Reflection on “The Guardian” article – How can a therapist get the most from therapy?
Talking therapy – yes words do clarify for both therapist and client what is going on. No longer the half thought, dismissed or flying through your mind, hidden from – yet triggers the strong emotional response, often negative at the early stages.
We do feel the emotions – we ’empathise’ often having felt and recognise that feeling ourselves, albeit not necessarily (but sometimes) in a similar situation to the client, or their perception of it. For example, common emotions like fear, anger, hurt we have all felt and can recognise in others, if not always in oneself.
We hear the change in voice tone or pitch indicating the variety of underlying feelings going on – a question rather than a statement, which we help them to answer, searching together for their insight; a command given them by someone else is clear from the pitch of their voice when they recall and repeat for our benefit.
We are familiar with the impact of many life events on people, on ourselves – and we can empathise, guess at feelings or beliefs, and help you, the client, to make sense of them and choose them or let them go. To change them too.
We understand the process of a scenario, human behaviours and mind-sets, the way people are and how they ‘work’.
Counselling, CBT, Coaching, mentoring and more all help people to ‘find themselves’ – to recognise their feelings and triggers, the problems and solutions, the options and opportunities they have before them, and help them to choose how they want to proceed.
We don’t – can’t – provide answers for them but we can share insights and information – knowledge on previous experiences and shared responses, Psychology theory and ideas on how we can all manage our lives and options, what the impacts could be by projecting that forward and backward as necessary to bring them back to the here and now – and make choices and changes for themselves.
Coaching isn’t therapeutic but proactive in achieving goals; mentoring is helping people see options from the mentors experience and insights, their beliefs; CBT is mind-management and techniques from a medical model perspective; solution focused therapy is goal oriented support and reflection.
Not all services are therapeutic but similarly, some actions are therapeutic even outside that ball park! Journal keeping and diaries have long been used by troubled souls, writing – books, songs, poetry – to express deep-seated or unfamiliar emotional responses, and music or art similarly. These are therapeutic in outcome rather than classically therapeutic endeavours whereas counselling is therapeutic in both provision and outcome – being listened to, acknowledged and understood, accepted and reflected back to see more clearly what you say and how, who you are and who you might be/might have been …
Then, the choice lies with the client – what to do or not, where to take this or stay, and when to move forward because it isn’t always a one-off process and can take years – a lifetime process of learning and development for all talking processes and therapeutic activities, you might find!