What is individual 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. We work with the client on a one-to-one basis to facilitate this development. Our way of working, therefore, is more insight oriented rather than solution focussed. Ethics and boundaries are integral to the work we 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.
What is Group Therapy?
'It is not that once started, the group members exclude that world around them.
On the contrary, they begin their dialogue with it.
For once, the world around them stops them moving around.
I want it to stand still, as it were, pin it down,
so that a proper dialogue can be held.'
- (Van der Kleij, 1983)
This setting allows us to experience how we aren't isolated in our distress, offering a safe space to connect with others and our inner world together. It is a beautiful yet challenging way to explore how our we develop and unfold in our relationships with others. It facilitates a space to create authentic communication and a vacuum to explore the entirety of the human experience - free of the noise.
A therapy group can feel like 'an oasis in a desert of alienation' (Behr, 2005), not necessarily because we are lonely, but rather, we have not been able to express our deeply layered selves honestly in our relationships with others. It also allows us to get feedback about how we move others and notice how we feel around people - claiming 'our stuff' and separating theirs.
In collectivist cultures like India, it often mirrors our everyday encounters more realistically than individual therapy. Group therapy also recognises how the problem is not always located within the individual, but also in the systems that surround them. It fosters an environment for nourishing empathy and makes us comfortable with conflict, within oneself and outside.
It is also more cost effective.
Who is this best suited for? What can it help with?
This process is best suited for individuals who are curious about themselves and want to work on their intrapsychic and interpersonal difficulties. It may also challenge the self-absorption that sometimes accompanies the long-term individual therapy setting and creates a space to explore ourselves in relation to others.
Group therapy is just another form of therapeutic intervention, along with a theoretical orientation that locates the problem, not just within the individual, but within the relationship between the person and the systems that surround them.
You can watch a Youtube show based on a group that has been together a long time here.
How do I sign up to be a part of a group?
Presently, there are no open slots for group therapy. This website will be updated when space opens up.