My Kind of Psychotherapy
The way I tend to work includes a set of theories called Transactional Analysis (TA). I also draw on a wide variety of other therapeutic approaches, depending on the individual.
I believe that people live their lives the best they can. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes, people find themselves stuck in patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour that cause difficulty.
Part of what I aim to do as a therapist is to help people reflect upon their lives in an honest way. This can mean thinking about things afresh, from a different perspective. It’s often about going beyond the ‘comfort zone’ into a process of self-discovery. It often takes some time, so I don’t usually make promises about making people “better” in a certain number of sessions.
Sometimes, I find it’s useful to look at the way someone grew up – their environment, their childhood, their parenting, etc. in order to see what shaped them as an individual. I believe that when we look at our personal history it can be a useful tool in making changes in the present.
I also try to adopt an interactive (sometimes called ‘relational’) approach. This means that, as well as talking about the problems you’re experiencing, we may talk about what’s happening in our sessions, between you and me. Though sometimes this isn’t easy, I believe that it’s a very important part of the process.
What about CBT?
Although I’m not a CBT therapist, I sometimes work in a way that uses many ideas and models that are common in CBT.
It’s important to remember that there are many different ‘styles’ of therapy.
CBT may be right for you – but equally, it might not be right for you.
There is evidence to show that it helps some people – and similar evidence to show that plenty of other therapy approaches are effective, too…….
That’s why I believe in making the approach fitting to the client, rather than using a ‘standardised’ approach for everyone.
But Everyone Is Talking About It – Surely It’s the New Big Thing…?
CBT has become more prominent in recent years, mostly due to political influences and the economics of public health. Because NHS funding depends on short-term work, and favours 'evidence-based treatment', there isn't much choice for people seeking help. Although evidence shows that a significant number of patients are not being helped, CBT and its derivatives have gained a prominent position in health services.
Regrettably, the media have also painted a rather narrow picture of therapy, so CBT has become a bit of a buzz-word. Some people take this to mean it’s the best therapy out there…. for the patients and the economy. I’m not sure about this.
I am opposed to any government strategy that deliberately advertises one therapy over another, on the basis of economics. People’s well-being is at stake – this isn’t an economic issue. I think that the government (and its agencies) should be listening more to therapists and clients, and giving patients more choice.