In psychotherapy you enter into a relationship, through talking, with the therapist. Here you have the opportunity to work on personal issues with the non-judgemental attention and support of the therapist. In talking about what you are thinking and feeling in the ‘here-and-now’ and exploring personal history it is possible to become aware of problematic patterns that were previously unconscious and to find ways of achieving change in your life.
People seek help from psychotherapy for a variety of reasons. Perhaps something in life feels problematic. Maybe relationships are unsatisfying or a source of conflict. Work and pastimes may no longer be experienced as rewarding. You may find it very difficult to focus and concentrate. Often people feel ‘stuck’ – unable to break out of repeating patterns of action and feeling and to move on in life.
You may identify particular problems for which you should like to find help. For example:
- Panic attacks
- Eating disorders
- Compulsive behaviours
However, whatever the issues that you bring to a session, it is always the therapist’s job to relate to you as a person rather than a ‘symptom’ and to support you in taking control for yourself of the changes you want to make.
Everything that you talk about in therapy is treated in complete confidence.
For psychotherapy to work it is essential to feel that the space in which therapy takes place feels safe and that the psychotherapist is someone you feel you can trust.
The first session is referred to as a ‘consultation’. This is an opportunity for you to get an impression of the therapist and to ask any questions you have about his/her approach to psychotherapy and to find out how the process might work for you. For the therapist this is an opportunity to find out what brings you to therapy, what you would like to achieve and what your expectations are. Occasionally the therapist might suggest an alternative course of treatment that would be more beneficial for you.
The consultation is also the setting in which the terms and conditions of therapy are discussed – for example, the fees, frequency of sessions and confidentiality.