding. We need to become each other's therapists. It needs to be taken out of the professional realm. Therapy needs to be free and it needs to be democratised.

Many years ago I did co-counselling, which was developed by someone who, as it turned out, needed therapy himself and it became a kind of cult distorted by the abuse of power, like so many things.

The co-counselling method was seriously flawed and quite ridiculous in several ways and I wouldn't even mention it except that what was revolutionary about it was the recognition that therapy is not brain surgery and if you learn some basic principles and you get some experience working with people, you can do some really good and useful work.

Once you've learned these principles, which can be done in a weekend workshop, you work with one or two people who are not your friends on a regular basis in your own home or theirs and no money changes hands.

I imagine something along the lines of a hybrid of this and the Chinese barefoot doctors could be very useful in these difficult times.

What do you think?