Psychotherapy is a discursive means of treating our psychological problems which comes in many forms. Our psychotherapists and counsellors are drawn from a wide range of therapeutic styles. What is common to all is that you meet to consider how your life might be better.
We have a practice of very experienced therapists coming from the NHS, voluntary sectors and private practice. This work is augmented with less experienced therapists and trainees who are at the stage in their careers where they can offer lower fees for those who are in need of that support.
On this page we provide an overview of different psychotherapeutic and counseling traditions and address some differences between practices. We would like to emphasise here that differing practices will suit differing people and the way they think or indeed where they find themselves in their life. Our practitioners have developed the more substantial material on each tradition in the links.
Psychiatry and psychology are different traditions to psychotherapy although some may have also trained as psychotherapists.
Choosing a psychotherapist is very complex and often something you do at a time of distress. No one therapy has all the answers for everyone and research has told us that no one therapy is markedly better than another. In fact research would indicate it is the strength of the relationship between the therapist and patient/client which is more an indicator of a good outcome than theoretical orientation.
We recommend that you take advantage of our assessment sessions to help you through this process.
Cognitive vs Analytic vs Therapeutic
Much is made of differing views of how our psyche is formed. Recently there has been a tension between Cognitive and other traditions. Whilst a lot of this is political in the sense of distribution and allocation of resources for instance in the NHS, much debate is philosophical and historical.
Psyche is the ancient Greek word for soul and, although a word that is less used nowadays, says much about the history of thinking about our mind and its treatment which has lead to this complex and fecund field.
Cognitive is to do with mental process and the products thereof, etymologically it is rooted in Latin through 15th century Anglo-French and although now specific to psychological thinking relates to coming to know someone.
This etymological root represents a possible approach to considering these differing traditions; the psychoanalytic emphasises the unconscious and hidden in our experience and the cognitive an examination of the material ‘process’ of the mind. These are differing views of the mind and are experienced differently in practice: one as working with the unconscious and the emergent process of how our memories impact on our current experience the other working on the altering of concrete thinking patterns and assumptions. This I think traduces the complexity of both traditions, but may give a flavour of how the differing approaches might be seen.
What may be of interest is the similarity in their etymological roots with the focus upon getting to know a person.
Therapy comes from curing or healing again from the Greek, analysis is breaking up or releasing in Greek rendering the complex into a simple form (1580‘s) here the different intents are clear, therapy is intended to heal, analysis is to understand break down or release.
There is considerable debate in the profession regarding effectiveness and outcome. Again the view of this would depend upon your viewpoint of the work. Longer term analytic therapists might say that a quick fix won’t alter underlying structures and eventually symptoms will simply present in different forms. Cognitive therapists might argue that there are short term goals that can be measured in the current evidence based thinking that show good outcomes.
Both practices work in their different ways and outcome depends upon the client or patients investment in the ideas behind the work.
Counselling vs Psychotherapy
This is also contentious and has lead to debate within the profession. There is some thought that Counsellors will focus upon the presenting issues and may intervene more and psychotherapists would allow for the process to unfold in more emergent form. However this would be dependent upon theoretical orientation training and the character of the therapist or counsellor.
Differing organisations define the difference between the two from their own view points and the more a practice might be congruent with your world view the more you may find one or the other appealing.
There is a plethora of different psychotherapy styles. I have grouped the therapies we offer under four headings, Psychoanalytic, Group, Humanistic and Cognitive. There are many other styles Transpersonal and Body Psychotherapy amongst them. For a more detailed consideration of them please look at the links indicated.
This thinking follows in the tradition started by Freud, but has developed in to a wide ranging field following various thinkers over the last 100 years. The first split was with Jung then after the second world war the field bifurcated radically. There has always been a strong tradition of analytic practice in the UK both Freudian and Jungian.
The British school which is often referred to as the British Object Relations School includes theorists such as Bion Klein, Winnicott & Bowlby who developed attachment theory: a popular branch of this practice.
Lacan the French psychoanalyst established a school that would also fit in this frame and is well represented in the UK.
Cognitive therapy follows mostly the behaviourist tradition and involves modification of errors in thinking. The treatment is based in the therapist and patient identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behaviour and emotional responses. Examples of cognitive therapy might be Cognitve Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Rational Emotive Therapy. Cognitive Analytic Therapy bring together some of the tools of the cognitive approach with and Analytic understanding of the unconscious world.
We offer CBT & CAT currently.
Humanistic and Integrative
Toward the middle of the last century the humanist movement had significant impact on the development of psychotherapeutic and counselling practice generating humanistic therapy movement. These schools include Rodgerian, Gestalt Biodynamic and Transpersonal schools, such as Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis. (the transpersonal movement would consider itself a development in it self separate for the humanistic movement, but I am grouping them here for simplicity).
Integrative schools bring together differing theories of mind or psychology to develop a model for practice.
There are many forms of group psychotherapy as many as there are forms of psychotherapy. The groups offered in this practice follow the tradition of the practitioners in the practice. One differentiation that might be considered important is between a group that is interpreted or acted upon by a facilitator that might be seen to be separate form the group and one that is considered to be the group interpreting itself facilitated by a convenor who are themselves part of the group.
This psychotherapy is the collaborative exploration of relationships as they develop among the members, including the therapist. It offers the opportunity to see oneself through the eyes of others and to see oneself in others. It is not primarily a problem solving therapy and there are no pre-set topics. Group members participate in an open conversation in which personal issues can be confidentially explored. Through the developing network of relationships within the group, unconscious influences by which past experiences affect current emotional experience can be discovered, thought about and perhaps changed.
However it is possible in groups to work not only with the personal and unconscious, but to begin to think more about the social, the group and the political. This becomes more evident the larger the group becomes.