What will the experience of Psychotherapy be like?
I am offering these words with the aim of encouraging you to take an important step, if – on balance – you feel you need to take it.
Describing the process of psychotherapy is not easy as the nature of the relationship that needs to form between the therapist and client is often deep, beyond words. However, I will try to be helpful and make a few general points.
If you meet and work with me I will attempt to foster feelings of acceptance, safety, and trust so that you will feel able to express yourself at a pace that feels right for you and without fear of judgement. For this to happen, I will help you feel in control of the psychotherapy process from the beginning, wanting you to only speak about matters in the way that feels right for you at the time. Confidentiality will be respected.
Besides being a UKCP registered psychotherapist I am also chartered clinical psychologist. To become the latter requires a good first degree in psychology and relevant clinical experience before completing a lengthy postgraduate education which includes training in the use of many different theoretical models and methods. Such a broad training enables me to be very flexible, adapting my approach to suit a person, whatever their difficulties, as I get to know them. Thus no two experiences of therapy will ever be the same. Each of us is unique and we need to be sure our individual needs, personality, ways of being, (etc) will be respected if psychotherapy is to be successful.
In fact, there is a great deal of research that supports my approach, showing that it is the quality of the relationship established between therapist and client that best accounts for positive outcomes.
I very much like to think of psychotherapy, and all forms of psychological therapy, as being what has been termed ‘therapist-assisted self-healing’. That is, the client is assisted in various ways to discover their own resources, answers, insights, strengths, etc. within the therapy relationship. It is the client’s full ‘involvement’, within the context of a good, supportive relationship, that predicts good outcomes.
Psychotherapy can vary greatly according to the nature of the person and the particular difficulties they bring. I sometimes see people for only a short amount of time whereas other people benefit from much longer-term work. Some of you will want and need quite a structured approach in which you can learn some new ways of responding to specific situations whereas others will benefit from a slower process in which difficulties can safely emerge over time as trust builds. In the first case the emphasis might be upon recent events with little reference to the past, whereas in the second case the focus might need to be upon earlier life experiences that are continuing to exert a negative effect in the present. One person might be needing help to manage a very specific relationship problem whilst another might be needing to find a reason to live. Yet both might share some similar experiences, such as difficulties sleeping.
So, as I hope I have indicated, I do not have a set formula. I like to meet a person and for us to discover together the best way forward. Sometimes it can take some time to make this discovery together.
If, having read this far, you are wondering whether I might be the best person to help you, I would suggest that you ring to arrange a meeting. Then you will have the best opportunity to find out.
I would like to close this section by stating that for me it is a great privilege to spend time with another person who is willing to trust me enough to tell me their ‘story’ in whatever way they can. It is a source of deep pleasure when positive changes occur as a result of our time together.