"I don't believe in talking therapy"

Occasionally, I encounter a client who says, "I don't believe in talking therapy." My response to them is, "I don't believe in talking therapy, either; there is much more to what you think talking therapy is about". 


I thought it might be helpful to give an example if you are one of those individuals. 


Meet Emma, a 35-year-old graphic designer who has been experiencing anxiety and depression for the past year. She finds herself overwhelmed by work pressures and personal issues, including a recent breakup and the passing of a close relative. Emma struggles with negative thoughts, insomnia, and a lack of motivation, making it difficult for her to enjoy life or perform well at work.

After a tough week, Emma bravely decides to seek help and schedules an appointment with a licensed psychotherapist. 

Initial assessment

In the first session, I conduct an initial assessment. Emma describes her symptoms, experiences, and feelings; she is free to express herself. She decides to go ahead with me. Over time, we establish a therapeutic relationship.

Setting goals

Together, we identify specific goals for therapy:

  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Improve coping strategies for managing stress.
  • Rebuild self-esteem and confidence.
  • Enhance overall well-being and life satisfaction.

Slowly, I introduce Emma to different techniques, focusing on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. We work on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to Emma's anxiety and depression. In therapy, some time might be needed to uncover the story behind what the client is living through.

Emma keeps a journal to track her negative thoughts. She realises that she often thinks, "I'm not good enough," or "I'll never be happy again." She begins to question the validity and origin of these thoughts. We explore evidence for and against these beliefs and develop more balanced and realistic perspectives.

Through the process of enquiry, Emma is encouraged to engage in activities she once enjoyed but has been avoiding due to her depression. This helps break the cycle of inactivity and withdrawal and results in different behaviour activation. 

Emma is developing healthier coping strategies for managing stress and emotions as her work progresses. These include practising mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises to manage anxiety. Her Problem-Solving Skills improve. We explore practical solutions to Emma's work-related stress, such as better time management and setting boundaries. 

Emma starts reconnecting with friends and family, building a support network to help her through difficult times.

Progress and reflection

Over several months, Emma has attended regular therapy sessions. She gradually noticed a reduction in her anxiety and depressive symptoms. She started to sleep better, feel more motivated, and enjoy her hobbies again. We periodically reviewed her progress towards her goals. Emma recognises the positive changes in her thoughts, behaviours, and overall well-being. 

Relapse prevention: As Emma approaches the end of her therapy, we discuss strategies to maintain her progress and handle potential setbacks.

Conclusion of talking therapy  

This example demonstrates how talking therapy, through a structured and collaborative approach, can effectively help individuals like Emma overcome mental health challenges, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and improve overall quality of Life. 

Emma has taken ACTION, beginning with looking at her mental body and following her emotional body, which has resulted in a change in her behaviour and how she shows up in life. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Brentford, Middlesex, TW8
Written by Agnieszka Jacewicz, Psychotherapist | UKCP Accred
Brentford, Middlesex, TW8

Integrative Transpersonal Psychotherapist based in the UK, London, Brentford and online.

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