Counseling and psychotherapy for mental wellbeing.
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023
Talking therapy is a powerful tool that involves opening up to a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. By describing what’s going on inside your head and how it makes you feel, you can identify patterns and make positive changes. It’s an opportunity to understand where negative thoughts and emotions come from and gain greater control over your life. While often called “talking therapy,” it can also be referred to as counseling, therapy, psychotherapy, or psychological therapy.
Who Can Benefit from Talking Therapy?
Talking therapy can be beneficial for a wide range of circumstances. Whether you’re going through a difficult life event like bereavement or experiencing relationship problems, struggling with past traumas, dealing with troublesome emotions, managing mental health issues, or even facing long-term physical health conditions, talking therapy can offer support. It’s important to remember that therapy doesn’t have to be a last resort or a response to a crisis. If you feel the need to talk to someone in a safe space without judgment, it’s completely okay to give it a try.
Choosing the Right Therapy
With so many different types of therapy available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, the key to successful therapy lies in the relationship you have with your therapist. Trust and comfort are essential for fruitful sessions, regardless of the therapy approach used. While therapists may specialize in specific techniques or offer treatment for particular issues, what matters most is finding someone you can connect with.
Exploring Different Types of Talking Therapy
There are numerous types of talking therapy to consider, although availability may vary depending on your location. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends certain therapies for specific problems, but alternative therapies may also be effective. Here are some common forms of talking therapy:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT examines how thoughts and beliefs shape emotions and behavior. By challenging negative thoughts and adopting new behaviors, you can experience significant improvements. CBT is often a short-term therapy, typically lasting between 6 and 12 sessions. It focuses on specific problems rather than general feelings and may involve practical tasks between sessions.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is an adapted form of CBT that helps individuals cope with intense emotions. It combines acceptance and change to achieve positive transformations. Originally developed for borderline personality disorder, DBT is now used for various issues such as eating disorders, addiction, depression, and self-harm.
Psychodynamic therapy delves into how childhood experiences and the unconscious mind influence present thoughts, feelings, relationships, and behavior. Techniques like free association, transference, and interpretation help uncover unconscious feelings and past relationships. This therapy focuses on the past and unconscious mind, offering a long-term approach.
Humanistic therapy allows individuals to explore their entire selves rather than specific problems. It aims to facilitate personal growth and authenticity, offering empathy, warmth, and genuineness. Approaches like person-centered therapy, Gestalt therapy, and transactional analysis fall under humanistic therapy.
Finding the Right Therapist
There are several ways to find a therapist, although availability may vary. You can seek a referral through the NHS or choose to see a private therapist if you can afford it. Many workplaces and educational institutions also offer therapy services. Additionally, some charities and community organizations provide free or low-cost therapy.
When choosing a therapist, it’s crucial to consider your needs and preferences. Ask yourself questions such as what type of therapy would suit you best, how much time and money you can allocate to therapy, and if you have any specific requirements. During your first meeting with a therapist, take note of your comfort level, trust, and overall gut feeling. Finding the right therapist may take some time, but the connection is vital for successful therapy.
The Role of a Good Therapist
Your relationship with your therapist is essential. A good therapist listens to you, prioritizes your well-being, and helps you navigate the path to change. They won’t tell you what to do but provide guidance and support. While therapists possess expertise, you play an active role in therapy since you are the expert on your own life. Remember, therapy is a collaborative process, and a good therapist encourages your growth and helps you prepare for life beyond therapy.
What if you’re not satisfied with your therapist?
Building a relationship with a therapist takes time and may involve emotional ups and downs. However, if you’re unhappy with how your sessions are progressing, there are steps you can take. Discuss your concerns with your therapist to try resolving any issues or ask if a different approach can be tried. If necessary, consider finding another therapist or seeking assistance from your GP or referral service.
Making a Complaint
If you have serious concerns about your therapist, you have the option to make a complaint. Contact the professional body they are registered with and follow their complaints procedure. Professional organizations like the BACP and UKCP can provide guidance and support in such situations.
In conclusion, counseling and psychotherapy can greatly contribute to mental wellbeing. By finding the right therapist and engaging in open and honest conversations, individuals can experience personal growth, overcome challenges, and lead more fulfilling lives. Remember, therapy is a collaborative process that empowers you to take control and make positive changes.