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Overcoming Pain

What is Psychological Therapy?

Psychological Therapy refers to the use of mental processes (thoughts, feelings and behaviors) to change negative patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. Psychotherapy is “Treatment of emotional, behavioral, personality, and psychiatric disorders based primarily on verbal or nonverbal communication and interventions with the patient, in contrast to treatments using chemical and physical measures.” Simply put, psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, rather than drugs. Psychological Therapy is an evolving science, from the free association of Freud’s couch to Cognitive Therapy and the use of emotionally-focussed approaches. Although psychotherapy inevitably involves some introspection and analysis of past learning, modern psychotherapy ends to be a fairly goal-focused approach aimed at alleviating the client’s negative symptoms and enabling them to move forward in their life as quickly as possible.

The latest therapies are designed to be consistent with brain structure and functioning, based on recent discoveries from neuroscience. These include Eye Movement Desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR) and emotionally-focussed therapies (EFT). The advantage of therapies which are sympathetic to brain functioning is that they draw on the individuals affective resources to alleviate emotional pain. Since affective distress is a major part of most psychological problems, it makes more sense to work directly with them. Regardless of which approach is used, the aim is always to find or build the resources each person needs to live, love and laugh, as effectively as possible.

Psychological Therapy is fast becoming a rite of passage as at some time in their life most people will feel overwhelmed by life to the extent that they need professional help. We also  recognize that the origins of life’s problems are rarely as simple as ‘bad parenting’ or poor self-esteem and that they usually involve some combination of developmental factors, genetic factors and present life circumstances. Reflecting this complexity, we thoroughly assess each client not only for their symptoms, but also strengths, capacities and resources. We then try and match the client and their needs with an effective therapy which is suitable for their needs.  We rely on a range of evidence-based therapies, which we select according to individual circumstances and needs. One depression sufferer may need trauma therapy (eg; EMDR) to address some unresolved childhood adversity. Another may simply need to learn how to have more fulfilling relationships (eg; IPT).

Some of the main methods we use include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy(ACT) and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). We might also use couple’s counselling, Family Therapy, Hypnosis and psychoeducation. (see the ‘treatments’ page for a brief description of the main methods we employ).

We recognize that the decision to seek therapy is a significant one. It may involve a fear of losing control, fear of being weak, or just doubts about whether change is possible. We see therapy as a collaborative process and encourage you to call either of us of you have any further questions and to always feel free to voice any concerns or questions. If we do not feel we have the right skills to help you, we will try and suggest someone who we think can.

2 Responses to What is Psychological Therapy?

  • Tyler Breaux says:

    Nice article. Last Friday I have read quite intriguing text in NYTimes about companies are starting to realize productivity can be better when employees can disconnect when they go out from work and not burn out from being on call. Full article is available in the Web http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/your-money/companies-see-benefit-of-time-away-from-mobile-devices.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all. Great text especially for professional psychologists.

    • Thais says:

      I was in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, and was diagnosed with PTSD in 1992. I sartted treatment at a Vet Center immediately after the diagnosis. I got weekly individual therapy for a few months; then they added bi-weekly group therapy, then weekly group therapy, and finally, as I got a handle on things, I shifted to weekly group therapy with supplemental individual therapy as I felt the need. I stayed in therapy there for 17 years. The Vet Center didn’t save my life; it gave me the guidance I needed to save my own life. It was hard, sometimes, but I’d found brothers I trusted, and I never felt like I was alone in the work. Once I sartted opening up and talking, I noticed I felt a bit lighter each session, and it was as if someone was gradually turning the lights back up to normal. Over the years, I learned coping techniques. I’ll never be who I was before Vietnam, but that’s okay now. I like the man I’ve rediscovered in me. I learned so much at the Vet Center that it sometimes amazes me. I know this: every one of us is different, and they have to try stuff on us to see what works. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find a counselor you’re comfortable with, and let them guide you. No one magically has your answers, because no one knows you. The best they can do is offer techniques that have worked on others, even if what works looks like junk science to some. Ignore the anger-mongers who tell you it’s all lousy, all ineffective, all junk science , all politics. That’s just their frustration coming out. Give things a chance to work. Question why they’re doing what they’re doing. Be an active participant in your therapy, and follow the suggestions you get. If you give one thing a chance and it doesn’t seem to work, ask to change to something else, but, please, give the treatments a chance, and go in with an open mind and a hopeful spirit. It’s all in your attitude: if you go in convinced that you can’t be helped, you’ll be right. If you go in convinced you CAN be helped, you’ll be right.Prepare yourself this is gonna hurt. Stuff that was buried comes up, and it may not be easy to relive. But it gets softer each time it comes up, and eventually the stuff that comes up is just history, not horror. But you have to give it a chance to soften.Just keep trying. You’re a warrior, and you’ve done incredibly hard stuff, and dragged yourself through tests that mere mortals can’t pass. You’re still here. You’re a wounded warrior, but you’re still a warrior, and the spirit that took you through the hard stuff before will carry you through the hard stuff of healing. Give it a chance, and, more than anything else, keep trying. You’re worth it.

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