by Dr. Becky Spelman on 16/02/2017
WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY/PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Psychological therapy is a broad term that encompasses a range of practitioners and approaches dealing in the treatment of mental health issues that include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, addictions, eating disorders and personality disorders. However, psychotherapy has also been shown to be successful in treating less severe problems such as interpersonal conflicts, relieving stress, coping with life transitions, recovering from abuse and sleep issues. In many cases, a course of psychotherapy can be as just as effective, if not more so, than medication. Although, depending on your personal circumstances, it isn’t guaranteed that psychotherapy alone will be enough to resolve your problem.
WHO DELIVERS PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY?
There’s a wide range of professionals who can offer you psychological treatments, and while all of them deal with mental illness and psychological distress, each has their own way of addressing specific issues due their training and techniques they focus on. At Private Therapy Clinic, you may be seen by a Counselling Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist or Psychological Counsellor, all of whom specialise in various forms of psychotherapy.
WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Psychotherapy is an umbrella term describing a range of talk therapies that address your current life issues by examining how your mental and emotional states affect your behaviour. The aim of psychotherapy isn’t in simply managing your symptoms, but in creating a long-lasting outcome brought about through profound change.
Finding the therapy that’s right for you will depend on your own particular circumstances, although there are several approaches we consider to be effective across a broad spectrum of mental health issues. These include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
As the name suggests, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy that focuses on both the way you think and behave. The concept is based on the fact that your thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions are all interconnected, and when one or more of these aspects is off, it impacts the others, causing you to become stuck in negative cycles of behaviour.
CBT is part of what is termed positive psychology. It centres on empowering you by focusing on what you can do now that will change your current circumstances. By breaking down your problem into smaller, more attainable goals, it allows you to make steady progress towards ultimately moving forward with your life. This is achieved by exposing you to challenges of increasing intensity until they become ‘normalised.’
Among the conditions most suited for a course of CBT are: depression, low self esteem and anxiety disorders including (Generalised anxiety disorder GAD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), social anxiety, health anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) panic disorder, and phobias.
Also known as psychoanalytical therapy, this therapeutic model helps you overcome your problems by encouraging an awareness of your inner workings both mentally and emotionally. The approach here is very much about digging deep into your psyche. This is done by connecting the key points in your life, examining both how you dealt with them at the time and how those decisions continue to affect you in the present.
Psychodynamic therapy is traditionally used to help people with deep-seated psychological disorders that have taken root at the subconscious level. As such, it’s generally a long-term commitment if you’re suffering from a complex mental health issue. However, some people also find it to be a useful aid as a means of furthering their personal development.
Some of the challenges that respond best to psychodynamic therapy include: interpersonal difficulties, difficulties forming healthy intimate relationships, mild symptoms consistent with borderline personality disorder and for people who want to develop in-depth personal insight. To find out more about whether psychodynamic therapy can help you, please visit our psychodynamic therapy page.
What your sessions look like with an integrative psychologist will very much depend on your personal circumstances. There are no guidelines as such, only that whatever techniques are used must be backed up by clear evidence. This model is more open-ended compared to the linear methods used in other therapies, as it isn’t uncommon for the treatment to evolve as you meet your goals.
The theory behind integrative therapy is that while many traditional models have proven to be effective in treating a wide spectrum of disorders, a single approach to your problem might not yield the best outcome. Integrative Therapists place far greater emphasis on you as an individual, taking into account your personality, needs, mental capacity and motivation to offer a program that will best suit you.
WHAT OTHER THERAPIES ARE AVAILABLE?
In addition to the above therapies, there’s a referred to as third wave cognitive behavioural therapies, which make up a group of emerging approaches to psychotherapy that are seeing positive results. These include:
Mindfulness involves being present with yourself, bringing your full awareness to what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling and acting and has proven to be incredibly useful in combating anxiety and depression. By making a conscious effort to live more in tune with your thoughts and emotions, you’re able to improve the overall quality of your life regardless of whether or not you’re suffering from mental health issues.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based treatment that encourages you to overcome your negative thoughts and feelings, and in doing so, increase your overall sense of well-being. This is achieved by helping you to move away avoidance (acceptance) and taking clearly defined action to change the direction of your thoughts, feelings and actions (commitment).
Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but has since proven to be effective in cases of depression, bulimia, binge-eating, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. DBT focuses on helping you regulate your emotions, tolerate stress, be more mindful of your actions and communicate more effectively with others. It differs from most therapeutic approaches in that there is a group aspect as well as one-to-one sessions.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) incorporates aspects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neuroscience and Buddhist philosophy into an approach that encourages inner contentment. It has been successful in treating issues such as anxiety, shame, low self-esteem and depression, among other complaints. The core theory of CFT is compassionate mind training (CMT), which includes techniques such as appreciation exercises, mindfulness and compassion focused visualisations.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) was originally conceived to alleviate the distress caused by traumatic memories and as such has proved to be incredibly effective in treating PTSD and anxiety. According to the EMDR Research Foundation, it is “an integrative psychotherapy approach,” that asks you to reconnect with the images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations associated with your trauma in a safe and controlled environment. In doing so, it allows the natural healing abilities of the body and mind to bring closure to these events by acknowledging them without fully re-experiencing the trauma.
HOW CAN PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP?
Our therapists will work closely with you to get to the root of where your problem lies. We advocate strongly in taking a person-centred approach that focuses on you the individual and your particular circumstances, not simply the condition, itself.
The aim of any session you have with is us is always to give you the tools to help manage and ultimately overcome your personal struggles. We do this by helping you realise you’re more than capable of not only overcoming your current challenges but any others that may present themselves in future.
WHAT ISSUES CAN PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP TREAT?
As we’ve discussed, psychotherapy encompasses many different therapies, each with their own strengths in treating specific mental health issues. There is an overwhelming amount of case studies coupled with our own success stories here at the clinic that show a psychotherapeutic approach to be effective in treating (but not limited to) the following:
To see our full list of services along with the issues we offer assistance with, please visit our all services page.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT WORKING WITH A PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
If you’re in the London area and would like to come and see us, we have a large team of therapists skilled in multiple forms of psychotherapy throughout the city. You can visit us at our Harley Street, Bank/City of London, Chelsea/High Kensington & Canary Wharf locations.
If you’d like some free impartial advice on whether psychotherapy can help get you past the brick wall that’s currently standing in the way of living the life you want, we offer a free, 15-minute consultation with no obligation to continue.
To claim yours simply call us on: 020 3887 1738 or alternatively, you can book online.
*** All of our Therapists who offer Psychotherapy are registered with the HCPC, BABCP, UKCP or BACP.
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