Therapy, also called Psychotherapy or Counselling, is the process of meeting with a therapist to resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses.
Counselling/ Psychotherapy are by definition the trained abilities to help and guide an individual to a positive end result. Psychotherapy and Counselling are professional activities that establish a relationship to enable the client to develop self understanding and to make changes in their lives.
Professional counsellors and psychotherapists carefully guide individuals to obtain assistance in exploring and resolving issues of an interpersonal or personal nature. Professional Counsellors’ and Psychotherapists are engaged and require in-depth training to utilise a range of therapeutic interventions, and should be differentiated from the use of counselling skills by other professionals.
Professional Psychotherapy/Counselling utilise counselling, psychotherapeutic, and psychological theories, and a set of advanced interpersonal skills which emphasise facilitating clients’ change processes in the therapeutic context. This work with client processes is based on an ethos of respect for clients, their values, their beliefs, their uniqueness and their right to self-determination.
Therapists are required to have a wide knowledge and understanding of human behaviour processes, detailed training processes, therapeutic capacities and ethical and professional boundaries.
They will address many of the cultural and socio-economic contexts in which the client lives and how these factors affect the presenting problem. This includes awareness and assessment of social and cultural influences such as age, development, (dis)ability, religion, cultural identity, Indigenous identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality and gender. Professional Psychotherapists and Counsellors value such differences and avoid discrimination on the basis of these aspects of identity.
Therapy may involve intervening with crises, or long-term difficulties. The therapy may be short-term or long-term, depending on the nature of the difficulties, and may involve working with individuals, couples, families or groups. Counselling and Psychotherapy occur in a variety of contexts in the public and private sectors. Psychotherapy is more concerned with the restructuring of the personality or self and the development of insight.
Although Counselling and Psychotherapy overlap considerably, there are also recognised differences. While the work of Counsellors and Psychotherapists with clients may be of considerable depth, the focus of Counselling is more likely to be on specific problems, changes in life adjustments and fostering clients’ wellbeing. Psychotherapy is more concerned with the restructuring of the personality or self and the development of insight.
Counselling / Psychotherapy may also include the following:
Relationship Counselling: sometimes it is helpful for couples in a marriage or relationship to both participate in counselling and therapy.
Mediation: often an issue arises within a family or between a couple that need an objective, emotionally detached view to be put forward so that a resolution can take place.
Practical exercises: are sometimes given in order to demonstrate another point of view. Often between couples there are “light globe” moments of clarity after completion of a practical exercise or homework. This also demonstrates the ability, or lack of ability, in regards to working together to reach a common goal.
Cognitive behavioural therapy: changing the way that we think, about a certain subject, person, place or event. Ultimately changing the perception from negative to positive according to the beliefs and experiences that the client has had. Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD clients respond well to CBT. Reframing the event until the emotionally traumatic experience has diminished in power.
Hypnotherapy: is a very valuable tool that many Counsellors / Psychotherapists use as the therapist is able to deal directly with the sub-conscious mind therefore bypassing the conscious mind where the logical, analytical and stressful parts of the mind exist. The therapist will identify triggers that set off certain emotions or feelings as a result of a particular experience. When we have an experience that is combined with emotion then that experience stays in the deep sub-conscious mind forever.