How does therapy work

Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and non-judgmental.

From an outsider’s perspective, there are all sorts of ideas about how this so-called “talking cure” works—most of them, by the way, are not true. One is that your therapist knows all the answers. Another is that he or she will tell you what to do. Another is that people listen to their therapists because therapists have it all together—also, not true. While we might wish for therapy to work in these ways, that’s not how it works at all.

Therapy does not “fix” you because you are not broken.  Therapy can help you uncover strengths and learn new skills that will allow you to deal with the challenges that arise in life.  A successful therapy experience does not mean you are cured, it means you have the inner and outer resources to deal with the ups and downs of life.

Therapy works on a number of levels.  At the most basic level, therapy gives you an opportunity to express your thoughts and experiences and, where appropriate, learn ways to deal with problems in an effective manner.

Therapy is also grounded in the relationship we will develop.  Therapy can provide you with a space in which you can, in safety, say whatever comes into your head. This is different from any other relationship, and often more intimate than many other relationships.  It gives us an opportunity to reflect on our interactions in therapy, and use this to understand your interactions in the world.  We can use our time together to understand how you perceive others and how others might perceive you.  This gives you an unrivalled opportunity to try out new perspectives and behaviours.

As Carl Rogers said:  “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mould you, it feels damn good. . . . When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.”

How often would we meet?

In my experience, therapy is most effective if we meet weekly, at least for the first few sessions.  However, I do understand that there are factors that might make this difficult, e.g. work commitments and lack of financial resources.  At our first session we will discuss all these aspects and make a decision about the frequency of our sessions.

How long does therapy take?

The length of therapy depends on the complexity of your situation and on your goals in therapy.

Some clients only attend 6-8 sessions, in order to address a specific problem in their life.

For others, it is more useful to meet regularly for a number of months, in order to address underlying patterns of interactions.

Contact me

Contact me to find out more, or to book an appointment