What is psychotherapy and counselling? Is there a difference?
Counselling and psychotherapy is colloquially referred to as ‘talk therapy’ or the ‘talking cure’. Psychotherapy is a longer-term, deeper-rooted process of self-exploration and examination. A psychotherapist is trained to look at the unconscious repeating patterns of feelings, thoughts and behaviour, which are presently limiting your potential. They often, if not always, stem from experiences in childhood or adolescence where they are internalised. The psychotherapist and client engage in a unique, collaborative process of exploration of these aspects of the self through open, non-judgemental communication. Counselling is a more short-term, focused version of this very process. I work with the client on a one-to-one basis to facilitate this development. My way of working, therefore, is more insight oriented rather than solution focussed. Ethics and boundaries are integral to the work I do with clients, to facilitate the creation of a safe space for liberated emotional expression.
What does this process involve?
The first aim of counselling and psychotherapy is to recognise and appreciate who you are. These initial few sessions of getting to know you are not about finding something to ‘fix’ but rather, a process through which you can be fully understood and listened to in a compassionate and holistic way. It is to create a safe space to bring all the different facets of your self- the broken, the wounded, the angry, the violated, the soft, the hardened and so on- into a room with a person that will wholly accept all these parts, and you, just as you are. This is the beginning to the process of self-acceptance and kindness.
The second aim is empower you to lead a healthy mental life through profound self-awareness. Seeking help is the first sign of strength and self-reliance. It is a gift to yourself, a form of self-care which will enable you to cope better long-term with the anxieties and problems in your daily life. Metaphorically, when you come to a professional, they will only provide steady, empathic support; you will still be doing the walking. And eventually, perhaps fly.