With the advancement and proliferation of online information, where does one begin when looking for ways to improve emotional and mental health concerns?
I am constantly asked and confronted by this question. Added, there is much controversy over online content and the information that is accessed and used.
My intent is not to malign or destabilise any existing information. My hope is only to add to the existing bank of self-help content on the airwaves, and that anything I add might propel people to access better options for treatment.
There is a plethora of self-help, advice, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), self-assessment tools, organisations and ‘experts’ to aid the researcher in finding a resolution to whatever ail is of concern.
This blog and website are an attempt to discuss a form of treatment about which little is fully understood … psychotherapy.
Many people in both the helping profession and the public use the term psychotherapy synonymously with psychiatry, psychology, counselling or even coaching and social work.
My hope is that I might clarify what psychotherapy is and what it is not. For more information, you can go to my website at www.jofrasca.com or for even more information you may purchase my book at www.jofrasca.com/book which details in a user-friendly manner those differences.
However, in this blog, my intent is to talk about what you can expect if you opt to visit a (fully trained) psychotherapist.
The first thing you will note is that a psychotherapist will say a lot less than one of the above mentioned professionals.
The reason for this is that the psychotherapist is not the ‘expert’, theirs is not a didactic style. Psychotherapy is underpinned by the belief that the client has the answers. And as a result, it is the psychotherapists’ role to assist the client in finding those answers, not telling them what the answers are.
For example, have you ever had the experience of being told; how you feel, what to do, or how to approach your concerns?
If you have perhaps you have felt resistance or even heard a little internal voice saying, ‘I don’t agree’.
Or have you had the experience of being told to ‘do’ something in particular to alleviate some symptom or complaint … and nothing has changed?
If nothing has changed it means several things are at play here.
One is that the search for the cause and ultimately the answers have not come from you, for the recovery they must come from within you, the client … not from the perceived ‘guru’. If the answers are not from one’s own reflection, thoughts, ideas or ponderings, it is highly unlikely change can occur.
More concerning is that if someone is told to ‘do’ something (by a perceived expert) and change does not occur, it is common the person will default to feeling like the problem; ‘I can’t do what they are telling me, so there must be something wrong with me’.
Sadly, this is all too common and only exacerbates the clients presenting issues.
Having said that, in my experience with presenting clients, this is often the main area of failure. When someone is told and not assisted to find their own answers, the client will get tired of hunting for the answers. This is also quite common when a client is working with a practitioner not fully trained in the deeper work of psychotherapy.
If you can imagine the dialogue is more about a bipartisan approach, with a deep and rich feedback loop, with the client’s own thoughts, wonderings and suggestions in the session. Would more understanding be forthcoming?
As adults, we have long operated a particular software that is not about to be redefined easily. It takes time to massage and coerce the intrapsychic process to deliver the awarenesses and understanding of whatever is driving the dysfunctional, distressing, thoughts feelings and behaviours.
In closing; do your homework and be thoughtful about who you are working with.
My passion as a clinician is working long term with clients, enabling the understanding of family of origin, attachment issues, early childhood ruptures and unconscious processes.
I published Delving Deeper : a book that brings you a frank and understandable insight into the world of psychotherapy, through the eyes of thinking, working, reflective practitioner.