Ways in which therapists work with clients
Below is a snapshot of how a therapist may work with a client with regards to different mental health issues, drawing on my own experience as a therapist.
An area where I have seen a lot of success with my approaches is intrusive thoughts. This is largely to do with an acceptance of what we think and how to deal with our emotions around this; also we need to look back in a client's past to explore where these thoughts and feelings have come from.
Recognising painful emotions often gains successful results; how these manifest themselves, where they have come from and how to identify another mental place where we can be an observer of emotions rather than an absorber of them.
Sometimes clients feel they are their emotions and it is important to recognize that we don't need to be swamped and 'be' our emotions. We can find another level of mental awareness which will bring us back into control of our emotions and consequently be able to function and live as well as dealing with difficult feelings.
It is not an easy journey, nor is coping with what are powerful emotions which have become entrenched unconscious pathways through many years of our lives and are continually triggered by everyday experiences. It can be transformative to realise through therapy what unconscious pathways have been laid down and which we are routinely treading without consciously realising where we are going.
With both depression and anxiety, these approaches have proved very successful in bringing into awareness for the client how the client is feeling, but not having to be defined and driven by these feelings. A good approach to use is to open the client’s mind to what is happening unconsciously and this can increase their autonomy and realise they have choices about how they want to live their lives.
Enormous progress can be made by working with couples together but also looking at how their individual pasts have shaped their mental processes. Exploring how these entrenched unconscious patterns are colliding - sometimes successfully and sometimes causing conflict - can be very illuminating and transformative, either as a couple or even as growth in the individuals concerned.
Working with children
Working with children has also been very fascinating. Using cognitive behavioural therapy has been particularly beneficial with this age group, where often, concentrated talking psychotherapy is age-inappropriate and uncomfortable for children. The cognitive behavioural therapy approach can be adapted to suit individual children and rather than working in a prescriptive fashion it can be done in a creative evolving methodology.
Working behaviourally through games and objects has proved very successful in helping children to naturally absorb intellectually complex ideas and understand their own way of thinking and feeling in a very organic fashion.
I have found that looking back at a client’s life in psychotherapy is particularly important to find the patterns which have been unconsciously laid down for them and by them. It also enables them to gain a real insight into unconscious forces which are affecting their day to day choices and decisions. This understanding can then be very successful in helping with addiction.
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