Counselling & Psychotherapy

What's it all about? 

There are some differences between Counselling and Psychotherapy which, very broadly speaking, revolve around the length of therapy and the nature of the problem. For instance, a counsellor may be more likely to help you change circumstances in your life right now, and a psychotherapist will be able to take you back, over time into deep-seated emotions or patterns from childhood which may be affecting how you currently feel. 

As I'm both a counsellor and a psychotherapist, it's not necessary for you to identify this in advance.

Every counsellor or psychotherapist is different, just like the people you meet in everyday life; some you will warm to and others you won’t. It's very difficult to work out who will be the best practitioner for you, because often you won’t have much information about them.

When you speak to a counsellor or psychotherapist for the first time, it is important that you feel comfortable with them. It’s important that it feels right for you.  All practitioners will work slightly differently; there are different types of therapy and the personality of the practitioner will affect the way they deliver it. 

Therapy is about being able to talk and express the feelings and thoughts that you have to someone who can really listen to you, understand what you’re saying and help you to better understand your issues and yourself. Putting actual words to these thoughts and feelings and speaking them out loud can really give you a greater sense of understanding and ownership of those things. 

Talking about your thoughts and feelings can be scary. It takes courage, but it is a healthy way to deal with what you are experiencing. It is human nature to need to talk about your stuff, even on a daily basis or when things get tough. You know what it’s like to just tell somebody your stresses and how that helps you to take control of them. It’s the same with therapy; talking about things helps you to take control rather than being controlled. Sometimes it's not possible to talk to your friends or relatives about some things and it can be really important to offload to a trained professional who can be impartial and not try to influence you in any way.

Often people will try to ignore the stuff that’s causing them problems and sometimes people will try everything they can to deal with it by themselves, believing that asking for help is a sign of weakness. This may work, but often it all becomes too much and we reach a crisis point, when something has to change. Self-help books can be useful as well, but they prescribe a method of dealing with something that can be quite general and not specific to your personal needs.

The beauty of counselling is that it is tailored to your needs; you talk about what is important to you. You explore the issues that you know are at the heart of your troubles and you do it with the guidance and support of a professional counsellor. That way you can deal with the problem more effectively and in a way that feels right for you. 

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