My official title is Psychotherapist. But I also call myself a counsellor and a coach. And a question I hear regularly is: “Do I need a psychotherapist, a counsellor or a coach?” For some the idea of “psychotherapy” is frightening. It suggests mental illness. Or that there are mental health issues that need to be resolved and that it will be a lengthy, emotionally painful process. In my opinion, it does not need to be either. I see many clients who are living with depression or the impact of terrible traumas. But the style of psychotherapy I use aims to resolve these as quickly and as with as little emotional pain as possible.
But there are many others who give me a ring and come along to see me who are living healthy and, mostly, fulfilling lives. Why have they asked to see me?
We all have moments when life throws us a problem or difficulty that unsettles us. For some of us, we are able to roll with it. We return to equilibrium quite easily and with no noticeable impact on ourselves or those close to us. However, sometimes we might need a bit of a helping hand to get back on track. And this is where I can help. I have seen a steady rise in the number of people who are needing a tweak, or some guidance just to get through a particular moment in their lives.
For many of the adolescents I see, they are finding school a little tough. Or the fast-approaching GCSE or A Level exams are causing them a bit of stress or anxiety. This is quite normal for young people. But they can be taught how to keep the anxiety and stress at a manageable level going forward.
For adults, they often need a hand gaining perspective on some choices they are facing. In our current unsettled times, work related issues such as redundancies or changes in work terms and conditions have made some people feel very unsettled. Or someone has woken up to the fact that they have allowed the work-life balance to become totally imbalanced. This alone can have a profound impact on personal and interpersonal happiness. This is where I can teach coping skills and mechanisms that will allow you to develop and enhance your own unique resources. This will make you more resilient in the future.
Most of the work I do is about looking forward. Some would think that is more coaching than psychotherapy. But we cannot always look forward if we have not paid a quick visit to the past. We often react to the now, because we have learnt patterns from the past. And it might be that I can guide you through recognising those patterns and then put plans in pace to shift these going forward. Some might call that a mixture of counselling and coaching.
So when is what I do psychotherapy, counselling or coaching? For me, the words are immaterial. It is the process that is important. And as long as you are looking to move forward, the terminology and my title is irrelevant.
It is the relationship and the journey that we will embark on that is important.