Psychotherapy is different from speaking to a family member or friend as I am professionally trained to listen and not to try and ‘fix’ things for you. The space is yours to think about your life experiences and how they have impacted upon your present day life. I will not judge or tell you what I think is best for you. Along with actively listening I will also think carefully about what you are telling me and offer my own associations and perspectives from time to time. Indeed, perhaps the most curative aspect and the very foundation of psychotherapy is when you actually experience a felt sense that you have been heard and seen as you wish to be, not as someone else wants you to.
What happens in a therapy session?
Some sessions will be as you may imagine in a traditional psychotherapy or counselling session where it is two people talking to one another, working through a particular issue. And this works perfectly well! However, if you feel it can work for you we can also turn to more ‘open’ ways of thinking such as the imagination. This may include dream content, metaphor or an image you relate to. You may also wish to use art materials or a visualisation as a way of deepening your contact with your imagination and unconscious. We will then spend time thinking together about whatever has emerged from this and reflect upon how it might relate to you. This is an important process, as once experiences and their associated emotions can be named and thought about they are much less likely to bother us.
what are the benefits of Therapy?
Using your imaginative resources can create a new narrative for your emotional life that may have felt fragmented and lost for many years. You can then discover and develop a relationship to parts of yourself that due to painful experiences you never knew existed. Emotions are no longer to be feared or overwhelmed by; they now become things only to be experienced and important signs which tell you how you feel and it becomes easier to recognise them. This new way of relating to your emotional self can improve your relationship between your instincts and cognitive mind (reason), increase your resilience to problems, enrich your experience of living life and become an important source of creativity. Therapy takes time and is an investment but its effects can be profound and long lasting.
I am a trained art psychotherapist but It is not a pre-requisite that you use art materials in therapy. You may feel what works best for you is to talk about what is happening for you. If you wish however, you might like to work with expressive arts such as drawing/ painting or working with clay. Drawing/ artistic skills are not needed at all! These non-verbal methods of expression are sometimes very helpful in terms of getting in touch with the unconscious and deeper layers of the self. It can also help you to calm feelings of anxiety, or safely express your anger and make greater sense of it. Read more about art therapy.