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What is psychotherapy how does it help support those going through seperation or divorce
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Louise Whitnall Experienced senior MBACP Accredited. UKRCP Reg.
6th February, 20120 Comments
Historical background To begin I thought that it might be useful to look at the history of psychotherapy. The actual word psychotherapy comes from the ancient Greek word ‘Psyche’, meaning breath, spirit or soul. The word ‘therapy’ means to nurse or cure. Sigmund Freud is what you might call the founding father of psychotherapy and was around in the 19th century at the same time as Darwin and Copernicus; you might also say that he was as revolutionary.
The concept of the unconscious was one of his main theories and is still used today, not originally Freud’s concept but it was Freud that gave the term ‘unconscious’ a substantive status. Freud believed that there had to be somewhere where things that were unacceptable to the conscious mind were stored and held. That many of the things we do we rationalise but seldom understand or have control of. Therapist, psychotherapist, counsellor? For the most part, the terms ‘therapist’ ‘psychotherapist’ and ‘counsellor’ are generic terms used interchangeably within the mental health field.
They all use various models sometimes interchangeably but these models should depend for their existence not on the view of the practitioner but on the needs of the patient (or client or case). What does a therapist do? What a psychotherapist does will depend largely on the patient in terms of the presenting problem, and constraints such as time and cost, all of which are discussed in an assessment session which usually lasts for about 1 hour and a half. During this session details are taken such as brief family history, family structure, health related issues, relationship, home and employment details. What is felt to be the difficulty or difficulties are discussed as well as what the client might be doing if any thing to help.
The therapist will also be looking for any signs of risk, neurotic behaviours, and by that I mean being out of step with reality. A course of therapy will then be discussed, and documents will be given to the client to be returned. These documents ask for, amongst other things, a signature giving consent to contact other professionals who will maintain confidentiality such as GP’s, Psychiatrist, or police should the need arise. Sessions thereafter take place at the same time each week and in the same place in order to keep boundaries, feelings of containment and constancy. How do we do what we do? There are many theories out there but how we do what we do happens in just a few ways, either open ended or brief therapy is usually offered. Open ended last for as long as the client feels they require it. Brief therapy is time limited and lasts from 6 to twelve sessions.
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