What Is the Difference Between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Like many professionals in my field, I am qualified to provide both counselling and psychotherapy in Rye and online. If you are seeking help for a certain problem - relationships, bereavements, addiction, etc. - for the first time, you will naturally ask: What is the difference between the two? Are they the same thing? Which one is right for me? This blog post gives a clear definition of each discipline, helping you choose the right one for your needs.
Put simply, counselling focuses on the here and now. You might have a specific crisis that you are going through, like an affair or another unexpected major life event, and need a place where you can talk freely about the issue at hand, with me offering solution-oriented advice. A counsellor will listen to your problem and provide actionable solutions. If you are constantly falling into the same argument as a couple, for instance, my counselling response would be to give you a practical, communication-based solution that prevents you from going down the same rabbit hole again.
Counselling is generally a short-term service, dealing with issues that can be solved on the conscious level. It is situation-specific, allowing you to bring a particular problem to a trusted professional and talk it through in a way that is comfortable for you. You might also just use counselling as a space to vent difficult emotions in a non-judgemental space. The process of simply talking things through can have a valuable unburdening effect.
While counselling is a short-term, solution-oriented service that focuses on a singular real-life problem, psychotherapy is about exploring your life in a deeper way. It is a longer-term treatment better suited to people living with more complex mental health issues that have a broader impact on their whole life.
The aim of psychotherapy is to improve knowledge around why certain emotions/behaviours show up in the first place. To do this, we will explore your past experiences - relationships with family members, school life, important life events like bereavements, etc. - in order to understand how these experiences influence the way you think, feel and behave in the present moment. Understanding why a certain emotion keeps showing up in your life naturally reduces the negative effect it has on your life. It no longer feels as overwhelming or intimidating, because you know where it comes from.
In other words, counselling is like bandaging a wound, whereas psychotherapy is about understanding why the wound emerged in the first place. So, if you are suffering with ongoing mental health issues that feel overwhelming and unmanageable, psychotherapy is better for you, as it goes to the heart of why these feelings keep showing up. Counselling, on the other hand, is better suited to people who need a place to process and move past a challenging situation.
Do you need counselling or psychotherapy in Rye or online? Feel free to get in touch with me to outline your situation and schedule your first session.
What Are the Benefits of Online Counselling?
As the UK comes out of lockdown, people will start returning to face-to-face therapy. For many, however, staying with online counselling, rather than going to a private practice, will remain the best option. Seeing a counsellor in Rye or other parts of the UK is simply impossible for some people, while plenty of others simply prefer receiving personalised treatment from the comfort of their own home.
If you are looking for relationship counselling, bereavement counselling, addiction counselling - or any other area you require help with - but aren’t sure if counselling over Zoom is for you, here are three reasons why you might prefer doing sessions virtually instead of heading to a private practice.
Due to our busy schedules - work commitments, errands, childcare, etc. - travelling to and from a private practice once a week is often not viable. Online counselling allows you to be much more flexible with your timings and also ensures everyone can access counselling, such as people who cannot leave their home and/or live in rural areas. When it comes to relationship counselling in particular, doing sessions over Zoom means both parties can attend, even when they are in separate locations.
If you are receiving counselling for the first time, the idea of sharing your problems with a stranger in an unfamiliar, face-to-face setting can feel scary, thereby preventing you from being able to properly open up to them. Being at home, on the other hand, will give you a certain level of comfort that is so important for counselling sessions. This is because speaking to me in a familiar environment such as your bedroom puts your mind at ease and ensures you aren’t intimidated by your surroundings, which in turn allows you to speak freely and properly engage with the issues you are facing.
For many people, it could be that they don’t want others to know they are receiving counselling for relationships, bereavement, addictions, or any other issue. You might feel a level of social embarrassment about counselling, and the idea of being seen heading to a counsellor’s office can put people off getting the help they need. That is why online counselling can be so beneficial: it gives you peace of mind that your counselling sessions are strictly private, observed only by you and your counsellor, with nobody else finding out about what you are doing.
If you are thinking of seeing a counsellor and want to know more about having online sessions, get in touch and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
How Lockdown Has Made Relationships Suffer - and How Counselling Can Help
Balance is an important part of any relationship. We all need personal space - some time to do our own thing, whatever it may be. Since March 2020, however, many couples have been forced to be together 24/7, culminating in a series of relationship issues - the most serious being communication, which relationship counselling can help.
Being in the same space with someone for an extended period of time leads to a loss of perspective. Issues that are relatively small can very easily snowball into a full-blown argument. Continual proximity to another individual will make everything feel magnified, leading to high levels of tension.
If you have children, being together all the time will potentially mean more disagreements over parenting styles. Perhaps one member of the relationship likes spending time alone, while the other needs constant company. There are many differences between couples that, normally, can be navigated and allowed for, but lockdown has made this difficult. Staying under the same roof all the time naturally means arguments occur more frequently.
When this happens, it is common to close oneself off - to become resentful and defensive. Craving that independence lost over lockdown means you are likely to keep emotions and thoughts to yourself. Having more time together - ironically - makes you less inclined to share important feelings with each other. Over time, you end up spiralling towards a state of non-communication and start doing things like messaging your partner from the other room to get something done.
If you feel like you and your partner have become distant, I provide relationship counselling in Rye and online that focuses on creating a deeper understanding of how you communicate in a relationship. It is common to develop communication patterns that are unhelpful and harmful, and relationship counselling works towards recognising these patterns, understanding why they came about, and developing healthier ways of communicating how you feel to your partner.
Seeking a relationship counsellor in Rye or online makes it much easier for you to switch the focus of your communication away from blame and conflict and towards a place of understanding and listening. After so long in the same bubble, having a private, neutral, empathetic space to process certain feelings can be extremely helpful. Together you can start to develop techniques for preventing yourselves from repeating the same problems you experienced in the past.
If you have suffered a breakdown in communication with your partner over lockdown and require relationship counselling in Rye or online, get in touch to arrange an initial consultation.
Using Photographs in Therapy
Phototherapy has been defined as 'the use of photography or photographic materials, under the guidance of a trained therapist, to reduce or relieve painful psychological symptoms and to facilitate psychological growth and therapeutic change.' Thanks to digital photography and social networking sites, photography is more accessible than ever, but have you ever considered it as a way of promoting healing and personal growth?
There are several ways in which photographs can be used in therapy:
- using images to explore your perceptions, values and moods
- using self-portraits to gain insight into how you see yourself
- exploring how you see the world through the camera's eye
- exploring how people see you, through others' photos of you
- reviewing albums and libraries as ways of exploring family history.
Photography connects how we look outside of ourselves with how make sense of our inner lives. If you are interested in using in photography creatively, perhaps we can explore this in therapy.