The things that trouble us may seem to be arbitrary, but they often have a meaning that relates to the individual’s experience. When we are able to uncover this meaning, our symptoms lessen and fall away. Most of us encounter difficulties at some time in our lives. Often we find a way to work through them, but sometimes they can return or overwhelm us. Some people contact a therapist because they are facing a crisis, whilst some may be getting on with their lives but feel stuck, or troubled by something known or unknown about themselves. Perhaps there is a sense of unease, which can’t be put into words, or a pattern of behaviour or a repeated difficulty in relationships.
For some, seeking therapy is about making changes in their lives, whilst for others it is a response to something that has happened to them, leaving them confused or unable to address their new situation. This could be facing a redundancy, for example, or the loss of someone close, or looking forward to becoming a parent, only to find feelings of depression, confusion, or ambivalence, when a new baby is born. Occasionally someone comes to therapy not knowing the reason, only to find it emerges later, during the treatment.
I work in a tradition that thinks of our choices and actions as being caused by unconscious processes as well as conscious ones. I work on the principle of unpacking the unconscious strands that run through our lives. Through speaking with a therapist we can gradually bring to light the conflicts and fears that underlie our suffering. This can be an emotional experience — also an inspiring and stimulating one — which can enable us to discover new ways through our difficulties. Then we can discover what works best for us and become more confident and more grounded in the choices we make in life.
The difference between this way of working and some other therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is that where CBT seeks to remove problems without addressing the underlying causes, I would be helping you to look for solutions by addressing the underlying problems. One benefit of this is that it becomes far less likely that new difficulties will replace the old.
Some of the difficulties therapy can help with
Anxiety – Depression – Bereavement – Stress – Panic attacks – Self-harm – Suicidal thoughts – Loss of meaning or purpose in life – Repeating unhelpful patterns – Relationship difficulties – Difficulties at work – Eating problems – Phobias – Retired or thinking about retirement – Post-natal depression – Lack of confidence – The aging process – Making poor decisions or unable to decide – 'Obsessive compulsive disorder' (OCD) – Difficulties with alcohol or drugs – Issues around parenting – 'Borderline personality disorder' (BPD) – Bi-polar disorder – Schizophrenia – Paranoid thoughts – Psychosis