What is Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Counselling is a process that aims to enable you to acknowledge and explore problematic emotions and situations in a non-judgemental way. In other words, its aim is to help you understand more about yourself and your difficulties and to become more aware of your own resources. In doing so, you may be able to make changes in your life, or come to terms with things that cannot be changed.
Counselling offers a space and time separate from your everyday life. The confidential environment in which it takes place allows an opportunity in which your deepest concerns and hopes can be voiced and heard without judgement. The counselling process can enable you to identify the choices available to you to make changes, to resolve a problem or to work through a painful past experience.
Sometimes, friends and family can be supportive, but more often they are too emotionally involved to be objective in helping you find what is best for you. On the other hand, you may feel that you do not want to burden them. If you feel that your emotions are negatively affecting the things you love and enjoy, like relationships, work or your physical health, then counselling could help you to understand these difficulties and to see things in a more positive light. Counselling is not about changing you into something that you are not; it can be seen to be successful when you feel that you are more the real you. This can include, for instance:
- Reaching towards your full potential,
- Developing more self-confidence and assurance,
- Improving the quality of your relationships, including the one you have with yourself.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
The difference between counselling and psychotherapy is mainly a theoretical one, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. In practice, the term ‘counselling’ tends to be used for a process focussing on the solution of certain problems. Hence, counselling can be brief or time-limited. The term ‘psychotherapy’ tends to be used for a process in which we explore and work through the deeper causes of your problems, which have often become ingrained. Psychotherapy tends to be a more intensive and longer-term process.
For further explanations for different therapies, see BACP's 'Seeking therapist theoretical approaches'.
What is my counselling approach?
My counselling approach is integrative, which means working with clients using the wisdom of different psychotherapeutic schools of thought. I aim at putting these together in a way that is most helpful to the client, rather than adapting and restricting the client’s needs to one model of care. It most certainly is not about “one size fits all”, as different people may need a different approach at different times. Integrative therapists are aware of their own biases, so that their own motivations do not interfere with discovering the client’s essence and subjective meanings.
Different therapeutic approaches have greater or lesser meanings, depending upon the clients and what they are hoping to achieve through their therapy. All approaches and methods that I use have been shown to be helpful in psychotherapy research.