Psychotherapy is about more than just support
This year is my tenth as a psychotherapist, I find it hard to believe that a decade has passed since I began working with clients. I’m taking the opportunity to ponder what it is that psychotherapy is, and how it is that it adds value to clients lives. In the last 10 years I have not only had the privilege of working with many clients myself I have also benefitted from psychotherapy as a client, and these experiences are invaluable to inform and develop my own practice, as well as to support my well-being.
Mostly people come into psychotherapy because they are looking for some support. The challenges of life have for whatever reason tipped beyond what their personal resources and support network can sustainably absorb, and so psychotherapy is used to support well-being and promote personal growth.
Delivered well, psychotherapy is about a lot more than simply support. Yes, it is a relationship that is nurturing, enabling and encouraging. Yes, psychotherapists spend time helping clients come to understand and accept themselves more deeply. And yes, these things take time.
Ultimately though, psychotherapy is about change and development. It is about interdependence, and independence, not about dependence and ill-health.
I believe in my clients. I believe they have the capability to be well, and the resourcefulness to get there. I see my role as helping them make connections, enabling them to relate differently both in themselves and with others, and developing their self-belief and efficacy in bringing their unique talents and radiance into being.
To be human is a wonderful gift. We have perception, consciousness and the ability of insight. These gifts oftentimes hurt like hell, it can be challenging to see the blessings that our symptoms are trying to manifest. And yet, having faith that our natural tendency is to wholeness and to growth, we can find the fruits that sometimes are so well hidden.
To do so, support needs to be blended with challenge. Psychotherapy is a way of bringing new information into awareness, and a way of integrating across time and space. Therapists are active participants in this modelling process, and yet, the client is the chief modeller, it is their map of the world that matters.
I am delighted to be approaching my 10 year anniversary of seeing my first client. I want to thank each and every one of them for the joys, challenges and lessons we have shared, for their generosity in being present, even when it got tough. This job is an honour, and a gift. I look forward to my next 10 years of growth and development as a psychotherapist, and to the many clients that will be a part of it.