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Why go to a Counsellor or Psychotherapist

People seek help from a counsellor or psychotherapist for a myriad of reasons. Some people seek out the services of a therapist because they suffer from a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia. Others seek out a therapist to help overcome addictive or dysfunctional behaviours, such as those associated with alcoholism, drug addictions, or eating disorders. Others still use therapy as a means for coping with a death, a loss or some form of abuse. Any event or feeling in your life that you have difficulty coping with on your own may be a compelling reason to seek out the support of a professional, so that you do not have to go through it alone.

Dysfunctional Coping Strategies

Often when we are addressed with a life event that is difficult we have to come up with ways to cope with it. Sometimes the ways that we use to cope with loss, mental illness, or abuse are harmful in nature. It is not uncommon for people who struggle with mental illness, or are victims of abuse to look for ways to feel better. Some turn to drugs or alcohol, some look to be able to control something in their lives and develop eating disorders, and others find healthier outlets such as exercise (non obsessive), writing, or the arts.

Those who have learned dysfunctional coping strategies double or more reasons for seeking out professional help. The first reason is to address their addiction or eating disorder. The second is to address the traumatic event that caused them to begin the behaviour in the first place. Part of their therapy would be to learn new ways to cope with stressors. The other part would be to explore their past and present triggers and come to terms with the source of their struggle.

Different Models of Psychotherapy & Counselling

There are many different models that a therapist or counsellor may subscribe to. Client Centred therapists provide an environment which promotes growth at the client’s pace. Holistic Health Models believe that all people have a hierarchy of needs, including physical, vocational, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, which all need to be met in order for the individual to feel whole and well. Strengths Based counselling promotes positive thinking and encourages the patient to focus on positive things occurring in their lives in order to feel better.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy looks at the activating events, the beliefs a person has about the event, and the consequences that occur as a result. They believe that the “ABC’s,” as they are known, interact, and that by changing the activating events and/or the consequences we can change behaviours.

Solution Focused Therapy asks the patient to envision how life will be when the problem is solved and work towards that goal. And the Existential approach to therapy focuses on identifying self purpose and establishing meaningful relationships because knowing why you are doing something makes doing it easier to manage.

Transactional analysts believe that everyone is ok, that everyone has the capacity to think, and core emotional difficulties are curable. Everyone has a loveable OK core and positive reinforcement enhances feelings of being ok. It also encompasses many of the above types of therapies depending which way your therapist works.

While all of these theories are different and the therapist who use them will employ different strategies, the over arching goals remain the same. The goal of any therapist is to help you feel better about you and your life. They provide a supportive environment to explore feelings and make sense of events in life.