I’m often asked “What is Psychotherapy? How is it different from Psychology?”
Exploring the field of available therapies can be confusing. There are so many different options to choose from. Perhaps you are curious about how Psychology and Psychotherapy differ. Are they, in fact, just two different ways of looking at the same mental health issues?
Both Psychology and Psychotherapy support mental health and well being. However, their underlying philosophies differ. Broadly speaking, Psychology tends to focus on the mind, and mental characteristics. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, tends to adopt a more holistic approach, incorporating the soul, or the inner life of the person.
Both professions are science- and evidence-based, and accreditation requires training at a University level. Boundaries are often blurred, however. Many therapists, regardless of initial training, will draw on a broad range of skills.
Both Psychologists and Psychotherapists are required to belong to professional associations, which ensure public accountability. I am a member of PACFA, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. As well as being bound by strict ethical and professional guidelines, I am also required to complete ongoing training and personal supervision.
This YouTube video prepared by Christina Nielson from the Metavision Institute offers a helpful comparison between psychology and psychotherapy.
Since childhood, I have been interested in learning about people and places. At University I studied Geography, and really enjoyed Social Geography. This has developed to become a lifelong interest in understanding behaviours, and helping those seeking to make a difference in their lives.
In 2005 I started studying Psychology at University as a mature-aged student. I quickly realised the emphasis on science and statistics was not for me. Looking for something more in keeping with who I am, I then trained in a program known as The Extra Lesson. This program identifies and addresses immaturities in a child’s early development.
For the last 14 years I have been offering support to children with learning and behavioural challenges in my local area. Testimonials indicate the effectiveness of this approach. However, I started to feel I needed to be able to offer more support to their parents.
In 2015 I commenced post-graduate training in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy with the Metavision Institute. Combining theory with practical experience, this course has opened up a whole new world of further learning.
I am happy to say I am now able to offer support to the whole family. We are social beings, and none of us exists in isolation. When one person in a family is struggling, either emotionally or physically, it affects others around them. Current research suggests that the best way to help a child with learning and behavioural difficulties is to work as a team with parents and carers.
An Holistic Approach
The concept of holism comes from the Greek word holos, meaning whole. It recognises that the whole of a system is more than the sum of its parts. An holistic approach to health and well-being focusses on the myriad of aspects that make you who you are. You are more than just your behaviours.
An holistic approach to health recognises that symptoms do not exist in isolation. Rather than seeing a symptom as something to be removed, I see this as a message, or sign to be followed. My focus in therapy is to support you to find your own path towards personal growth and awareness.
The basis of my approach to therapy is Process Oriented Psychology. Also known as Processwork, it draws on ancient wisdom, following the flow of life. Acknowledging our inherent ability to seek our own path towards healing, Processwork is grounded in the theories of psychology developed by Freud and Jung.
The word Psychotherapy also has Greek origins, coming from psyche meaning soul or spirit, and therapeia meaning to care for, or to cure. Seen this way, psychotherapy involves caring for the soul of a person.
Part of this process is exploring the “roots” or issues underlying a disturbance. You will be gently supported in touching on old patterns and beliefs that may be holding you back. Releasing these old patterns helps you to find greater levels of self awareness, and a new sense of freedom.
I love the transformations this work has brought into my life, and the skills it has given me to help others seeking to make changes in their lives, too.