Counselling often involves helping people to cope with a change in circumstances or day to day issues that arise in our lives. Some issues are specific and may involve regulating reactions, experiencing anxiety or depression, struggling with a difficult relationship or coping with emotional, sexual or physical abuse. Other people may come with more general concerns or a feeling that something isn't right. The time it takes depends upon the needs of the client and the severity of the presenting problem. Counsellors use their interpersonal skills to form a relationship with the client based upon respect, regard and an empathetic awareness of what the client is going through. Examining the issues together to reach a shared understanding, setting goals, developing strategies and planning for the future are some of the steps taken. Exploring problems in a safe and supportive setting in the company of a non-judgmental person can help to foster improved health and well being.
Psychotherapy involves healing past childhood and/or adult trauma focusing on the internal world of the client and how they relate to themselves and others. Parts of ourselves can become split off in childhood due to our treatment by others, psychotherapy helps to reclaim those lost child and adult parts of the self so we can be our authentic self.
The relationship with the therapist is the crucible where healing can take place by the client re-experiencing what they couldn't feel at the time of the trauma in the safety of a nurturing therapeutic relationship.
Psychotherapy is often more long term in approach where a client is seeking to make changes and adjustments to aspects of their personality or sense of self. The client's sense of self may have been affected by past trauma they experienced as a child or in their adult lives. Healing from trauma through the safety of a nurturing, supportive therapeutic relationship is a means for people to re-process and re-experience feelings they could not show at the time. The process also involves becoming aware of the origins of messages and beliefs about self and others and how these ideas can be re-examined in the light of a caring, collaborative relationship between client and therapist.