Psychotherapy – Pebbles, stones and rocks are commonplace phenomena throughout our natural world order. There are few of us who have not experienced walking with a pebble in a shoe while thankfully stones and rocks are less likely to bother most of our footwear! The fact however remains that many of us experience burdens of varying degrees at different stages of our journey. Whether our burden be similar to a pebble in a shoe or something more troubling, we all deserve the right not only to talk but also the right to be heard and to be listened to as well.
Psychotherapy is a therapeutic encounter with a qualified psychotherapist/counselor who has formal training, education and qualifications in developmental psychology and specializations in particular schools of psychotherapy such as psycho-dynamic, cognitive behavioral and or humanistic therapies. When we observe, think and reflect on our own unique narrative we can see that we are complex beings with shared universal experiences but also conversely with uniquely particular and personal experiences. Cognitive, intuitive, emotional, biological, sexual and spiritual characteristics among others constitute a large part of who we are. It is the relationship between these innate characteristics which inform how we are in ourselves, how we are with our families, workplace, communities and the world around us. Psychotherapy involves the use of clinical methods, particularly when constituted by regular personal interaction aiming to help a person change negative behavior and overcome identified problems in targeted ways. The objective of psychotherapy is to improve wellness and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders such as cognitive behavioral when treating depression.
There is a plurality of various and different psychotherapy disciplines. Some are descended from the traditional psychoanalytical school synonomous with Sigmund Feud while others while inspired by Freud and Carl Jung have differing emphasis and trajectories. Person centred therapy has an appeal which has found a home in all psychotherapeutic practice and delivery. Most involve one-to-one sessions between the client and therapist but also with couples, families and groups.
The process encourages us to be in touch with our deepest selves. We become more deliberate and conscious of who we are and who we are capable of becoming. We are also better able to meet and confront the experiences, events, traumas and assumptions or beliefs which prevent us from becoming our best selves. All forms of oppression be it subtle or otherwise diminish both victim and executor but trauma particularly during childhood years frequently merits attention, care and treatment. Addictive behavior patterns, repetitive fractured relationships and intrapersonal conflicts are often outward signs that the deepest part of one’s being has not been recognized and therefore not been respected.
Psychotherapy helps achieve healthy life functioning first of all by how we are with ourselves, then in our interpersonal relations and finally in how we relate and participate in our communities and the wider world around us. There are few persons who do not live with injuries or wounds from past experiences, be they physical, sexual or emotional. Such wounds or injuries need care and attention no matter how long ago they may have occurred. As human beings we have a duty of care to our families and friends but we cannot care authentically without first caring, nurturing and nourishing that unique story which we embody both physically and emotionally. In psychotherapy an agreement between a therapist and an individual is contracted which usually means that they meet once weekly for fifty minutes normally over a given period of time. That pebble in the shoe can sometimes easily be removed while at other times we may need someone to walk deliberately with us awhile.