What is Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Counselling and Psychotherapy are terms used for a process which allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult and confusing feelings in a safe, confidential environment. The terms can mean different things to different people, but in general it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives or just want to explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth to understand themselves and gain more clarity in their lives.
A therapist will encourage you to talk about what's bothering you in order to help to uncover how you are really feeling and to identify your specific ways of thinking and coping with difficulties.
Coming into therapy or counselling will provide you with a safe environment in which you can explore and understand difficult feelings, confusion and anxiety. It may often be necessary to look beyond the presenting problems to underlying causes enabling the resolution of longstanding as well as immediate difficulties.
Experiencing the therapist as accepting and non - judgemental allows you to explore these often painful issues and to make positive changes.
Counselling can range from one session onwards and can be time limited ie a certain number of sessions can be agreed at the start and a certain issue can be the focus of the work. It can also be open ended which means it can go on without any set time limits but perhaps with reviews at certain points during the counselling. This can be discussed at the assessment session.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is usually time limited and can be from one session. The number of sessions required will be agreed at the assessment or possibly on the telephone when discussing your difficulties with our CBT therapist.
Psychotherapy tends to be longer term and can vary from a few sessions to many spanning over several months to a year or more. This allows you to gain a greater awareness of personality traits and patterns thus allowing the working through and resolution of deeper seated difficulties.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help with a range of emotional issues including;
Relationship difficulties, either individually, as a couple or both.
A relationship with a partner is one of the closest relationships we can have and if it has become strained and communication has become difficult it can have a detrimental effect on how we feel about ourselves and on our happiness. If you are struggling with your relationship and feel that your arguments seem to go around in circles and nothing gets resolved, it might be worth seeing a couple or relationship therapist. It can help to make sense of why conflicts cannot be resolved and why communication has become difficult and enable a different way of approaching problems together - Please see our Couple Therapy page for more information on Couple and Relationship Therapy.
A separation or divorce can be a traumatic and emotional experience. Sometimes confusing and overwhelming feelings need to be understood and worked through.
Problems with sex.
Problems with sex can be caused by a whole range of emotional and physical issues. Seeing a psychosexual therapist can help in identifying underlying difficulties which are manifesting themselves in sexual dysfunction, premature ejaculation or lack of interest in sex either as a couple or individually. Our specialist psychosexual therapist has spent several years working in a specialist psychosexual therapy clinic at Guys Hospital in London and has a wealth of experience. Working with your GP can be helpful if problems seem to be related to a physical cause.
Working individually with a psychosexual therapist can help in making sense of other associated psychosexual issues such as problems around sexual identity and gender issues.
Loss & Bereavement - however long ago.
If a loss has not been grieved appropriately feelings of anger and depression may manifest themselves in other areas, including physical symptoms, sometimes years later. This is not only about bereavements but can be any loss ie, divorce, separation, miscarriage, abortion, job loss, retirement, loss of health, loss of a relationship etc. Any unexpressed feelings associated with early losses can have an affect on how we deal with current losses and need to be explored and understood to enable their working through and resolution - allowing effective coping and resolution of current and future losses.
Feelings of not coping.
Overwhelming feelings of not coping with a life event or with life generally can feel hopeless and make life seem futile. By understanding the origins of these reactions and feelings and exploring what it all means to the individual, can enable a new perspective and a sense of empowerment, control and freedom leading to change.
Anxiety, fear and panic including panic attacks.
We can all feel anxious at times, it's a normal reaction to unsafe situations but when it becomes an everyday feeling anxiety can be debilitating affecting every area of life leaving the sufferer feeling powerless, out of control and in constant fear. By exploring the early origins of the fear, anxiety and panic, and understanding the processes involved in maintaining these feelings, the power motivating the feelings and the need to continue can be reduced.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be effective in helping the effects of panic attacks, anxiety and fear, by attempting to change the thought processess associated with the symptom.
Low self esteem, lack of confidence, feelings of inadequacy.
Feeling as though you are not good enough, or that you don't have the confidence to live life more fully doing the things you want to do, can feel restricting, frustrating and leave the sufferer feeling out of control and powerless. By exploring how you see yourself in relation to others and the world and understanding how and why you have found yourself in this repeating role, can feel enlightening and empowering. Working with someone who values and repects you can enable a new perspective and a new role in life.
