What is Psychotherapy?
The approach of psychotherapy is a collaborative journey of exploration undertaken by patient and therapist with the aim to understand more clearly how the past may continue to influence or cast a shadow over one’s life in the present in ways that may be negative or harmful and which frequently operate at a level that we are not aware of but which can nevertheless lead to a profound sense of unhappiness, difficulties in managing our emotions and dealing with stressors or impair our ability either to engage in or to sustain healthy relationships.
Thus, psychotherapy seeks to identify and understand patterns of thinking or behaviour that may be restrictive or damaging in terms of our well-being or which prevent a sense of fulfilment or satisfying engagement with life. Since change can evoke anxiety in all of us psychotherapy also strives to reveal hidden barriers to change that may operate below the level of our conscious awareness and which can thus prevent fundamental change occurring seemingly despite our best efforts.
There are no quick fixes in psychotherapy but rather it is about patient and therapist working together to explore the difficulties that the patient faces which can only be understood in the context of the patient’s life and their own experiences. Psychotherapy may involve quite brief therapy for specific difficulties. However, if your problems are longstanding, treatment may require you to attend sessions regularly for a considerably longer period and therefore psychotherapy can demand a considerable commitment.
This is why I ask prospective patients to meet with me twice during a consultation. It provides me with a chance to develop a clearer understanding of the difficulties that you are facing. It also gives you the opportunity to gain a sense of who I am and how I work which is very important if you are considering undertaking a course of treatment with me that may be extensive since the establishment and exploration of the therapeutic relationship is an important part of the treatment.
Psychotherapy is challenging and involves a deeper exploration of what lies behind a person’s difficulties than other psychological treatments but it aims to achieve fundamental and long lasting change.