It is a common misconception to think that only seriously ill people need counselling help. Studies show that over eighty percent of people can benefit from counselling at some time in their lives. Therefore, it is normal to need counselling when special concerns or difficult feelings arise.
Most people have a problem at some stage in their lives with anxiety, depression, stress, relationships, negative automatic though processes, etc. Therapy can be the most life changing experience and begins with just a single step. If you are considering it, this is an indication that you probably could benefit from the experience.
What happens in Counselling?
Generally, you will meet for therapy regularly for about an hour usually at the same time once each week. The goal of counselling is to learn about our habits and patterns of feeling and behavior and how they cause us problems. We can then learn new habits and patterns which will be more successful for us.
Counselling provides a special setting in which we can learn about ourselves enabling us to be more effective in our relationships with others and with ourselves.
Is Counselling or Psychotherapy right for me?
People attend therapy for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing issues such as anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes, work related stress, relationship breakup, job loss or work transition etc.
Many seek the support of therapy as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Counselling and psychotherapy is beneficial for anyone interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness and working towards change in their lives using models of therapy such as CBT, reflective practice and self awareness.
Do I really need Counselling? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, you may benefit from extra support at this time.
By engaging in counselling or psychotherapy you are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation.
How can Counselling or Psychotherapy help me?
Therapy provides you with a safe, confidential and supportive place to explore the difficulties you are facing in your life. It can provide long lasting benefits, giving you the self-knowledge and tools you need to avoid triggers, to change patterns that aren’t helpful for you and to support you in whatever challenges you face.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot always be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behaviour patterns that are not helping us.
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy can be the right course of action. This involves working collaboratively with your medical Doctor.
What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Counsellor?
There are many different terms to describe professionals working in the mental health industry – each helping in different ways. Understanding the key differences between these professionals and how they can offer support should help you decide which one is right for you if/when you decide to seek help.
Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders, covering diagnosis, management and prevention. A psychiatrist must undergo full medical training as a doctor before choosing to specialize in psychiatry. Once a psychiatrist has become fully trained, they can go on to specialize further in general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry, and psychiatry of learning disabilities, psychotherapy or child and adolescent psychiatry.
Unlike many other mental health professionals, psychiatrists can assist in medical treatment and testing as they have the appropriate training.
Psychology is the study of the human mind and the way we think, act and behave. As well as looking at the way our minds work in day-to-day life, psychologists are also interested in mental health conditions. The title of psychologist can be given to someone who has completed a degree in psychology.
Psychotherapy is a term used to describe a range of talking therapies and covering the approaches and methods used within each type. It is this broad usage which has led some professionals to use the titles psychotherapist and counsellor interchangeably. When we talk about a psychotherapist, we are talking about a professional who works with clients to help them overcome a range of emotional, social and mental health issues through talk therapies.
A counsellor will use psychotherapy to help clients develop understanding and insight into their behaviours/feelings, with the aim of overcoming difficulties. In some cases the simple act of talking through difficulties with a counsellor can help the client, in other cases a more tailored therapy approach is required. This will depend on the nature of the concern and will be assessed by the counsellor.
What are the different therapies used?
Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories:
Behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours
Psychoanalytical and Psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood
Humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the ‘here and now’
This is a broad generalization and counselling and psychotherapy usually overlap some of these techniques.