Depression, low mood, intense sadness & grief including post-natal depression.
We can all feel low and down from time to time but depression goes further and can feel hopeless and desparate with all purpose in life gone. By exploring and understanding early experiences and relationships, previously unexpressed feelings can be expressed appropriately in the here and now and worked through enabling a greater sense of self awareness, purpose and fulfillment.
Post-natal depression following the birth of a baby can feel desparate and symptoms can include low mood and tearfulness, severe anxiety (sometimes around safety of baby and/or self, and fear of own health), paranoia, fear, panic. These feelings can emerge up to several months after the birth.
Problems with our health can be a frightening experience and can evoke a grief reaction as with any other loss. We can feel powerless and feel depressed at the loss of how our life once was. However insignificant it may seem, loss needs to be worked through and its meaning to that individual understood enabling acceptance, as in all losses, otherwise unexpressed feelings can manifest themselves in other areas including anxiety, fear, panic and depression.
Eating disorders/problems with eating.
Problems with controlling food intake (anorexia), compulsive eating and bingeing and vomiting (bulimia) need to be understood in the context of the individual's early life experiences. Understanding the purpose these behaviours served early on and continue to serve enables the individual to express the underlying feelings and work through them.
Child and adolescent behaviour/emotional difficulties.
Behaviour problems in children are the symptom of underlying difficulties either as a reaction to a life event or ongoing family difficulties. A child psychotherapist is trained to access those feelings which cannot be expressed verbally, through play, drawing and games, bringing a sense of relief to the child thus reducing the need to 'act them out'.
All families experience difficulties from time to time. Sometimes it may be necessary to explore together with a family therapist the underlying difficulities causing an imbalance in the family dynamics and perhaps learn new ways of relating to each other.
About the therapists
We are a group of experienced and professional counsellors and psychotherapists offering a range of models for a wide range of issues and varying fees.
We see individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents and groups and many of our therapists offer low cost places for those on reduced incomes.
We are all qualified, independent practitioners and registered with at least one of the large national therapy organisations including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the UK Register of Counsellors (UKRC), the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and the British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy (BASRT).
Each therapist is bound by their professional body's Code of Ethics and subject to their Professional Conduct Procedure.
Each therapist receives regular clinical supervision as required by the BACP, UKRC, BABCP, UKCP and BASRT.
The Assessment Session
When talking about personal difficulties we recognise the importance of feeling comfortable with someone who will understand and respond in a way which will help to understand and make sense of feelings.
With this in mind, we offer an initial appointment or an ‘assessment’ appointment which will allow you to meet with a therapist and talk about the difficulties troubling you. This will give you a sense as to whether you feel therapy with this therapist could be helpful. It will also allow the therapist to get a picture of you.
At the end of the session, it will be suggested that you have a think about the session and what has been discussed. The therapist will give you her/his details so you can make contact and arrange some ongoing appointments should you feel it was beneficial.
What does it involve?
Counselling and psychotherapy is a very personal process and what happens in your therapy will be unique to you. However, there are some generally accepted practices;
Each session lasts for 50 minutes
You will meet your therapist on the same day and at the same time each week, although this can be more often depending on you and your therapy.
The number of counselling or psychotherapy sessions can vary depending on you and how much of yourself you wish to explore. So from a few sessions to several spanning over many months.
During the sessions you will be encouraged to talk as freely as you can about the things that are worrying you, your feelings, experiences, memories, dreams, fantasies and wishes. Your therapist will listen carefully to what you say and how you say it and will at times feed back his/her understanding to you.
Through the relationship with your therapist and the explorations of your feelings and your life, you can gain a greater insight into the contributing factors to your current difficulties, put into words, and come to terms with, past experiences and losses and generally feel understood and listened to.
This will allow you to increase your choices in your life, find your own voice and use your potential more fully.
We facilitate self awareness groups, anger management groups or individual anger managment sessions, anxiety groups and depression groups.
Counselling in Colchester & Psychotherapy in Colchester