What is Therapy and how can it help?
Therapy, which is often called Counselling or Psychotherapy, offers a safe and confidential space to explore, with a suitably qualified professional, difficult personal issues, those causing emotional pain or any emotional crisis which may have arisen in your life. Therapy provides a non-judgemental listening space where you can feel supported and understood and it is based on the assumption that all of us have within ourselves the capacity to make changes to our own lives for the better.
Therapy is a journey of exploration taken by the therapist and the client together, in order to gain insight and self-awareness and to find a way forward with difficulties in our lives. It is about empowering ourselves to take control over our own lives for the better. Through an alliance with your therapist, one based on trust, respect and compassion, you can gain self-understanding and recognise patterns and connections you may not have seen previously.
This likely will lead you to identify changes you wish to make either on your own if you feel strong enough or perhaps with the support of the therapeutic relationship until you feel more connected to your own internal strength.
Therapy can teach you better mechanisms for coping with difficulty and promotes more healthy behaviours thus providing more satisfying relationships in your life. Among the goals of therapy is the promotion of psychological well-being, both individually and in relationship with others, through self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-compassion.
You should consider Therapy if:
- You frequently feel overwhelmed.
- You feel a prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
- Your problems do not seem to get better despite your efforts and with help from family and friends.
- You are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities: for example, you are unable to concentrate on your work, and your job performance is suffering as a result or you are finding it difficult to get through your normal working day.
- You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
- Your actions are harmful to yourself or to others: for instance, you are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive.
- You are having difficulty coming to terms with a traumatic event or loss.
- You are having relationship problems or are struggling to communicate with someone who is important to you.
- You are struggling with any kind of obsessive or compulsive behaviours.
How do Counselling and Psychotherapy differ, if at all?
Many, including those practicing in each profession, would feel that there is little difference between the two and that the titles are interchangeable.
If there is a difference between them it is that Counselling deals with with more short term or immediate life crises such as bereavement, relationship break-up, stress or work issues. Psychotherapy on the other hand explores issues in greater depth including those that may have their roots in the past such as abuse or trauma and this often requires a commitment to longer term work with a therapist.
Counselling and psychotherapy frequently overlap however and most therapists will work at the level that is comfortable for the client and will be directed by them. They are both ‘talking therapies’ whose aims are to alleviate psychological distress through talking, listening, exploring and together finding a way forward through emotional difficulty.
How does a Psychotherapist differ from a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?
is a mental health professional trained to work with emotional, behavioural, personality and some psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy is a dialogue based approach centred on a collaborative and trusting relationship between the therapist and the client which allows open, non-judgemental exploration of emotions and feelings underlying thoughts and behaviours which are causing psychological distress. Psychotherapy aims to alleviate distress mainly through talking rather than medication although other forms of communication are often used such as writing, art work or drama.
a qualified professional who has studied the cognitive, emotional and social aspects of human behaviour. They provide mental health care in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, school as well as in private practice. Their focus for psychological well-being is on the thoughts, feelings and motivations that underlie a client’s behaviour. Psychologists can conduct research and test, evaluate and treat a range of emotional and psychological difficulties. Many psychologists are also trained in counselling and psychotherapy although they are not required to do so. A Counselling Psychologist will have completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology as well as postgraduate training in counselling or counselling psychology.ard through emotional difficulty.
is a medical doctor who has specialised in the area of mental health. Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders, their diagnosis, management and their prevention. Psychiatry tends to focus on mind biochemistry and often utilises medication to alleviate symptoms and facilitate well-being. Some psychiatrists may have training in counselling and psychotherapy although this is not a requirement.