While definitions of counselling and psychotherapy differ, I tend to think of counselling as shorter term work that focuses on a specific issue, and psychotherapy as longer term work which is more in-depth. However, I refer to both as therapy on my website.
Thanks to the School of Life for their video below which sheds more light on psychotherapy and why it can be helpful to so many people.
When is counselling or psychotherapy helpful?
Therapy is sought for a myriad of reasons and there is no issue too small, too large, or too strange to bring. Below are just some examples:
- Life transitions such as marriage, having a child, children leaving home, mid-life issues, and retirement
- Unresolved childhood issues
- Relationship crises
- Gender or transgender issues
- Health crises – coming to terms with your own illness or someone else’s
- Loss such as bereavement, miscarriage, divorce, separation
- Lack of self-esteem or self-confidence
- Anxiety, stress – feeling overwhelmed by life
- Abuse, trauma and post-traumatic stress
- Ageing and mortality
- Work related problems – stress, bullying, burnout or redundancy
- Depression, emotional numbness or feeling disconnected from people and life
- Addictions – alcohol, drugs, work, sex, food
- Dealing with difficult feelings such as shame, guilt, anger and frustration
- Menopause – the emotional and physical impact
- Creative blocks
- Sexual problems
- Conflicts around cultural identity
- A need to find meaning in life
- A desire to know yourself better
How long does it take?
The length of time needed depends very much on the nature of the issues that you bring and what you would like to achieve. Some of us come to therapy with a specific issue such as a recent bereavement or traumatic experience. We may be happy with our lives in general but need a little help with a particular issue, and so this type of work is likely to be short-term and may only require a few sessions. For others, longer term psychotherapy is needed because we want to make changes on a deeper level. This type of work usually involves exploring our young lives and the experiences that have helped to shape us, our patterns of behaviour, our relationship with ourselves and those around us, and our beliefs about life in general. This work is open-ended and can go on for many months or even years. Either way, reviewing the work from time to time is important, so that we can both reflect on how we think the work is going.