It is still often assumed that therapy is only intended for those who have experienced severe abuse or trauma. Although it can certainly be helpful in these circumstances, therapy is a process that can benefit anyone who is experiencing emotional distress, however ordinary you may think it is.
Some may seek this type of support because they feel stressed, anxious or worried. At times, events like a loss, the end of a relationship or significant life changes (even positive ones!) can leave us feeling lost. We may be discontented or dissatisfied with ourselves or an area of our life, such as our work, relationships or family. We may be stuck, overwhelmed, unable to move forward and stretched thin between competing expectations. We may feel out of control, going adrift, or stuck in a pattern that we don’t understand. Sometimes it can be hard to overcome an event, big or small, that happened in the past, others we may not even know what it is we need and want.
Therapy is a confidential, collaborative relationship whose purpose is to gain better understanding and insight of oneself. A therapist is a figure independent from the rest of your life, who is non-judgemental and whose role is to facilitate gaining perspective.
Therapy is not always pleasant and easy: it is a commitment to ask difficult questions. It is by no means what everybody needs, nor the only path to self-care, but it can be a helpful, rewarding and empowering endeavour if you feel it is right for you now.
Counselling and psychotherapy
There is no consensus on what the distinction is between counselling and psychotherapy. Some draw the line on duration and objectives, describing psychotherapy as long-term, in-depth work and counselling as short-term and focused on specific issues or objectives. However, different theoretical approaches use different language to describe the process and the parties involved. As both my formation and my current practice are integrative, and therefore grounded in concepts from several approaches, I tend to align with those who use the two terms interchangeably.