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Types of counselling and talking therapies

There are various treatments on offer – I will talk about the ones I have experienced and have experience and training to offer to you:

Humanistic/person centred counselling – this one to one therapy is based on talking with a person trained to listen with empathy and acceptance. The client is not judged, the counsellor is empathetic, gives their full attention and is unbiased. That is very important, as people in one’s personal life can be biased (often unintentionally) and you might not be able to speak to them about openly about your issues. The way it works is to talk about your feelings and actions in order to find out your own solutions to things. The counsellor does not give you the answers, but listens and guides the conversations, challenging you if required. It is all about helping the client feel better; about them as an individual.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – When we are depressed, we can view the world, ourselves and the future negatively, which keeps us depressed. The pattern of negativity has to be broken. CBT works on core beliefs that we have and our thoughts affect our behaviour and actions. If we say to ourselves ‘I can’t ride a bike’ then we won’t even try, and then we will be hard on ourselves for not trying, consider ourselves a failure, and so on. And even if we try to ride a bike, at the first fall or mistake, we will say that it just proves we cannot do it, and we cement the idea in our brain.

However, if we change the thought to ‘I will be able to ride a bike’ then we will at least try and go from there. If we fall or make a mistake, we will be able to look past it and try again.

CBT focuses on identifying dysfunctional thinking and change it so that our behavioural patterns will change. Then we can begin to change the symptoms that keep us depressed – stop the vicious circle as it were. Often, the best effects will come after therapy has finished, as it sinks in, over time, and becomes a new way of thinking and behaving.

Psychotherapy – this individual therapy focuses on the relationships the person with depression has with other people. It can also delve into childhood experiences to find answers as to the formation of depression and relationship issues or other negative problems. Psychotherapy can be intense, and is usually not a short term therapy, so commitment and the ability to stick with it, financially and physically, is important in my opinion.

As I counsellor, I am trained to be integrative, which means I use all three of the above therapies/ theories and I have to say, most of the time more than one theory is useful for each client.