WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?
You might consider psychotherapy, as opposed to counselling, for a long-standing issue that you feel has been affecting you. It might be a recent issue that is causing you inner distress or something you feel could be rooted in your childhood experiences.
Perhaps, growing up, you didn’t feel you received as much attention or affection as you would have liked? Perhaps your experiences might be described as emotionally damaging or even traumatic? This could mean an isolated event or maybe traumatic experiences that took place over many years?
Psychotherapy can help you explore whatever these factors might be - including some you might never have realised before - and develop ways of being that feel easier, happier and more sustainable.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Depending on the therapies that are employed, the therapist and most importantly, the needs and wishes of you, the client, counselling and psychotherapy are often interchangeable and can seem remarkably similar.
Broadly, counselling tends to be for less long-standing and more episodic kinds of life experiences such as divorce, bereavement, health issues and milder forms of psychological difficulties such as anxiety or stress.
HOW DOES PSYCHOTHERAPY WORK?
The relationship that is built between the client and the therapist is key: the therapeutic bond. This bond, if strong and flexible, enables client and therapist to gain the trust and therapeutic space required to conduct successful therapy.
Normally, therapy will take place weekly for 50 minutes.
There may be some homework or reading in between the sessions and practical exercises or experiments designed to help the therapy progress. The client and therapist will regularly re-evaluate the issues that are most relevant to the therapy and how they might be worked with effectively. This is known as a formulation.
A formulation might look like this:
Presenting problem: I recently suffered a health issue that has caused me to lose confidence at work.
Predisposing factors: I was regularly bullied at school for being overweight.
Precipitating factors: Soon after my illness, I was asked to perform a task at work for which I felt unprepared. My health issue also felt extremely troubling that day. I experienced a panic attack. It was very embarrassing and I had to leave the meeting room because I felt so unwell.
Perpetuating factors: I have to perform this task every week and I spend a lot of time worrying about doing it and whether I will have another panic attack.
Protective factors: Deep down, I know I am good at my job and that my health issue is manageable. What I would like to work on for the longer-term is how I feel about myself (self-esteem) in the context of my past (bullying) and my more recent life experience (chronic health issue). This could involve coming to terms with some strong emotions such as fear, anger and sadness and gaining a willingness to adjust and move towards acceptance.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBT AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that has been around for almost 50 years. Nowadays, CBT has evolved into a sophisticated array of treatment concepts and options to suit many forms of life experience. Modern CBT can be suitable for counselling and psychotherapy sessions, depending on the presenting problem.
HOW MUCH DOES PSYCHOTHERAPY COST AND HOW DO I START?
Psychotherapy lasts for 50 minutes and tends to cost between £50 and £60 for individual sessions and £75 for couples.
Psychotherapy is most effective when conducted weekly for as long as feels helpful and productive. Your therapist will agree with you on the number of sessions that are likely to prove most effective but normally 6 sessions would be the optimal number for achieving lasting and sustainable results. The first initial session is free.
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