So, what is psychotherapy and counselling?
Some of the reasons that people some into therapy are depression, anxiety, a traumatic incident, loss, relationship difficulties… Some people describe just not feeling like themselves or becoming aware that they are not happy and not knowing why.
Therapy can help us to make sense of events and experiences, the way we live our lives, our responses to situations and people, and the patterns and behaviours we might find ourselves repeating.
We can be supported in therapy to process painful experiences so that they no longer have the same power over us, to accept and make peace with some situations and /or make decisions about things we no longer want to accept, finding ways to manage change.
Therapy can facilitate personal growth in terms of re-discovering who we are, finding meaning in our lives and learning to tolerate more joy as well as well as pain.
This exploration, discovery, processing, and change is facilitated by a trained and experienced therapist who aims to provides a safe, empathic, confidential, and non-judging space. Having another human being sit alongside and listen, empathise without judgement, safely holding a space for us, can be the catalyst for the emergence of self and realisation of desires and goals…
Sessions usually take place weekly at a set time, agreed by the therapist and client during the first consultation. A decision will be made whether counselling or psychotherapy is the most helpful way forward.
How do psychotherapy and counselling differ?….
One way of differentiating between counselling and psychotherapy, is that counselling can be short term and focused, whereas therapy is longer term and open ended.
Counselling is often beneficial when there is a specific event or issue that requires attention and is not envisaged to extend a set amount of sessions. The exploration therefore may go into less depth and less exploration of one’s history.
Psychotherapy involves a more in-depth exploration of personal history and the contracting process is open to review as sessions proceed over a longer period, and as the therapeutic process and relationship develops.
The approach I trained in was Transactional Analysis. I like to think about Transactional Analysis as a helpful, and mostly straightforward way of thinking about the thoughts, feelings and emotions that drive us, the patterns we find ourselves repeating and the types of things and relationships we find ourselves attracted to. Drivers, Games, Rackets and Parent, Adult, Child ego states are all TA concepts that you might already be familiar with. However, it is now widely accepted that the quality of the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client is the biggest indicator of change/efficacy rather than the techniques or the approach a therapist might choose to use, and for me this has definitely been my experience and what I care about most.
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