The roots of counselling may be traced to Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung. Initially it was referred to as the ‘talking cure’. Today we still say it is good to talk and we encourage people to talk to someone and not to keep things bottled up or to themselves. While this is good advice it may be far more difficult to do than many people realise. To enable people to feel comfortable enough to talk in therapy is a skill. Talking is still at its core but also involves an active listener, the therapist. Talking itself is not enough it must be heard and felt to be herd. I see therapy as providing a free and protected space where the client is free to explore whatever he or she needs or wishes.
The initial insights of the founders of the Talking Cure have been underpinned by the on-going developments and research in neuroscience. Insights into the plasticity of the brain, neural pathways, neurons that fire together wire together, epigenetics and psyche soma interaction all increase our understanding of how change occurs and how it can be managed.
We may wish our lives to be settled and secure but we know they are constantly changing. Indeed change may be the only constant. Some of these changes may trigger issues where it is helpful or necessary to talk to another. There may be times when we feel change is managing us rather than we managing it. This may lead to a sense of powerlessness and aimlessness. Exploring these changes enables us to see more clearly the process at work and the options available leading to a more informed choice.
Counselling may be for oneself or for one’s relationship so couples may also come to counselling.
Psychotherapy is usually for more complex issues than counselling. Hence counselling may take longer than just a few sessions. One might describe psychotherapy as shining the light of consciousness on our makeup. Things or life goes better with greater consciousness. We are empowered to make clearer and informed choices. We learn to manage the issues and vicissitudes of life with more insight and skill with greater consciousness.
How I work in counselling or psychotherapy depends on the needs of the individual or couple. I take my lead from the individual and create a safe and protected space where the work can develop and evolve.