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Psychotherapy and Counselling

Psychotherapy and Counselling are  interchangeable terms for what are commonly known as 'talking therapies' or 'talking cures'. There are many levels of training courses which offer counselling or psychotherapy from entry level  diploma courses, to undergraduate degree courses upto postgraduate diplomas, masters and doctorate programmes. This means that although the term counselling or psychotherapy are used across the board, it gives no indication of what level of training someone undertook. The terms counsellor and psychotherapist are currently not protected names and do not reflect the variety of levels of training that exist.


In order to make it easier for you....

Ask these questions of your therapist:


  • Can he/she develop a good therapeutic relationship with me?


  • Does he/she build positive expectancy - which conveys optimism in his/her approach and that I am expected to get better?


  • Can he/she retain some flexibility and openness, to work with my beliefs and my theory of what I think will work for me?


  • Does he/she focus on change and have a future (not a past) orientation?


  • Does he/she ask for regular feedback and have the capacity and confidence to do something different if what has been attempted is not working?


After ten years of working as a therapist, I know that these are the questions you need to ask and receive the right answers around in order to get effective support.


The act of delivering and recieving counselling requires a significant level of trust and openness to be effective. When people are likely to seek such support they are at times in their live when they are vulnerable. It is important to find a therapist with whom one is comfortable and who is able to relate to and understand ones presenting problem. This will support the process of change and growth.


A good therapist understands his or her limitations and will only take on work they feel capable of working with. This is good practice. Someone who is looking for therapy should take the time to find out a good match for their circumstances and specific needs. Time invested at this early stage will pay dividends as the therapy work extends out. A therapist should be able to provide a prospective client with enough time to explore their issues prior to making a decision and also provide enough clear understanding of the issues they are being asked to support and help with.


If you do not feel assured after initially talking to a therapist, it is probably because that person does not have the skills to help you effectively. Trust your instincts in these matters, as not all therapists are alike, nor do they have the same abilities.


There are a wide range of types of counselling and psychotherapy available. However, when it comes down to what works best, what research time and again shows is that the quality of the working relationship that is shared is instrumental to producing positive results. Like any other industry or business, trends and fashions change. The media will report and highlight what is the flavour of the month. Newspaper articles may cite a specific form of therapy. However in the longer term, these always pass and pan out and we are left with the basic core components - trust, competency, listening and responsiveness.


The terms counselling and psychotherapy still sometimes evoke images of mental illness, cold impartial listening, being a bit wacky or self indulgent. This is not what therapy should be. 


My five principles - for good Counselling are:

  • Keeping it simple


  • Trust my instincts


  • Listen closely to my client


  • Confidence in my proven skills, training and expertise


  • Get feedback on my client's progress


Therapy should be easily accessible and easily understood, be devoid of complicated or specialised language and should not be unneccessarily lengthy in duration or be vague in its focus. A therapist should be able to give a good and clear overview of a clients presenting issue and enable that individual to feel better quickly, with good insight and comprehension of the subject matter. A client should feel safe, listened to and supported in their process and quest for improvement of their condition. These are the basic factors through which people can improve and heal. In doing so, improve their mental health, personal strength and general wellbeing. 


If you are looking for counselling or psychotherapy in Middlesbrough, Teeside, Durham, Darlington or Hartlepool, or UK wide via SKYPE or online counselling please get in contact for more information.

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