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CHAPTER TEN: How do I know who might be right for me?

Jonathan Ingrams Karnac Books ePub

THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES, but you can take steps to minimize the risk of a relationship that doesn't work. When you make contact, give the counsellor a very brief description of the issues you would bring to them such as “I am having difficulty controlling my temper” or “I find myself becoming anxious for no reason” and ask him or her how they would approach such a problem. A professional therapist should be able to give you a clear, intelligible reply. You might also ask when they last provided counselling for someone in a similar situation. The way questions like these are answered can be a useful indicator of a counsellor's skills in these areas.

The counsellor, too, is likely to ask you some questions, but don't expect a full consultationover the phone! From this initial discussion you should get some perception as to whether this is someone with whom you could productively share confidences. Feel free also to ask about their qualifications, which professional organization they're a member of, and how much experience they have. Experience is not just a matter of how many years a counsellor has been qualified, but how many hours he or she has actually worked with clients. Someone counselling for ten years but who sees only one or two clients a week will actually have far less experience than someone seeing six clients a week for half that time. An important factor in determining how successful the outcome will be is how you connect with the counsellor, and the initial conversation you have with them can be helpful in this regard.

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CHAPTER FIVE: Does counselling work?

Jonathan Ingrams Karnac Books ePub

ALTHOUGH FIRM STATISTICS are hard to come by, the answer must be “yes”, as so many people, on their own admission, have benefited from it. The number of qualified counsellors has tripled in the last ten years to keep up with demand, and the government is investing some 400m to be used over the next three years to help improve psychological therapies. It has been shown in several studies that counselling can offer a useful alternative or supplement to drugs designed to alleviate anxiety or depression.

But if we ask whether counselling works, there is also the need to define “work”. Counselling isn't like having a massage where we sit back while someone else rolls up their sleeves and makes all the running. Its success is highlydependant on the amount of commitment the person concerned is prepared to bring to the process and their willingness to keep an open mind to new ideas and ways of thinking.

It is important also to recognize that counselling doesn't effect a cure like an antibiotic with a bacterial infection. The counsellor's first objective is to create an environment in which you can gain an understanding of the thought processes that have given rise to the difficulties you've been experiencing. You should then be in a position, with the right support, to work towards making the changes that will enable you to better manage these. This calls for patience as well as endurance. Life perspectives you want to change or modify may have developed over many years and cannot realistically be displaced in a few weeks. Even when counselling has finished, you will still need to be aware of situations, and your response to them, that may previously have been problematic. The difference is that you should now be able to handle these situations so that you take control before they get out of hand.

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Medium 9781780490168

CHAPTER FOUR: The road to self-discovery

Jonathan Ingrams Karnac Books ePub

Oak Park, Chicago was the birthplace of Carl Rogers (1902–1987), still one of the most influential figures in psychotherapy today. Rogers pioneered a move away from traditional methodologies. In contrast to Freud’s rather gloomy view of human nature as a cauldron of sexuality and aggressive tendencies, manifested in the id and the ego, which the super-ego struggled to keep under control, Rogers took a very different view of humanity. Perhaps because for a time he studied to be a priest, he saw people as fundamentally healthy and believed that we all have the ability to develop our potential to the fullest extent, provided that conditions are in place for us to do so.

A plant trying to grow in a dim and musty cellar will send out tendrils towards the light it needs if it is to survive. But, significantly, if the plant is moved and placed in an environment conducive to healthy growth it will automatically thrive. This is the essence of Rogers’ therapeutic approach. He was intrigued by the way that even if conditions are harsh, this tendency will endow the organism with the capacity to make the very best of what is available to sustain itself. Thus, mushrooms can push up paving stones, birds migrate for thousands of miles, and humans can create works of art, utilize atomic energy, and invent the cuckoo clock.

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CHAPTER NINE: The counselling environment today

Jonathan Ingrams Karnac Books ePub

When Freud practised, all his patients were women, all were hysterics, and all were subjected to psychoanalysis or free association. Throughout the history of psychotherapy, individual approaches have often been modified or combined to enhance results or to reflect the pressures of modern living.

For example, Person-Based Cognitive Therapy or PBCT combines CBT with Rogerian perspectives together with the concept of “mindfulness”, which lays particular emphasis on immediate experience. In this respect, it shares a platform with Gestalt in which, you will recall, clients are encouraged to concentrate on their feelings, thoughts, and emotions as they experience them in session. Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT) is another collaborative approach which combines psychodynamic practice with Kelly’s personal construct theory and cognitive-behavioural techniques. Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) draws on the work of John Bowlby to help families whose children have detachment problems, whilst Parent—Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) integrates behavioural and play modalities to improve parent—child relationships.

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CHAPTER ONE: How do I know if I might benefit from counselling?

Jonathan Ingrams Karnac Books ePub

AKEY QUESTION, and not one with a simple answer. Counsellors advertise that they can help to resolve a range of difficulties; typically anxiety and stress, depression, work issues, loss of confidence, life changes, relationships and sexual problems, as well as more vaguely defined complexes such as “lack of purpose” or “deprivation”. But how can you determine whether it might be useful for you to seek the services they provide?

A likely indicator is that you find yourself having persistent difficulty dealing with some aspect of your personal, social, or working life. Inevitably, there are periods when we all feel a bit down; sadness after a quarrel with someone we care about, disappointment that we didn't get the promotion we hoped for, annoyancebecause we think someone's behaved badly towards us, or regret if, on some occasion, we feel we haven't conducted ourselves as well as we would wish. This is the natural order of things. We make up after the quarrel, perhaps look for a better job, put aside the irritation we experienced, apologize to someone if we feel we need to-and move on.

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