Psychotherapy is the non-medicinal treatment of psychological disorders and occurs within a structured encounter between a qualified psychotherapist and the client. It broadly comes under the category of what is described as a “talking” therapy and is used to address the damaging effects of conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, post traumatic stress, obsessive/compulsive disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, ADHD and panic attacks. It is also highly effective in solving relationship problems and overcoming recent loss. Psychotherapy originated from the theories of Sigmund Freud but now encompasses many different techniques. Our approach differs considerably from Freud, who believed that most disorders have their origins in various degrees of sexual frustration and disturbances though, like all therapists, we acknowledge the fact that since Freud originated the idea of the unconscious mind and that all humans are made up of different components, the treatment of clients has progressed from inhuman, almost barbaric, practices to the deeply humane.
There are a number of techniques that we utilise during the therapeutic sessions, and these will depend on the nature of the problem and the particular mind-set of the individual, some of which, Psycho Cybernetics, Gestalt Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, Power of Now meditations, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping) and Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) are primarily utilised at our centre.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: CBT is perhaps the most widely used therapeutic technique, particularly within the NHS and is seen by many governmental and health bodies as the most effective treatment for psychological disturbances. We feel this is a little unfair to other, equally valid, treatments yet its value is beyond question. Dr Aaron Beck, the founder of CBT, believed that an individual’s emotional response to an event or experience was determined by the conscious meaning s/he placed on it. He often quoted Epictetus, a Greek stoic philosopher who lived in 1st Century Rome, who believed that “people are not disturbed by things, but merely of the view they take of them” The focus of CBT is on the thoughts, beliefs, images and attitudes that you hold (cognitive processes, or schemas – described by Beck as being developed early in life from personal experiences and identifications with significant others, and reinforced by further learning experiences and the way these relate to the way you behave) These processes are looked at from the perspective of what evidence supports them and whether they lead to functional, or dysfunctional behaviour. CBT reframing involves changing the meanings placed on events so that more reasonable emotional reactions and behaviours follow.
A system of beliefs and practises founded by Maxwell Maltz in the early 1960’s, has as its basis the fact that we all need positive goals in life and that these can only be achieved if we have a healthy self-image. Pretty obvious, you would say and no different to countless other self-help disciplines. Where it differs is in the application of this belief and its value and relevance to almost every condition we treat at our centre. Central to Psycho cybernetics are the visualisation techniques we deploy to launch the self-image towards the goal in the same way that a guided missile is directed towards its target. Along the journey, it will often deviate but will almost always reach its destination. As long as we have a clear goal, and an absolute belief in our self-image, it does not matter how many times we may stray from the path, we will always achieve everything we want in our lives .
In Gestalt psychotherapy, you will be encouraged to explore your emotional and physical responses to your problem in a safe, non-judgemental environment. In partnership with the therapist, you will gain the courage to make what you deem to be satisfying choices that will lead to a newly-found inner confidence, giving you the strength to cope with anything that is thrown at you. You will learn how events from your past may still be impacting on your present circumstances and you will, together with the therapist, devise new patterns of response that will give you more satisfying results. To help foster this awareness, we may use a number of different techniques, perhaps the best known of which is Psychodrama – a highly effective practice that involves you facing an empty chair or space and speaking to another “person” whom you may have unresolved issues with.
Mind-clearing techniques (The Power of Now):
The Power of Now, popularised by German writer and metaphysician Eckhart Tolle, enables us to be completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-judgemental approach to our inner experiences. We simply view “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating them as either positive or negative. When we practice Power of Now techniques, our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment, rather than rehashing the past, or imagining the future. It is about living our life as if it really mattered, moment by moment. This does not mean that we discard any future plans or goals or diminish the importance of visualising all the wonderful things we want out of life. They are there waiting for us and they will materialise as long as we continue the task of believing they will happen whilst at the same time creating the circumstances to make them do so. We recognize that our thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define us, an insight that can free us from negative thought patterns. The Power of Now is a simple yet wonderful experience.
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP):
NLP is a well-known set of principals and beliefs and is based on a set of key pre-suppositions, or beliefs of excellence. Some NLP techniques involve:
Reframing: The frame of a reference of a problem is changed to alter it’s meaning (for example, having problems with your back means you need time off work but also means you will undertake specific exercises that are beneficial to your long-term health)
Anchoring: A stimulus like, for example, giving a speech that is linked to a reaction (imagined crowd applause) or a past-positive event which the stimulus regularly triggers
Mirroring: Adopting a “successful” person’s behaviour (facial expressions, body language)
As if: Imagining a future event in your life that is already over. This is an excellent technique to combat anxiety and has the added bonus of being a great deal of fun!
The first session
This is our first meeting and allows us to get to know each other. It is generally an hour and a quarter in duration and will start with the therapist asking you for a few details. We will then cover areas such as confidentiality, our contact boundaries, what you have come to see us about and the treatment plan the therapist feels will best work for you based on the information you have offered. The therapist will ask when the problem started and the symptoms involved, why it is a problem to you, what impact it has on your life and previous treatments, if any, undertaken and, general overviews of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. You will also be introduced to new techniques so this is not just a fact-finding session - the work starts immediately! We are confident you will find it a very interesting, helpful and informative experience.
Artwork by Zeraaphim