There are so many different types of ‘therapy’ it is often hard to know where to begin.
The main disciplines are outlined below to help you make an informed choice as to which type of therapy you might be best suited to.
Counselling is a way to explore the thoughts and feelings that may be causing difficulties in your life. There are a number of recognised but distinct methods of counselling, typically humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive or behavioural. So, counselling has developed from a theoretical base but not necessarily one that incorporates psychology.
Psychotherapy is the practice of alleviating psychological distress through talking rather than drugs; indeed, it is often referred to as ‘talking therapy’. Some people use the terms ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’ interchangeably and there is much overlap between the two.
Life coaching (Including NLP)
The term coaching has become a popular name to encompass techniques that help clients make improvement in their life and achieve personal goals.
Life Coaching and NLP tend to be forward focusing rather than delving too much into the past and your childhood. They acknowledge these events as a possible cause of ‘your current state’, however their work is centered on looking forward rather than backwards.
Is based on the work of Sigmund Freud and explores unconscious conflicts of feeling, emotion and fantasy that could be at the root of symptoms and problems. You may also hear of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, which draws on theories and practices of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis.
Psychiatry tends to see mental distress as being a symptom of a ‘disorder’. For example, lack of sleep or feelings of anxiety are symptoms of serious depression, which can be caused by wrong amounts of chemical substances in the brain. Boosting the levels of these can relieve the symptoms of depression.
Psychiatrists will have a medical degree; they will also have completed two years of foundation training and a further six years of speciality training within psychiatry. Because they have medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe drugs to alleviate distress (something other psychology-related professionals cannot do). If you feel that you might need medication than seeing a Psychiatrist should be your first port of call. The best place to find a registered Psychiatrist is The Royal College of Psychiatrists. This is the professional and educational body for psychiatrists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.