What is Psychotherapy and how can it help me?


What are the reasons people seek help?


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What is Counselling?

Counselling is generally seen as shorter term and focuses on addressing problems that are obvious and recent in origin, problems such as immediate difficulties, recent events that cause stress or anxiety. The counsellor helps the person to explore and overcome difficult situations or feelings in order to find a path to a more contented life.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a more in-depth approach that is appropriate for longer-term problems and difficulties that are repetitive in nature. In psychotherapy, the focus is both on addressing immediate difficulties , but also on uncovering background issues that tend to lead the person to persistently encounter problems in their life. Here are some of the ongoing difficulties which are best addressed through psychotherapy.

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement and Loss
  • Anger issues
  • Difficulties in work
  • Social difficulties
  • Obsessions and Inhibitions
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Difficulties in Love or in Relationships

 It is rarely possible to predict in advance how quickly the problems one meets with in life can be resolved. This is the case with any approach taken to difficulties that one may face in life, whether the approach is medical or psychological. Difficulties are many and varied and always unique to the individual.

What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis is a therapeutic process which helps patients understand and resolve their problems by increasing awareness of their inner world and its influence over relationships both past and present. It differs from most other therapies in aiming for deep seated change in personality and emotional development.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy aims to help people with psychological difficulties to understand and change complex, deep-seated and often unconsciously based emotional and relationship problems thereby reducing symptoms and alleviating distress. However, its role is not limited only to those with mental health problems.

Many people who experience a loss of meaning in their lives or who are seeking a greater sense of fulfilment may be helped by psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Sometimes people seek help for specific reasons such as eating disorders, psycho-somatic conditions, obsessional behaviour, or phobic anxieties. At other times help is sought because of more general underlying feelings of depression or anxiety, difficulties in concentrating, dissatisfaction in work or inability to form satisfactory relationships. It may benefit adults, children, and adolescents. It can also help children who have emotional and behavioural difficulties which are evident at home or school. These can include personality problems, depression, learning difficulties, school phobias, eating or sleeping disorders.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy provides an effective treatment for a range of psychological disorders, both as a treatment in its own right and as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. It can contribute significantly to a person’s mental and physical health, to their sense of well-being and to their ability to manage their lives more effectively.

Whether psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for a particular individual depends on a variety of factors. It is often helpful to have one or more preliminary consultations with an experienced psychotherapist before deciding whether psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an appropriate treatment for the person concerned. Occasionally, the treatment might be of short duration but generally speaking psychoanalytic psychotherapy is best considered as a longer-term treatment involving considerable commitment for both patient and therapist.

The relationship with the therapist is a crucial element in the therapy. The therapist offers a confidential and private setting which facilitates a process where unconscious patterns of the patient’s inner world become reflected in the patient’s relationship with the therapist (transference). This process helps patients gradually to identify these patterns and, in becoming conscious of them, to develop the capacity to understand and change them.

Psychoanalytic theory and practice emerged from the techniques developed by the neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in Vienna in the late 19th century.

Who Attends?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is suitable for anyone. It can provide great support or relief in times of crisis, bereavement or change. It is a therapeutic approach which gives insight into our inner motivations and the repetitive patterns we follow throughout our lives, thus assisting us to become aware of these patterns and implement change over time.

What Happens in a Session?

Psychoanalysis in non-directive. It facilitates the client to observe the repetitive elements of their lives, the unconscious patterns, and the limitations they have carried with them from childhood. The process is analogous to unravelling a knot, allowing an individual the space and freedom to feel and think more freely and make new  and helpful decisions.

Some of the many reasons people seek help

The reasons why people seek help are many and varied. In the clinic the therapist listens to the client describe the symptom or problem which the person brings. The therapist listens to the client speak about their life, work, family, community; not just about their presenting  condition or symptom.  However it is the underlying factors (which may be unconscious) which may render the symptom or difficulty unmanageable.  So while a feeling of ‘being low’ or ‘a phobia’ may be the symptom, it is the complete person who is affected. Psychoanalysis treats the individual, not the symptom. These are some of the typical symptoms that we see and treat frequently in the clinic:
Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety, stress and tension are the biggest limiting factors in the achievement of our goals and desires. Humans manage fear very well – we learn how to manage the source of our fear or avoid the object we are frightened of. However with anxiety or stress we cannot easily identify the triggers and our emotions seem to be all consuming, overwhelming – too big to grasp, often leading to panic attacks. Psychoanalysis allows us to identify these unconscious objects or things which cause the anxiety or stress, so that we become more aware of the triggers over time, allowing our normal defence mechanisms to operate.
Depression and Lack of Self-worth.
Depression and mourning are closely allied and the devastating  sense of pain and loss experienced can have many similarities.  We see an essential analogy between depression and the mourning process where the common factor is the loss of  something or someone precious, the “loved object”, the important career, the promotional opportunity. Just like when a loved one dies, in depression it seems like part of ourselves has also died. At such times we often tend to devalue and rebuke ourselves and our sense of self- worth is adversely affected. Psychoanalysis over time offers the opportunity to work through the sense of loss and by exploring dreams, wishes and desires acts as a new way of identifying with the world and presents a new impetus to live.
OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is a very complex and debilitating disorder. Why do some people need to repeat actions which apparently make no sense? We can help you make sense of your OCD and its underlying unconscious anxieties, desires and fears. In this way psychoanalysis allows you the freedom to manage your symptom, by gaining a greater appreciation of what may lie behind it.
Grief Mourning and loss
A death or a bereavement of any sort, such as moving abroad to work or sustaining a scar in an accident, can lead to complicated grief.  It is normal to experience a major loss as a traumatic event, or to experience trauma as a loss of freedom. In these cases emotions can become overwhelming leading to insomnia, despair, anger, depression and thoughts of suicide. Talking to a therapist can be helpful in resolving the internal conflict associated with grief, loss and mourning.
Change Management
Humans do not like change. Workplace issues, retirement, redundancy, a new job specification or any of a myriad of other social factors can influence our psychical well- being. Issues do not just arise from the workplace, but may be influenced by a sport’s club, a personal relationship or any change in circumstances. These do not necessarily need to be negative. A promotion at work or moving from school to college may be the trigger for a period of uncertainty. In any of these instances talking to a trained therapist can be extremely helpful.
Relationship Issues
All relationships are ambivalent, containing elements of love and hate. Most of the time we can cope with these relationship challenges, but there are times when consulting with a therapist allows us to explore how these feelings of ambivalence are manifesting in the relationship, so that over time we can appreciate how our thoughts and behaviour are affecting our relationships.

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