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. This means I am bound by strict ethical and professional guidelines. I am also required to complete ongoing training and regular 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. This has developed to become a lifelong interest in understanding behaviours, and helping to make a difference in people’s lives.
Studying Psychology at University as a mature-aged student in 2005 I quickly realised the emphasis on science and statistics was not for me. My interest was much more holistic and person-centred.
Seeking to learn more about children’s behaviours, I trained in a program known as The Extra Lesson. Since 2005 I have been offering developmental help to children with learning and behavioural challenges.
Realising the the need to offer more support for parents, in 2015 I commenced post-graduate training in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy with the Metavision Institute. This course offered the holistic learning I was looking for.
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.
What does the word Holistic mean?
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 therefore focusses on the myriad of aspects that make you who you are.
Following the Process
My training is in Process Oriented Psychology, also known as Processwork. Drawing on ancient wisdom, Processwork acknowledges our inherent ability to seek our own path towards healing, and personal growth.
This approach recognises connections between your physical and emotional health. Rather than seeing a symptom as something to be removed, I see this as bringing a message, a sign to be followed.
What is Psychotherapy?
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.
You are more than simply a cluster of behaviours, or symptoms of an illness. Your body carries the wisdom of your life experiences.
Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy
Let’s say, for example, that you are feeling stressed, and are aware of tension in your shoulders. As well as offering techniques to reduce stress, as an holistic counsellor I will also help you to explore and address the underlying causes of your tension. This may be linked to entrenched patterns of behaviour, that you are not aware of, or beliefs inherited from your childhood.
My focus in therapy is to help you to follow your own path towards personal growth and healing.
The Next Step
If there is something in your life you would like to change, the next step is to make an appointment for an initial consultation, and we can go from there.
Since 2005 I have been helping children with learning and behavioural challenges such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other sensory processing difficulties. I use an holistic, or whole child approach combining counselling with a development movement program, known as The Extra Lesson. This program addresses underlying immaturities in early development that are contributing to their learning and behavioural challenges. Sessions are available both online and in person at Moruya South Head.