Frequently asked questions when thinking about Psychotherapy.

/Frequently asked questions when thinking about Psychotherapy.

These are concerns that people often have prior to coming to Psychotherapy. Please don’t let such thoughts stop you from making contact with any person or service. Remember a lot of the times we already have positive and/or negative, conscious and/or unconscious expectations about what to expect from a counsellor, psychotherapist or therapy. It is important to choose for yourself, and to choose wisely who it is you would like to work with. Unfortunately not everybody working under the name counsellor or psychotherapist does what they professionally and ethically should. Always check their qualifications, their type and duration of training, publications and areas of research/interest to get a better sense of whom it is you would like to work with, ourselves included.

Ironically going to see a psychotherapist is the first sign of strength; it is you choosing to take action, and initiative. The strongest people are those that know and respect their own vulnerabilities.

Initially what is more important is what you think. Attitudes have shifted towards therapy in the last ten years, though a great deal of fear and ignorance and prejudice remain. But if you want to get physically fit you exercise, join a gym, use a personal trainer or programme. If you want to get emotionally fit should you not do the same? It is what you think that matters first and foremost.

How you are feeling does not go away, especially by repressing it consciously or unconsciously, through addictions or self harming attitudes or behaviour. Talking and having your words witnessed is the best way to exorcise feelings.

Perhaps you can. And if you can solidly commit to giving yourself the proper space and time in your life to do so, perhaps you might. But there is a reason why we say a problem shared is a problem halved, and then remember it is a professional you would be sharing with and it is more than shared, it is witnessed, with-nessed.

Again, sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Most times only because you are opening something up and the deeper issues and questions can emerge too, but often times it is precisely these deeper questions and issues that are the core cause of the problem.

I really don’t want anyone else to know. No one else would know. The most important person always to know is your self. Talking things out with a professional draws your awareness back to knowing yourself, not just who, but why and how we are who, what and why we are.

The importance of confidentiality is core and great care is taken to discuss this issue in detail with each person. Only in cases of potential harm to self or others might this confidentiality be opened, and only with you knowing beforehand, and the concerns being discussed with you.

Like all relationships the psychotherapeutic relationship depends on two sides. Choosing the right Psychotherapist is crucial. Choose wisely and well. Because the more you can enter and trust in that professional relationship, the more you will get from it.

A Psychotherapist is not a stranger to emotional and personal difficulty. They should have done their own personal work and therapy/analysis to ethically help others, and done this work thoroughly and in an ongoing manner through their own personal therapy and personal supervision. They are a paid professional and therefore would want nothing from you other than this professionalism.

Depending on the issues or questions you want to raise, will define the nature and length of the relationship. Some people just want a one-off meeting; others will want to come six or eight times or over a few months to address a specific question. Others use the space as part of their regular life to air questions and increase and attend to their relationship with themselves and their directions and choices. But it is crucial for you to decide how long you want the working relationship to last and what pace it takes; it is your desire for the work that fuels its direction and outcomes.

You are right, even the Psychotherapist themselves cannot fully understand how you feel, but they can enable your understanding of yourself and your feelings.

It is likely you mightn’t. Shop around. Speak with several over the phone to get a sense of their values and positions. Choose carefully, and make sure you choose for yourself. At some point, as in all relationships, your attitude to the psychotherapist may change, but say this to them, it can be an important part of the process.

Oftentimes it is not what you say but the actual being there that matters. Like that notion from Field of Dreams “If you build it, it will come”. Sometimes it is all about giving yourself the space and time.

Provided you are open to trusting, challenging as this would be, and are working with the right person for you, it will help and work as much as you want it to. The more you open to the process, the more the process opens you. Therapy provides you time and space, that we don’t always make available in our lives, and this time/space is witnessed by a professional. There can be an enormous relief to be able to talk, perhaps for the first time, about events and issues and how they have affected our lives. Addressing wounds from the past and building hopes for the future enables the person to achieve personal fulfilment.

Ironically we can change the past, and in doing so change our future. The past is a story, and often times we listen or know only stories we have been told about ourselves rather than making our own. Think about how much of your childhood memories are constructions, stories, photos, images rather than the “Truth”. In your life, it is your story that matters most, and often times to access that we have to filter out the stories other people have put onto us, our parents, family, lovers, friends, etc. It is important to know the distinguish the truth that is told and the truth that is yours. Your truth gives you your freedom.

Normal’ is a word used more often than not to restrict and control people’s behaviour. Sometimes it is right to be mad, angry, depressed, lonely. These are human reactions to difficult events we have experienced. But should you choose to stay in those emotional states?  Under stress, some people can experience nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories and high levels of fear and distress, questioning their own well being and finding it difficult to cope with current circumstances. Psychotherapy helps people become aware that these feelings are and what they are trying to achieve, protect you from. Most ‘normal’ people in Ireland cope with personal difficulties by denying them and saying nothing, or using substances such as work, alcohol, drugs or sex to try and hide them. Such denial and repression should make us mad, in the sense of angry, but most people direct this anger against their bodies, and those they love.

Unusually there is a fixed set cost for the initial session and then depending if a decision is taken to continue the work, a rate can be negotiated. Most Psychotherapists operate on a sliding scale taking into consideration if people are out of work or unemployed and have a set number of client places that they would offer at such reduced rates. If you are in financial need please don’t hesitate to say that. Ultimately the value you place on the work will decide the value the work has for you and your life. It is one place where underselling yourself is detrimental, because it is your self, your emotional well being that is being undervalued.