Psychotherapy and Counselling are often used interchangeably but they are different.
Psychotherapy refers to a healing process that allows the client to become aware of unconscious mistaken beliefs set in childhood that lead to maladaptive behaviours and a less than optimally content life. It tends to be longer term and open ended. Counselling tends to be more focused on solutions to a problem the client is consciously facing, often involves education, guidance & tends to be shorter term.
Nikita’s primary training is in psychotherapy but she often does a blend of both and refers to her practice as “therapy”. Therapy is a relational process that targets an individual or couple’s needs through a contractual, collaborative relationship involving conversation or creative arts expression with the therapist. The joint goal of therapy is to assist people to live happier, more meaningful and productive lives.
Why Seek Therapy?
Some people seek therapy because they have felt depressed, anxious, unhappy or angry for a long time. Others require help dealing with a chronic condition, relationship or circumstance that continues to interfere with their emotional & psychological well-being and that doesn’t seem to get better despite their best efforts or help from family, friends and doctors. Some worry excessively, may be unable to concentrate, are constantly on edge, or conduct themselves in a way that harms others or themselves. Others may find themselves facing a sudden loss or unexpected change that leads to an identity crisis that might feel like one is barely treading water with no clear map of the future.
The Therapy Relationship
The therapy relationship is a unique relationship where the person seeking help can feel safe with the secure boundaries set and maintained with the therapist. It provides a supportive environment that allows the client to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral, and non-judgmental and the focus is on the client.
It is a private and trusting relationship in which the therapist is self-aware, adheres to strict codes of professional ethics, belongs to a number of respected professional groups, is a member of a government-monitored regulatory college and who stays current in their field by the ongoing attendance at a variety of professional development forums on an ongoing basis.
The Therapy Process
Nikita is strongly aligned with a “depth psychology,” or psychodynamic orientation – “getting to the root of the problem,” not just managing the symptoms. It can take some time to undo unconscious patterns of relating to oneself, others and the world but with the combination of the client’s commitment to the process and Nikita’s creative and practical expertise, permanent change is possible.
The initial period of therapy involves a thorough history taking which can take 2-4 sessions. Telling one’s story can be very therapeutic in and of itself. It is important not to rush this early process. There is no “formula” in psychotherapy; a piece of work can last months or years. Everyone is different and sometimes the initial presenting problem can uncover a more pressing concern, or life events may require a change of direction or approach.
Early on, it will be clear if the fit is right, and in most cases a recommended schedule of 1-2 times weekly for an initial period of time will follow which will allow for a regular rhythm of dialogue to set a secure base for the work. It sometimes happens that as therapy progresses, patients can initially feel overwhelmed, sad, angry or confused – this is part of the normal process of change and is usually a sign of growth. Nikita maintains a code of strict confidentiality with the exception of being duty-bound to report risks to self or others, or suspicion of child abuse.
Therapy is a joint creative venture, not a series of teaching sessions. Although some guidance and psycho-education by the therapist is involved, it is really the job of the patient to test the truth of their own insights by the ongoing interchange within the therapy relationship. This new lens becomes internalized by the patient and in time can be accessed from within and transferred into one’s daily life and relationships.