whoever you want to be…

Would you like some psychotherapy with your Weetos?

In America having a therapist is considered as normal as having cereal for breakfast. But whilst there’s no denying the trend has crossed to our fair shores it doesn’t seem to have gripped the nation with quite such fervour – yet. One reason for this may be the stiff upper lip we are so keen on adopting in this country. God forbid we might ever need some help to see us through this crazy life – we can manage well alone, thank you very much. But can we manage well alone? Or should we, in fact, be taking a leaf out of the books of our transatlantic cousins?

During the more emotionally turbulent periods of my life I have considered – albeit briefly – the option of speaking to a therapist. What stopped me on each occasion was the feeling I would be a bit of a fraud. Compared to other people who actually needed therapy, I reasoned, my own paltry set of ‘problems’ would pale into comparison. I don’t have a chequered past, nor have I been abused in any way. I’m not a drug addict and I’ve never been depressed or suicidal. I’m just a regular, middle class girl from a reasonably well off family who has never wanted for anything (apart from maybe a brother or sister, but when your parents split up when you’re five years old that makes siblings kind of impossible).

True, I’ve had my heart broken (or to be more specific, ripped out of my chest, fed through a mincer, thrown to the ground and stamped on until it virtually ceased to exist – though I’m obviously not bitter), and you could argue my parents’ divorce and sometimes turbulent relationship with my dad are the root cause of my adult neuroses, but generally speaking I see myself as fairly middle of the road. I do not need therapy – or at least not just yet.

But if I did feel I needed therapy, there would certainly be a wealth of options to be explored. A quick scan of the NHS website details no less than six different types of ‘talking therapy’:

1.      Counselling

– The best-known and most readily available type of therapy – on the NHS this usually consists of 6 to 12 sessions of an hour each. You talk in confidence to a counsellor about how you feel about yourself and your situation. The counsellor supports you and offers practical advice.
– Counselling is ideal for people who are basically healthy but need help coping with a current crisis, such as anger, relationship issues, bereavement, redundancy, infertility or serious illness.

2.       Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
– The aim of CBT is help you think less negatively, so that instead of feeling hopeless and depressed, you cope better with and even start to enjoy the situations you face.

– In CBT, you set goals with your therapist and carry out tasks between sessions. A course typically involves between 6 and 15 sessions, which last about an hour each.

– Like counselling, CBT deals with current situations more than events in your past or childhood.

– CBT has been shown to work for a variety of mental health problems. In particular it can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive order, post-traumatic stress disorder and some eating disorters.

3.       Psychotherapy
– Unlike counselling and CBT, psychotherapy involves talking more about your past to help you overcome problems you’re having in the present. It tends to last longer than CBT and counselling. Sessions are an hour long and can continue for a year or more.

– Psychotherapy can be especially useful in helping people with long-term or recurring problems to find the cause of their difficulties. There’s some evidence that psychotherapy can help depression and some eating disorders.
– NHS psychotherapists normally work in a hospital or clinic, where you’ll see them as an outpatient. Private psychotherapists often work from home.

4.       Family Therapy
– This may be offered when the whole family is in difficulty. A therapist (or pair of therapists) meets the whole family, and explores their views and relationships to understand the problems the family is having. It helps family members communicate better with each other.

– Sessions are between 45 minutes and an hour-and-a-half long, and usually take place several weeks apart.
– Family therapy is useful for any family in which a child, young person or adult (a parent or a grandparent) has a serious problem that’s affecting the rest of the family. Many types of cases are seen by family therapists, including child and adolescent behavioural problems, mental health conditions, separation, divorce, domestic violence and addiction.

5.       Couples Therapy
– Couples therapy can help when a relationship is in crisis, for example if one partner has had an affair. Both partners talk in confidence to a counsellor to explore what has gone wrong in the relationship and how to change things for the better. It can help couples learn more about each other’s needs and communicate better.

– Ideally, both partners should attend the weekly hour-long sessions, but they can still help if just one person attends.

6.       Group Therapy
– In group therapy, up to around 12 people meet, together with a therapist. It’s a useful way for people who share a common problem to get support and advice from each other. It can help you realise you’re not alone in your experiences, which is itself beneficial.
– Some people prefer to be part of a group or find that it suits them better than individual therapy.

Of course if traditional therapies don’t float your boat you could always try alternative or complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reiki, ayurveda, shiatsu, aromatherapy, herbalism, homeopathy – the list goes on. Whereas once such therapies were considered by many as ‘hippy’ practices, today they are recognised by the National Health Service and routinely recommended by practitioners to their patients.

