What is psychotherapy/counselling?
The term psychotherapy is derived from the Ancient Greek words psyche, meaning “breath; spirit; soul”, and therapeia, meaning “healing; medical treatment”. The OED defines it as “The treatment of disorders of the mind or personality by psychological methods.’
Originally, via Sigmund Freud, the approach involved thrice weekly analysis sessions, with the intention of ‘making the unconscious conscious’, ie unearthing previously hidden reasons for why the client was feeling and behaving in ways that were detrimental to their wellbeing. These days, psychotherapy (synonymous here with counselling) involves something far more relational, ie none of the ‘blank slate’ approach of those early days.
It may well be that the relationship between us
– therapist and client – at times reflects what goes on for you in other parts of your life, and we’ll explore this in our sessions.
Will I have to lie on a couch?
No. This was the original approach taken by Freud and his followers, who believed that the analyst should sit out of view of the client, whose unconscious would thus come to the surface and be made conscious. Problem(s) solved. These days we sit facing each other. We are humans, truly meeting.
What issues can you help with?
Specific issues include addiction, self-harm and eating disorders, anxiety, depression and trauma, health related issues Identity, culture and spirituality, relationships, family and children, stress and work, sex and sexuality. It may also be that you can’t quite define what it is that’s going on for you, but that you simply feel out of kilter, out of sync with the world.
What will a session look like?
For our first meeting, there’ll be data collection, so that we have a sense of what’s going on for you in the present, along with some family history. We’ll discuss what the focus of our work might be. Subsequent sessions may stay with that focus, or it may be that what emerges is something else. Put it like this: clients will sometimes come into a session saying ‘I haven’t got anything to talk about today” There often then follows all manner of unexpected self-discovery.
Will my sessions be confidential?
I abide by the BACP ethical guidelines, and provide a safe space for exploring feelings and experiences that might be regarded as unsayable elsewhere. Unless there’s a clear sense that you’re likely to cause harm to yourself or others, what’s said in the room stays in the room.
Does therapy involve physical touch?
Some forms of therapy do, but this doesn’t. What’s being felt in the body, which is described in some cultures as ‘the unconscious itself’, however, may well be explored as we work together.
Which is better, therapy or medication?
At times, a combination of talking therapy and anti-depressant medication can be highly effective.
How many sessions will I need?
It varies; for some people, a very few sessions – 3 or 4 – might provide sufficient insight, both cognitively and on a felt level. For others, longer term is preferred. Whatever the case, you always have the option to end the therapy. You’re not locked into some long term contract.
How long is a session?
We’ll follow the ’50 minute hour’ approach, starting on the hour and finishing at ten to the next hour.
I will understand your needs and suggest a programme that suits you.