There are times in our lives when we are aware that all is not well. Our emotions seem all over the place and we feel out of control. At such times, we can feel bewildered and alone, and can find it hard to share how we feel, especially with those who are closest to us.
It can feel too risky, and we worry that they won't understand, that we'll upset or hurt them, or make them angry.
Therapy is one way of getting the control back, by talking through what is happening with someone who is trained to help you to talk and make sense of things, help you gain some insight and understanding into what you are experiencing and why, and help you to develop new ways of coping and looking at what has been going on.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Therapy can feel strange at first. It is not like going to see a doctor, who will prescribe something to make you better.
It is about helping you understand yourself, experience and make sense of what you are really feeling, and take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. You will be in charge of the ‘agenda’. Often, we can feel worse before we feel better - it is not easy getting in touch with feelings we have worked hard to bury, sometimes for years.
Your therapist understands that, and will take care to help you work through these. It is important to expect that this might happen, and that it does not mean you are getting worse.
WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?
Therapy is very much a shared responsibility – a unique working relationship. Your therapist will be on your side and will not judge you.
Equally, they cannot solve your problems for you, give you advice or tell you what to do. However, they will work with you to help make sense of what is happening to you, and stay with you while you grow and learn new ways of being.
Think of your therapist as a mirror, who will help you to see things more clearly, and then help you to go on to make the kind of changes you want to make, and be the kind of person you want to be.
Just try to be as honest and open as feels comfortable, and be willing to take an equal part in the process.
WHAT MODELS OF THERAPY DO YOU OFFER?
These are some of the main ones:
This affects the process in several ways:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This model helps us to become aware of how out thoughts are contributing to negative patterns of feeling and behaviour. It involves setting goals, homework, and practice.
Brief Solution-Focussed Therapy
This is particularly intensive and demanding, but rewarding as a short term measure in that it involves concentrating on one issue and exploring it proactively.
This involves exploring what is happening moment by moment, and involves emotionally intensive experiential work. It can help in the release of difficult memories and emotions.
HOW DOES THERAPY WORK?
Therapy works through the special relationship which develops between client and therapist, in which painful or problematic experiences, feelings and memories, which on our own we feel unable to face, understand or deal with, are made gradually more manageable. Change takes place at an emotional level, and this is the area in which we work together, building trust over time.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO COME?
Sessions are once a week, on a weekly basis. It is important to attend your session, even - indeed, particularly - when you feel the going is getting hard and you would rather avoid what you are feeling - towards others, your therapist, or yourself.
This is part of the process of therapy. Some clients who are in psychotherapy may be advised to consider, or ask for, twice weekly sessions, or more.
Fees are adjusted accordingly for this.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIALIST AREAS?
Issues around eating
Feeling low or depressed
Lack of confidence
Difficulty relating to others
Bereavement and loss
Adult survivors of sexual/ physical / psychological / emotional abuse
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
COUNSELLING OR PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Generally, counselling is appropriate for problems which have a clear cause (e.g. bereavement), or are of recent origin (e.g. a relationship crisis).
Clients whose problems are not so easily defined - it feels like everything is wrong rather than just one thing - or are of longer duration (e.g. eating disorders), or are rooted in the past (e.g. adult survivors of abuse), would be better served by working at greater depth over a longer period of time in psychotherapy.