A psychotherapist is a ‘healer’.  Perhaps not in the sense that you would normally associate that term.  They don’t attempt to fix people’s minds, so that suddenly you are “better”, psychotherapy doesn’t work that way.  Psychotherapy is more about talking through and turning your feelings and experiences over with another person.  Then over time, how you feel, changes.

Psychotherapists – what do they do?

Psychotherapists listen to what you have to say about your issues and allow you to find your own way.  This often happens naturally because you are supported and actively listened to.  In psychotherapy, you are the ‘knower’, and in helping your therapist understand you, you get to better understand yourself.  This doesn’t mean that psychotherapists don’t hold a lot of knowledge and understanding about how the mind works and how the workings of the mind influence behaviour.    It’s more that this doesn’t necessarily become the focus of the session.

Psychotherapists don’t have the answers –

they help you to find the best answer for yourself


What is a counsellor?

Counsellors on the other hand do quite the opposite.  Their role is to help by giving counsel, by explaining what is happening and by interpreting what they think is going on for you.  That way, they can help you come up with a plan as to how to go about changing your circumstances. Counsellors are still empathic listeners, but they are more proactive and solution-focused than psychotherapists.  They often have very specific methods as to how you can think about your situation in a way that they believe will be more helpful for you.

Councellors work with methods including:

  • Conflict resolution techniques
  • Mindfulness
  • Cognitive exercises between sessions

Why seek a psychotherapist?

Psychotherapists are sought out for just about anything, ranging from work life balance and life transitions to personality and dissociative disorders.  This is because you are treated as you, a wholistic and rounded human being.  The main aim in psychotherapy is to locate the part of you that often gets lost when it comes to working out who you are and what to do.  In psychotherapy we call this a loss of self.  Having a sense of self simply means that underneath the anxiety, the depression, the insecurity, or the dissociation, that there is a core part of you.  In people who struggle with a sense of self, that core part is often very wobbly.

Do you:

  • Often find yourself in states of confusion unable to work out what’s going on?
  • Experience brain fog when it comes to making decisions, even small one?
  • Worry incessantly and feel a sense of impending doom about your future?

Psychotherapists work with that wounded part, otherwise known as your traumatic memory.  This creates strength and solidity so that your sense of self becomes more alive. That way, you can develop the ability to make choices that really serve you.

Why seek a counsellor?

Generally people seek counselling because they need to solve a problem.  They may think that there is a ready-made solution to fix their situation.  This can be very helpful for people who don’t want to stay long in therapy, and who also don’t really want to delve into their past too much. Counselling may help you solve problems and develop problem-solving skills. They do this by helping you to clarify issues and explore your options.

For issues including:

  • Relationships
  • Money
  • loss of a loved one

counselling might help you to cope and move on through life.  But there is little scope to delve into the deeper ways in which your mind works and to explore why this may be the case.  Counselling is much more about the here and now.  It gives you some tools to help you function better in your present and everyday life.

Why choose a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist?

Psychotherapists, especially those trained in psychodynamics, understand the nervous system.  Under severe stress, emotional and physical explains why people become anxious and depressed.  In psychodynamic psychotherapy the nervous system is studied in the context of attachment theory.  Attachment refers to the very formative bonds that are established in both the womb and in early infancy between the baby and their primary caregiver/s.   Attachment theory proposes that early attachment bonds inform the basis of how we orient ourselves in life.  This is because how we are responded to in early infancy either provides us with a secure base, a strong sense of identity and who we are, or not.  It is this history of early relationships that forms the foundation and framework for therapy.

Psychodynamic therapists are well trained and have a strong and thorough understanding of:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dissociative Identity disorder
  • Persistent and unresolved depression
  • Persistent and unresolved anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Preoccupation with gender and sexuality
  • Relationships
  • Grief
  • Significant life transitions
  • Relationships in conflict including couples

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