When can counselling or psychotherapy help?
Most people experience times in their lives when they struggle to find answers or relief from troubling feelings or challenging situations. Sometimes the reasons for our difficulties are obvious ... At other times, it can be hard to know why life feels uncomfortable, difficult or even intolerable or why we have feelings for which there seem no obvious explanation.
Counselling and psychotherapy provide an opportunity for you to talk openly and in confidence about whatever is worrying you to someone who is trained to listen in a way that can help you become more aware of the underlying causes of your difficulties.
What sort of difficulties?
It may be emotional problems that are obvious such as depression or stress at work or it can help with difficulties that are not clear, such as feeling unfulfilled in life or a tendency to repeat unhelpful and unwanted patterns of behaviour.
Some of the difficulties people come to me for help with include:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, depression;
- Deeply-felt loss, bereavement;
- Relationships, difficulties with intimacy;
- Eating disorders, self-harm;suicidal feelings;
- Trauma, abuse;
- Work-place stress; unexplained physical symptoms;
- Parenting issues;
- Lack of confidence and self-worth;
- Sense of self and identity.
How does it work?
In both counselling and psychotherapy you are encouraged to talk as freely as you can and your therapist will listen in a way that is attentive and non-judgmental.
Although you may be asked appropriate questions to help develop understanding of your difficulties, you will not be given advice or solutions. Talking in a safe and confidential environment, to someone who is not there to judge or advise, can help you become aware of the patterns of thinking and feeling that influence your behaviour and the choices you make. This can bring greater understanding of yourself and others, more freedom to discover helpful ways of coping with your difficulties and to make changes that might be of benefit.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Both counselling and psychotherapy aim to help people who are experiencing emotional distress by helping them develop understanding of their difficulties, to make desired changes and to have more freedom to make creative choices over how they live their lives. Both therapies are based on a trusting relationship between the therapist and client and value regular sessions to provide support and continuity.
One of the main differences is that in counselling the focus is more likely to be on current problems that are recent. Sometimes in time-limited counselling, the emphasis may be on one difficulty only. Psychotherapy is useful for longer-term problems, often involving established patterns of behaviour that may stem from the past, or in childhood experiences. Psychotherapy may also be chosen for difficulties that are not clearly defined. Psychotherapy sessions may be more than once weekly to provide the extra time and support required to work on deeper changes and is chosen when a gradual process is considered to be helpful.