About counselling and psychotherapy #01

About counselling and psychotherapy

Koyannisquatsi: A Hopi Indian term meaning life out of balance.

The original name for counselling and psychotherapy was the talking cure. Talking is certainly right, but cure doesn't quite capture what these therapies do.

Contacting a counsellor or psychotherapist may feel like a step into the unknown and so may cause some anxiety. I see it as important to provide an environment for you that is secure, confidential and accepting. These are your sessions and I am there to support and facilitate you in working on the issues that you have brought at a pace that feels right for you. There are a number of ways of looking at what therapy does:

  • Balance
    For many people coming to counselling, their life is, so to speak, out of balance. The therapeutic relationship helps to restore this.

  • Integration
    We may find we are, as it were, estranged from parts of ourselves: memories we would rather forget, misplaced guilt, a traumatic incident. Counselling helps by addressing these alienated aspects of ourselves in a safe environment and reintegrating them.

  • Healing
    In essence, healing implies wholeness. It is, therefore, not quite the same as curing. It assumes that there is a centre of wholeness within ourselves which has been obscured by the trials of life. Therapy, here, is about uncovering what has always been there; it's just that we didn't know it.

  • Meaning
    One of the ways this happens is through discovering, or rediscovering, meaning. As we tell our stories, we begin to make sense of what had previously felt chaotic.

  • Problem solving
    Sometimes we have a particular problem that we're not sure how to resolve. Counselling provides an environment where you can talk through these issues and, through careful reflection, come to the solution that feels right for you.

Differences between counselling and psychotherapy

Usually, counselling is thought of as addressing a specific issue over an agreed number of sessions, whereas psychotherapy is taken to imply working at a deep level over a long period of time - months or years.

In practice this distinction is blurred. Many counsellors work in depth with long-term clients and psychotherapists do work on specific problems on a short-term basis. I work in both ways according to the needs of the individual client.

A person is a person because of people. (Zulu saying)

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