Why Counselling / Therapy?
How can counselling or psychotherapy help me?
Usually individuals choose to have therapy because they are experiencing difficulties and distress in their lives. Sometimes people can be isolated but at other times, even where an individual has the most supportive family and friends, they can find it difficult if not impossible to explain why for example, they may be feeling anxious or depressed.
Or it may be easier to talk about personal, family, or relationship issues with a person who is independent of friends and family.
Other life issues and events which can be very difficult to deal with include bereavement, divorce, redundancy, health issues, bullying and so on. However, you do not have to be in crisis, or on the verge of one, before choosing to have therapy. You may be experiencing underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with life in general, or be seeking balance in your life and spirituality. All of these reasons and more will bring individuals to therapy.
The difference between Counselling and Therapy
A simplistic, but helpful way to differentiate between counselling and therapy can be considered as follows:
Counselling is the process of looking into the past and making sense of what happened. In some ways it could be considered as a “passive” process of coming to terms with your history. This form of psychological help is very effective with coming to terms with issues such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, childhood sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and much more…
While CBT therapy will also go back to the past to make sense of the here and now, it is much more about addressing the issues in the present and developing strategies to manage them. It can be considered as a much more “active” process that requires the client’s motivation and willingness to work.
A lot of the time a mixture of both counselling and CBT therapy is the best treatment for clients. My experience gives me the ability to implement what is the most effective balance for my client at that moment.
How does therapy work?
Therapy is time set aside by you and myself as the therapist to look at what has brought you to therapy. This might include talking about life events, (past and present), feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. I will help you to look at your issues, and to identify the right course of action for you, either to help you resolve your difficulties or help you find ways of coping.
Types of therapy
A therapy session is a time set aside on an agreed date at an agreed place, that provides a ‘safe’ space, which is private, undisturbed, and cannot be overheard or interrupted. As the counsellor, I will reach an agreement with you about confidentiality. Therapy is available for individuals, couples, and groups, and there are different ways of working with people, usually referred to as ‘approaches’, ‘techniques’ or ‘modalities’.
Carla’s modalities of therapy include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Therapeutic models in brief
Therapy may involve specific techniques or approaches which you might read about in your GP surgery and/ or on the internet. This means therapists have had different training and have different ways of working with clients, for example CBT, brief therapy, drama therapy, person centred therapy, psychodynamic therapy, trauma therapy.
In addition, some therapists may have specific approaches for working with people with eating disorders, addictions, issues of sexuality, etc. It can be helpful to have a general understanding of the approaches offered by your therapist, to enable you to think about what approach would possibly work well for you.
What therapy is not
Therapy is not advice giving or persuasion orientated to the therapist's point of view. However, therapists may offer information and some therapeutic approaches may ask you to do homework as part of your therapy.
Nor is therapy just a friendly chat discussing the week's events as you would with a friend. Talking with a therapist is not the same as talking with a friend, a parent or sibling, who would probably have a biased opinion about the issues discussed. The therapist is a neutral, impartial professional, who is able to listen to you non-judgementally and to work effectively with your emotions and not get emotional themselves.
The therapist helps you to develop an understanding of yourself and others and to find your own solutions, making no demands upon you except for the terms agreed in your therapeutic contract.
Therapy sessions are normally regular and not held at random, for example, two sessions this week, one next week and then ‘see how we go'. Some therapy models allow some flexibility in the spacing of sessions. Sessions should not be held in cafes, bars, hotel reception areas, works canteens, or any place where client and therapist can easily be overheard and with the possibility of being recognised and interrupted by family, friends or colleagues.