What do counselling and psychotherapy involve?
Both provide an opportunity to talk confidentially about yourself to a skilled, caring and empathic practitioner. You will be listened to respectfully, without judgement and helped to gain greater understanding of your difficulties and what you would like to be different in your life. The focus of the sessions may be to work through a particular crisis or problem. Or you may wish to explore feelings of inner conflict, or to look at ways of improving your relationships with others. The aim will be to gradually uncover the blocks and barriers that are preventing you from leading a more fulfilled and rewarding life.
Sessions typically last 50 minutes, but some practitioners may vary this. Longer sessions may be appropriate when working with couples, families or groups. A first meeting will always focus on contracting arrangements such as the aims, frequency, costs and scheduling of the work. These will be openly discussed between you. Different practitioners will approach these questions in different ways, but will all be transparent about what they are offering and on what basis. They will be equally clear if they feel they are not the right person to offer what you are seeking.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
The two disciplines have much in common, but counselling is usually understood to be shorter-term and focused on specific issues or problems. Psychotherapy is typically longer-term, involving deeper exploration of the sometimes unconscious forces that over many years have come to shape us, and either help or inhibit the changes we are trying to make.