What is Psychotherapy?
Some people aren't really sure what psychotherapy is, and that's understandable: given the confidential nature of the profession, much mystery surrounds what actually happens in session. Will I lie down on a couch, like the many movies depict? Will I feel uncomfortable? Do we just talk about feelings in some sterile office? The answer, of course, is no. Or at least it shouldn't be.
Although many difficult and unpleasant topics come up in psychotherapy, a good therapist creates an environment of respect and comfort, and is both compassionate and objective in helping clients work through the issues at hand. There are many forms of psychotherapy, but for all their differences, they should aim to help people both understand and experience their lives with new perspective, get over old hang-ups and insecurities, discard unrealistic expectations, and see old problems in new lights. Within this updated frame, we are able to navigate our emotions, thoughts and behaviours in a more helpful, less overwhelming way.
Like many therapists, I use different methods of therapy depending on the issue or concern, including: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Existential Therapy. Click here to learn more about how I incorporate these methods into sessions.
Psychotherapy provides the space to consider the trials of life with the help of someone that has useful tools and training to help them on the way.
It gives insight into the self and resilience in the face of adversity.
It can help us not only accept our imperfections but harness our strengths, and better understand what we can and can't control. This can lead to a more self-determined and empowered experience of life.
Psychotherapy is about understanding yourself better, and being ok with not understanding everything.
It's about figuring out how to think and act in more helpful and manageable ways.
It checks our expectations of ourselves and other people.
It's about figuring out what life means to you.
Psychotherapy is interested in how ideas influence the way we feel and embody ourselves in the world. Most of us still live by underlying beliefs ( or 'automatic thoughts' in CBT lingo) that were either given to us by society, or were formulated by ourselves when we were children and teenagers, and are outdated, self-defeating and adolescent in nature. Since our experience of life is so influenced by these subconscious thoughts that define for us what a meaningful and purposeful life is, shouldn't they be well-considered?
Psychotherapy's aim is to do just that.