About Counselling and Psychotherapy
There isn't currently a clearly agreed distinction between counselling and psychotherapy, and in practice there is often a considerable overlap between the two. In very general terms, counselling is usually most appropriate when dealing with a specific, temporary issue or set of circumstances. Psychotherapy more often explores deeply rooted, long standing or repetitive patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving and relating to others - your 'way of being' in the world, and your sense of who you are.
Regardless of whether you come for counselling or psychotherapy, Stephen's approach is to begin by exploring in detail how the problem affects you in the here and now. His aim is always to raise your awareness - of yourself, and of your unique circumstances and resources - to enhance your capacity for making choices and living your life in a way which is satisfying and fulfilling for you.
Stephen usually suggests that clients come for an initial appointment to 'test the water', to get a better sense of what therapy involves, and for you both to get a sense of whether it might be helpful for you. If you decide to continue, the two of you might agree to work for a specified number of sessions, or on an open-ended basis, or to review your progress after a few sessions and decide whether it seems beneficial to continue longer term. What is important is to commit to coming regularly - usually weekly - as the consistency and regularity of sessions helps to make difficult feelings more manageable.
There isn't a simple answer to “How long does therapy take?”, as everyone's needs and responses are different. Very occasionally a single session can be enough for someone to clarify their thoughts, feelings & priorities, although this is unusual. Sometimes clients gain enough sense of support or clarity, and feel better able to manage themselves and their situation, after a few sessions. Sometimes therapy may last a few years; or someone may return from time to time as their needs or circumstances change. Every client is different, and the same person may need different things at different times in their life.
Counselling and psychotherapy are gradual processes entailing regular appointments over a period of time, and Stephen does not offer 'same day' appointments, or a crisis service. If you feel you need immediate help, or that you can't keep yourself safe, please contact your GP's surgery, or A & E.
About Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR was initially developed in 1987 for individuals suffering from traumatic events and is recognised by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. There have been many controlled studies supporting the efficacy of EMDR, making it the most thoroughly researched method in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a complex method of psychotherapy which integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches, and combines them with eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation in ways which stimulate the brain's information processing system.
How does it work?
Normally, the individual processes disturbing experiences naturally. However, when a person is traumatised, either by an overwhelming event or by being repeatedly subject to distress, this healing process may become overloaded, leaving the original disturbing experience unprocessed. These unprocessed memories can be stored in the brain in a "raw" form where they can be continually re-evoked when experiencing events that are similar to the original experience.
EMDR utilises the body's natural healing ability and allows the brain to heal psychological problems. The number of sessions required for EMDR treatment will vary according to the complexity of the issue being dealt with.
Can EMDR help me?
There is a wealth of research that has been conducted demonstrating the benefits of EMDR in treating a wide range of disturbing life events, for example:
Road traffic collisions