Counselling and Psychotherapy - what's the difference?
Simply, that counselling is a very effective short-term intervention, whilst psychotherapy often has a longer and deeper focus.
The issues that you are encountering, as well as their likely origins, will determine which of the two is most appropriate - this is why I offer a free, no-obligation session for your first appointment, where we can discuss and explore whatever you feel is wrong.
Bear in mind though the two terms are often used interchangeably, and sometimes even overlap each other. Increasingly psychotherapy and counselling are referred to jointly as "talking therapies", which avoids having to draw distinctions between the two interventions.
Psychotherapy sheds light on emotional problems that have developed over time, which can stretch back to your very earliest memories and relationships - by understanding how and why your past is affecting your present, it will also become easier for you to understand and accept yourself.
Counselling, on the other hand, is useful for people who are facing specific difficulties and choices, that are all about present day problems, such as whether to make a career change or not.
How Do Counselling and Psychotherapy Help?
An accredited therapist should be open, non-judgemental and able to see the world through our eyes.
They provide a space that is different to any other. A space where it is safe enough for us to reflect on confusing thoughts and behaviours or painful feelings.
When we feel safe and accepted by someone else we move increasingly towards being able to accept ourselves too - we become less defensive about acknowledging our own self-sabotaging and self limiting choices and behaviour.
This unique environment in Counselling and Psychotherapy helps us find self-compassion and a deeper level of self-awareness, where we are able to become more spontaneous, make healthier decisions and build more fulfilling relationships.
Finding the right therapist or counsellor for you
The relationship you will have with your counsellor or psychotherapist is important, so before you commit to anything, ask questions - of them, and of yourself.
What do you want from the process and what changes would you like to make?
Would you prefer to work with a man, or a woman?
Does their age or background matter? Be brave, be true to yourself, and trust your instincts: the strength of the relationship will play a key role in getting the outcome you want.
Nerves, and sometimes even embarrassment, are normal - therapy is challenging, after all. But your psychotherapist or counsellorshould be someone you can trust, someone who understands you, and someone who - with each session - helps you to learn a little more about yourself.
The "right" counsellor or psychotherapist will put you at ease, and provide a safe space for you to speak honestly. They'll listen to you and they'll respect your opinions. You'll feel secure with them, as you begin to find solutions, and make changes.
If you're looking for a counsellor or psychotherapist in Nottingham any practitioner should be happy and able to answer the following questions:
Types of Therapy
There are many ways of working in counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists can be trained in and work from one approach (or “modality”), or use techniques from different approaches, depending on what they consider will be most beneficial for the client.
Most often you will find therapists offering the following approaches:
This way of working aims at helping you change the way you think and what you do. Rather than looking into the past it focuses on current difficulties and practical solutions.
The way way we behave and feel about a situation is directly linked to the way we think about it. So, if we think about a situation negatively we may alsoexperience negative feelings, which then cause us to behave in an unhelpful way.
In CBT the therapist will help their client to recognise and challenge their negative thinking so that they can deal with their challenges in a more positive way.
The Integrative Therapist focuses on the individual as a whole, helping people to be fully engaged with their feelings (i.e. to become more “integrated”) and taking responsibility for their thoughts and actions. They will draw on a range of theories, depending on a client’s particular difficulties and how they are presenting at that time.
Person-centred Therapy is based on the belief that everyone is born with the desire and capacity for change and growth. In order for this to happen the person needs to have the right relational environment - one where they feel understood and accepted without judgement and where there is transparency about what is being offered. The therapist won’t be seen as the expert and won’t give advice or tell their client what to do, believing that, if they provide the right conditions for the client, then positive change will follow for them.
Remember though that research indicates that a positive outcome in counselling or psychotherapy is linked to a positive relationship with the counsellor or psychotherapist, rather than what approach they may use.
Counselling and psychotherapy has taught me so much about myself. What's more, it's helped me find and live a life that I'd never thought possible.
In therapy I discovered how afraid I'd always been of sharing my "true" self - since childhood I'd hidden my feelings, both from myself and from others. This made meaningful adult relationships almost impossible. I'd always adapted to others, to avoid the risk of rejection but grown into a person who was very often lonely, anxious or depressed.
In the safe space provided by my therapist I slowly learned to value myself - to see the qualities I'd denied, and to challenge the person I thought I was. As I started to accept myself more fully, life became a little less scary. I began to see its possibilities - I began to understand just what I was capable of.
Today, I'm passionate about helping people, in the same way that I've been helped. My work isn't just about using my clinical knowledge (although that's very important) - it's a passion that stems from a deeply personal place, and a path that I've had to walk myself. The lessons, gathered from my own journey, will help me to understand and properly support you.