Have you ever considered attending counselling? What were your reasons for not going through with it?
Did you feel that it was too confusing to find the right professional?
Or did it feel like it wasn’t for you, or that you could work through it on your own or with a trusted friend or family member?
Did you get as far as sitting across from your GP only to discover that the process to apply for a mental health plan too intimidating and onerous?
And what’s the difference between psychologist, counsellor and psychotherapist anyway?
There are many issues that people face that require more than just a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to lean on. In order to effectively deal with challenging problems, counsellors are specifically trained to help you to navigate through your difficulties to find long term solutions.
They provide the compassionate and confidential space for you to safely work through problems that have been troubling you. They hear not just what you are saying, but the way you say them, along with the things that you are not saying. Counselling is not always a straight forward simple process, however the rewards can be hugely beneficial.
Issues that require professional support include:
- Anxiety (that impacts on your daily functioning)
- Recurring unhelpful relationship patterns
- Abusive relationships
- Childhood abuse
- Grief and loss
- Post-natal depression
- Substance abuse
What Kind of Support Do You Need?
As with anything there is more than one way to solve an issue, and therapy is no different.
Psychology, as defined by the Australian Psychological Society is the study of human behaviour and thinking, as well as applying it in practice. It is ‘devoted to helping people and the community find solutions to real life problems such as improving mental health and wellbeing, learning, performance, relationships and societal cohesiveness’.
Psychologists can be involved in mental health treatment, forensics, health programs, education and development, and business.
The Australian medical model promotes the referral by a doctor to a psychologist if a mental health disorder is identified. This involves answering a list of questions about your mental state in order to access a mental health plan.
A mental health plan is a partly subsidised series of a total of ten (but initially six) psychology sessions per calendar year through a Medicare rebate. The doctor makes the referral to a psychologist for you and may prescribe medication to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Psychology is a process of being able to manage symptoms naturally, but supported by medication if still required. Psychologists will use particular evidence-based treatments to help support recovery.
Further subsidised sessions cannot be accessed until the following calendar year. The problem here is that 10 sessions are often not enough to resolve long-standing problems, and medication only serves to mask underlying more deep-seated issues. Another thing to be aware of, if you did not opt out of My Health Record your medical details and history can be shared across Medicare, GPs, and other health care providers, unless you stipulate otherwise.
Counselling can either be a short term, long term or span across a lifetime, depending on the needs of the client(s). Counsellors work with young people, adults, couples, groups and families.
Professionally trained counsellors will use specialised interpersonal skills along with a wide variety of evidence-based modalities that are appropriate for each unique individual. Counselling is a safe, confidential and collaborative process.
The counsellor will meet you where you are at, and the therapeutic relationship is a cornerstone for supporting the client in facilitating greater self-understanding, awareness and change. Counselling can be as broad or specific as the client requires.
Counselling can assist clients to explore:
- Relationships (self and others)
- Past experiences
- Grief and loss
- Emotional dysregulation
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Use of alcohol and other substances
- Life transitions and new directions
Psychotherapy is similar to counselling, however psychotherapy is geared towards a long-term approach that provides therapy for more deep-seated issues such as trauma, eating disorders, intimacy and relationship problems, and abusive relationships.
Psychotherapy operates from a more holistic perspective, which means the therapist and client work together to look at how earlier life experiences are currently impacting on all areas of a client’s life – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. Psychotherapists can also assist people who wish to grow and develop themselves or recognise that that they can no longer live with dissatisfaction, discomfort or some kind of suffering. This doesn’t have to necessarily be solely a mental health issue.
Through the process of psychotherapy, a person will have a better understanding of their behaviours, beliefs and thoughts. They will also gain more clarity and meaning around their issues in order to make empowered choices to create purposeful change.
Don’t wait for a crisis before starting therapy
I’m sure you would agree that the longer a problem is left un-dealt with, the harder it is to fix. Some people can spend years trying to live with a problem by themselves, then only consider therapy when they experience a major crisis such as marriage breakdown, loss of a job, bereavement or accident when all the old issues they thought they had under control come rushing back. Seeking therapy is in fact a major strength, and should be seen as such, rather than as a weakness.
Therapy does not fix you
One of the main principles of therapy is that it doesn’t set out to ‘cure’ people of anything because from the therapist’s perspective people are not broken. Rather, mental and emotional health issues are maladaptive behaviours that have appeared in order to help people to cope with the stresses of life. Therapy gives clients the resources, techniques to build self-esteem and self-awareness in order to build resilience and make better choices
Therapy is a safe, non-judgemental and compassionate space where the practitioner facilitates an environment where change can occur for the client. Therapy doesn’t just have to be for times of crisis, but can be a sound investment in maintaining your health and wellbeing now and into the future.
Book in for my 15 minute free initial consultation
Book a free 15 minute consultation in order for you to discover if counselling is the right step for you and whether Chrysalis Health and Wellbeing would be a good fit for your needs.