About talking therapiesTo provide you with a context for my counselling approach (see separate section), and to help you understand the different types of counselling and psychotherapy, this section briefly outlines
- The range of talking therapies
- Views about the effectiveness of talking therapy
- Counselling or psychotherapy
Psychotherapeutic therapy is practiced in many different ways and by different types of professionals, such as counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, CBT therapists, hypnotherapists, coaches etc. It can also take the form of expressive therapies such as dance, art or drama, or body oriented work – body psychotherapy. It takes place individually, as couples, with families and in groups.
My work focuses on ‘talking therapy’ with individual adults and adolescents (16+), which involves a conversation between client, and therapist, where you get the opportunity to talk about yourself, as the focus of attention for both yourself and your therapist. This is not about giving you advice, or for the therapist to ‘cure’ you, although often the work can be healing. Rather therapy is about exploring aspects of yourself with another person, promoting greater self awareness and potential transformation.
Being listened to attentively and with respect can have a profound impact on us; at the very least it is often useful to talk to someone who is not part of your own family or friendship groupings. Drawing on your own self knowledge, helping you find out what is on the edge of awareness, and identify keys to your way of relating to others, and the attitudes you hold towards yourself, gives you experience of difference, and generates more choice for how you live.
Are the ‘Talking Therapies’ effective?
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.The effectiveness of ‘talking therapy’ is the subject of extensive debate and research. The indicators are that often ‘talking therapy’ is effective for a high percentage of people, and at least as effective as medication, sometimes with the two combined. However, there is no simple answer, because each person’s experience of therapy is so subjective and influenced by many different factors, such as individual client characteristics, the therapist, the approach and interventions they use, the context of the work, the context of the client’s life.
- Carl Rogers
What research does show is that there are some baseline ingredients that impact on the effectiveness of therapy
- The quality of the relationship between client and therapist, especially trust, rapport and collaboration
- The motivation and hope for change held by both client and therapist. Coming to therapy usually takes considerable effort and motivation, and is a major contributor to the effectiveness of the therapy
Therapeutic orientationsWith very many variants of 'talking therapy', with three major over-arching traditions: Psychodynamic; Humanistic; Cognitive Behavioural.
Psychodynamic approaches emphasizes the formative impact of early experiences and their on-going impact on our patterns of relating. Humanistic approaches work with the ‘here and now’ and the ways in which we have come to impede our full potential.
Cognitive Behavioural approaches focus on the links between our thought patterns, our core beliefs and our behaviours. Body Psychotherapy is another distinct tradition, which incorporates mind/body/emotions, and sees human beings as body-mind, rather than as bodies with minds or minds with bodies.
Many therapists (myself included) work 'Integratively' developing their own approach which draws on a combination of therapeutic approaches, often embedded in a 'parent' approach.
Counselling or Psychotherapy?People are often confused about whether counselling and psychotherapy are different or not. Traditionally Counselling has been viewed as short term, problem orientated work and Psychotherapy as a longer term exploration of deeper, underlying issues and relationship patterns. I use the terms inter-changeably, and instead see a difference between short-term, focussed work – typically 6 – 10 sessions, or longer term work, allowing for the exploration and unfolding of deeper patterns and meaning.
I provide counselling and psychotherapy for a wide range of presenting issues and am based in North Somerset, on the city boundary with Bristol; my practice is in Long Ashton, North Somerset, within easy reach of many parts of central and south Bristol: Southville, Clifton, Ashton Gate, Hotwells, Totterdown, Knowle, and Windmill Hill; and the North Somerset towns & villages of Backwell, Nailsea, Failand, Wraxall, Flax Bourton, Pill, Abbott’s Leigh.