The Basics of Counselling & Psychotherapy
Counselling & Psychotherapy
For some people, the world of counselling and psychotherapy is somewhat of a mystery. I am often asked; ‘What exactly is it that you do? What kind of people do you see? What is this world all about?
The essence of what it’s all about is this: In a therapy room consisting of client and therapist, there exists the confidential space to be seen and validated. Within this non-judgemental, safe, and consistent space, self-awareness and self-empowerment can occur. Once this happens, change can happen. Change for the better – better self-esteem, better choices, better relationships. There are many different types of counselling and as many types of psychotherapy, (counselling usually involves less intensive therapy to deal with less intensive problems whereas psychotherapy is typically a longer-term commitment) but I believe (and would hope) that at the core of all, rests this gift of reflection.
This mirror-like quality shows up everything. Not just the bad and the ugly, but the good too. Therapy can reveal inner qualities or skills that were forgotten or missed along the way. It can be as much about seeing the positive as it is about addressing the negative.
What else is counselling about, or not? There are many misconceptions. On the radio the other day, a student said she was studying psychology and was thinking of becoming a Psychotherapist. The DJ asked, ‘So, you can read my mind then?’ Well, no, not unless the Practitioner is also psychic. Therapy is actually about helping you to read your mind, so that you can be clear about your thoughts and feelings and then clear any negative thought patterns that could be blocking your way forward.
Counselling and psychotherapy is helpful for all kinds of people. Some clients have serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia or clinical depression. Others suffer from minor anxieties like fear of spiders or plane travel. Others simply do not know what is bothering them and attend counselling to find out. There is such a range of reasons and thus there is a wide range of therapies on offer; from art therapy to cognitive behavioural therapy to more transpersonal, spiritual types. Whatever the case, this world exists to console, help, and ultimately empower people to live freer, more peaceful lives.
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