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Since I could remember I’ve been fascinated with ‘What is the mind?’ I must have been around 8 or 9 when thinking ‘What is this thing that allows us to remember the past, be in the now and think into the future?’
Although things like wanting to become a choreographer, moving to London to train, teach as a Health & Fitness Professional and eventually end up in a show like Gladiators?! I always knew that once I had the time to study/train in this area, I would. My accident on the show alongside a set of other circumstances meant I suddenly had the time and security to do this. A silver lining maybe.
I started a long training part time due to still pursuing a full time working life.
I knew I had to learn basic brain psychology and various other modules around stats and research… but I knew I wanted to do face to face work and also wait for more to come forward from the world of neuroscience to answer some of my long burning questions. Nearly twenty years on from that time and we’re getting closer and it’s a great time in the field of Psychology all round.
Why do we need therapists?
Before I continue with a very brief over view the differences of applied Talking Therapies, I’ll address a question I used to be asked, but increasingly less. Why do we need ‘therapists’ in the first place?
Good question and its answer says more of how society has developed than its individuals in some way.
We once had a ‘distant Aunt’ or someone away from immediate friends and family who you could ‘off load’ to and feel like you were ‘heard’. This is very like today’s person centred counselling model. It is almost impossible to have this in your own friendships and especially family as there is too much ‘material’ that involves their feelings too. This makes the neutrality and most essentially confidentiality impossible. These are not safe ports of call. When you’re really struggling it is not the best place as there may only result in more ‘concern’ and anxiety that may be harmful and disrespectful. You may also be ‘judged’ in a way most unhelpful making matters worse. There may be the rare, very rare individual that you can ask for confidentiality and support from this is great and I do hope most have access to someone like this. Remember, it will change your relationship with this person so make some space for that possible eventuality. For minor things, ok but big painful life changing serious stuff please look after yourself and get professional support until you can see wood through the trees in some way with your voice at the centre, no one ‘well meaning’ other. Taking back a sense of control and direction for yourself is key.
There are many agencies and charities that are excellent at their specialist areas, the hardest thing is taking that first step. Its life and we all ‘go there’ at some point to a greater or lesser degree.
CBT and NLP
I’m often asked about the differences of the many models of talking therapies there are. There are many with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) being good for helping depression and those suffering extreme thoughts associated also with eating disorders. Its also evaluative which the NHS needs. Evidence and proof is hard to find in Talking Therapies however this one can fit measurable criteria, be it qualitative, which funding requires. Having said that NLP can also be evaluated easily but is a model that sits more at the ‘coaching’ end of the spectrum and is outcome based and uses plenty of useful ‘tools’ to negotiate the ‘map of your world’. I think you may get the gist of that model and it really is very useful in particular to overcome some lighter ill developed ‘strategies and programmes’ you’ve developed. Though, not a model to be used for deeper long standing issues that are causing repeat patterns of distress in someone’s life and who need the space and time to ‘process’. This may include feelings that require grieving (another, job, health…) which cannot be quantified, measured or time specified.
Counselling focuses on where you need to ‘be’ or ‘go’ as client. Known as client led/person centred and is great for some and not for others who can come away feeling as if the therapist ‘didn’t do anything… but that’s just the point. Its not about the therapists ‘doing’ only holding unique core conditions so the client can find their own way past the difficulties they present. Psychologist Carl Rogers (1902- 1987) was the founder of this Humanistic approach and from times I’ve spent in teaching and around managers in business has become a foundation in their roles to provide support and motivation.
Psychotherapeutic models look into patterns from past that associate into the present and allow you to find points of recognition and resolve in its many ways. We all develop patterns, habits to use another term. Some can be very subconscious (you not being aware of them) until they keep coming up and halting progress in work, relationships etc. A psychotherapist will aid the space for you to become detective to your story of life and sometimes the therapist may even use the relationship between you both as a possible territory to notice any of these transferences that may crop up again.
This way of working has developed into many forms since its founder Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) began his free word association from the subconscious, amongst his many other themes. To this day these still underpin the many forms of Psychoanalysis. One of the most influential of all modern thinkers in Psychology.
Psychiatry is a mix of the later alongside the practitioner having trained in specific medical areas of brain science. Enough to diagnose and prescribe from the huge range of medications available to help mental and emotional periods of instability to become stabilised.
I have my own unique way of working as do many practitioners. Every client is seen as a whole person (Gestalt) who cannot fail to acknowledge the importance of physiological well being with activity and nutrition amongst others areas, if appropriate for client.
One of my favourite inspirations will always be the work of a contemporary of Freud, Carl Gustaf Jung, 1875-1961. I’m trained in all three fields and know that in all of them, there will encompass and allow for the transpersonal (that is the part of us beyond words…or more ‘spiritual’ aspect of your journey. This I’ve found to not be as ambiguous as it may come across only I’ve noticed it enters the therapeutic space at some point and can indicate many important things as to where the client ‘is’. It is what it is for each and everyone of us, and not for some.
As I’ve just mentioned I find inspiration in Jung’s work and increasingly a handful of people around today who make the world of Psychology and a blend of neuroscience, endocrinology, and anthropology what it is today. As we continue to learn more on this edgeless amoeba of human understanding. Exciting times.
There, I’ve made it as simple as possible and hope if it was your first time reading about the differences in talking therapies its help you to understand how they differ and also, how similar they can be. After all we all have many common denominators.
Being human is the main.
Even therapists face serious life changing challenges and sometimes it makes it harder as some people can comment and ‘assume’ (and my god some do, who you least thought would…) ‘well you’re a therapist, you should know!?
Having some good knowledge in the brain, compassion in your heart doesn’t make you immune to being Human with all the challenges you can attract. Believe me…