Even those who shun the very concept of therapy may find – if they do a little soul searching – that even they need it from time to time. It may just be that they find their therapy in less officious channels. They might be fortunate in having particularly strong support networks in their friends and families, or they might have strong faith and take solace in their spirituality. They might even find the best form of therapy for them is to switch off and punch some bean bags in the gym for a few hours a week.

But whether it’s psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, flower therapy, friend and family therapy or no therapy at all, the bottom line is that everybody is different, and what ‘fixes’ them – if indeed they feel there is anything needing to be fixed in the first place – will be a unique combination of factors. Some people may find therapy of some description or other helps them to navigate the often stressful and confusing maze of life, others may not. Some may dip in and out of therapy throughout their lives whereas others might require it for one intense burst to help them through a traumatic experience and safely out the other side.

Whatever each individual chooses, there should be no stigma attached. We should celebrate our uniqueness rather than fight against it. Because sometimes, just sometimes, everyone needs a helping hand.


About Belle365

Hi, I’m Belle. Thanks for stopping by. Here's a list of ten things about me: 1. I want to write, but rarely do it. This tortures me daily, and, unless I seek to remedy it by writing more often, will continue to torture me until my dying day. 2. I worry: about hate, about greed, about selfishness, about the state of the world my (God willing) children will inherit. I worry about what people think of me. I worry that this makes me shallow. I worry about things happening to my loved ones. I worry how I would cope. I worry that this makes me selfish. I worry that worrying will send me to an early grave. But I'm so good at worrying that I also wonder what I would do if I wasn't worrying. Probably more writing (see point 1)....Oh. 3. I see myself as two people (though, as far as I am aware, I am not technically schizophrenic): a) the fancy dress loving party girl, who loves nothing more than having fun with her friends, because she has seen through her own experiences that life is short, so why not enjoy the ride? b) the more serious and reflective person who wants to learn and to help people and to find her higher purpose (I suspect it is also she who really, really wants to write). Sometimes these sides are conflicting. Fortunately they are in total agreement when it comes to chocolate, red wine and travel. 4. I don't see myself as an ardent feminist, but the older I get the more frustrated I feel by the societal view of women and ageing. Having just hit the metabolically displeasing age of 35 (now officially past it according to the massive wankflap that is Donald Trump, as well as virtually every media outlet on the planet, whether they overtly state it or not) I hate the fact I am made (and have let myself be manipulated) to feel that my fertility is now teetering on the edge of a clifftop free fall, and that even if I do negotiate this rocky march towards infertility and manage a miracle procreation, my usefulness as a financially solvent career woman will be over, seeing as having a baby in your mid to late thirties is pretty much akin to career suicide. It's enough to make you want to drown yourself in a vat of wine (hence why I often don a wig and do just that - see point 3a). 5. The older I get, the more I realise that you are never too old to love drum and bass (whether you are ever too old to publicly dance to drum and bass is an issue I am currently grappling with). Ditto UK garage. I will never be ashamed of these two great loves. Never. 6. Speaking of great loves, I have two: my husband, who (sickening as it is) completes me, and Leonardo DiCaprio, whom I have loved since I first laid eyes on him as Romeo to Kate Winslet's Juliet, and will love until my dying day (likewise the husband, all being well). As much as I like Kate Winslet, I will never forgive her for leaving him on that door. There was definitely room for two. 7. I am riddled with self doubt, and have a serious case of imposter syndrome, particularly in relation to my fourteen year communications career. I have never understood how anyone could deem me capable of running their campaigns. The lack of complaints would suggest I haven't made a total balls up of it so far. But there's still time. 8. Infinity and death frighten me senseless. I can't even talk about the universe without breaking into a sweat. I need to believe in life after death because death CANNOT be the end. I should probably have some (more) counselling to address these issues. 9. If procrastination were an Olympic sport, I would win Gold, Silver and Bronze (to give an example, I sat down an hour ago to work on my new novel, and instead have been updating this bio. I refer you to point 1. Sigh). 10. I make more lists than Buzzfeed. When I die, besides having Oasis's Champagne Supernova played at my funeral (deep breaths - see point 8), I should probably have a To Do list inscribed on my headstone for when I reach the other side...

3 comments on “Would you like some psychotherapy with your Weetos?

  1. Pingback: Therapy | Dadicus Grinch

  2. Pingback: Maybe I’m just like my father: of psychiatrists and psychotherapy « Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

  3. Pingback: Honesty « Brandon Bored

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This entry was posted on October 29, 2012 by in Bea Spiritual and tagged , .
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