How Can Psychotherapy and Counselling Help?

“Know Thyself.” Socrates

This idea of knowing yourself in all your complexity, lies at the root of all Philosophy and Psychotherapy. However, the mind needs the ‘other’ to see its Self. So it is through a relationship that we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” Lao Tzu

Psychotherapy and counselling helps you gain a better understanding of yourself.

Most people will have anxieties, fears, intrusive thoughts, overwhelming feelings or unwanted behaviours. Nowadays people are more aware of their shortcomings and will want to do something about them. Generally people go to therapy if they feel that the anxieties are beginning to control them, the therapy then aims for the person to control the anxiety instead. Psychotherapy gives you the tools to control the difficult parts of you.

Seeing a Psychotherapist will significantly help decrease your stress levels. By sharing thoughts, fears and anxieties with an experienced, professional psychotherapist you will gain relief and clarity. You will be able to find a healthier way forward. It can help you build healthier relationships. Through the examination of relationship problems in psychotherapy and counselling, you will gain a better understanding of how your relationships work. In examining repeated patterns in relationships, ie: expectations of others and of yourself, psychotherapy and counselling will help you discover how the difficulties arose and help you move forward into healthier patterns of relating.

Therapy helps build your self esteem and confidence. By sharing your difficult feelings with a psychotherapist/counsellor you will be listened to and understood. From this understanding, your psychotherapist will help you build your self value, encouraging you to see yourself and value yourself in different, and more healthy, ways. And psychotherapy and counselling helps you eliminate self destructive patterns of behaviour and patterns of thinking. By examining the root cause of the destructive patterns, with your psychotherapist or counsellor, you will gain an understanding of why you are behaving destructively and, together with your therapist, find a healthier way forward.

What is Psychotherapy - And How Does it Work?

Psychotherapy is a journey of self exploration that you embark upon with your therapist. Revealing your thoughts and feelings to a stranger is not always easy but the trained psychotherapist provides a confidential, non judgemental and empathic environment where trust can be built and exploration can commence.

Through therapy you will be led to greater self understanding and self awareness; an understanding of the cause of your difficulties and an awareness of why you are feeling the way you are feeling. Looking at past experiences and emotional patterns can be useful as early experiences can determine how you behave and feel as adults. Early relationships with parents or carers often define the relationships we have in later life, both with others as well as with ourselves. Through therapy, we become more conscious of our patterns of behaviour and emotional functioning. This sense of self awareness leads to a greater sense of wellbeing, freedom and personal authority.

During psychotherapy, defences will be confronted and underlying anxieties uncovered that can reveal true and intensely experienced feelings. Making connections between these defences, anxieties and true feelings can develop new ‘self-awareness’, and a capacity to understand difference in others and in the world in which you live, so that you can begin to bear what might have felt unbearable.

What is the difference between Psychotherapy or Counselling?

‘Psychotherapy’ and ‘Counselling’ are terms that are often used interchangeably. Some practitioners may choose to use both terms when referring to themselves. Although they are very similar (both practices share the goal of relieving psychological symptoms and enabling individuals to live more fulfilled lives), there are some subtle differences.

‘Counselling’ is generally used to denote a briefer process than psychotherapy and is mostly focused upon behaviour patterns and often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation.
‘Psychotherapy’ is generally a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining insight into the underlying causes of emotional problems. Its focus is on the patient’s thought processes and ways of being in the world rather than specific problems.

Generally speaking, psychotherapy requires more skill from the practitioner than counselling. Psychotherapy training requires a longer, more rigorous academic and clinical focus than counselling training. Whilst a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy.