What is Counselling/Therapy?

What Is Counselling ?

Counselling takes place when a counsellor sees a client in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the client is having, distress they may be experiencing or perhaps their dissatisfaction with life, or loss of a sense of direction and purpose.

By listening attentively and patiently the counsellor can begin to perceive the difficulties from the client’s point of view and can help them to see things more clearly, possibly from a different perspective. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or change or of reducing confusion. It does not involve giving advice or directing a client to take a particular course of action. Counsellors do not judge or exploit their clients in any way.

In the counselling sessions the client can explore various aspects of their life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. Bottled up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and counselling offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand. The counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client’s problems without becoming burdened by them.

Acceptance and respect for the client are essential for a counsellor and, as the relationship develops, so too does trust between the counsellor and client, enabling the client to look at many aspects of their life, their relationships and themselves which they may not have considered or been able to face before. The counsellor may help the client to examine in detail the behaviour or situations which are proving troublesome and to find an area where it would be possible to initiate some change as a start. The counsellor may help the client to look at the options open to them and help them to decide the best for them.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, or personal counselling with a psychotherapist, is an intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client or patient in problems of living.

It aims to increase the individual’s sense of their own well-being. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behaviour change which are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family).

Most forms of psychotherapy use spoken conversation. Some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, artwork, drama, narrative story or music. Psychotherapy with children and their parents often involves play, dramatisation (ie. role playing), and drawings, with a co-constructed narrative from these non-verbal and displaced modes of interacting. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s). Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; since then, scores of other approaches have been developed and continue to be created.

While some psychotherapeutic interventions are designed to treat the client using the medical model, many psychotherapeutic approaches do not adhere to the symptom based model of “illness/cure”. Some practitioners, such as humanistic therapists, see themselves more in a facilitative/helper role. As sensitive and deeply personal topics are often discussed during psychotherapy, therapists are expected, and usually legally bound, to respect client or patient confidentiality. The critical importance of confidentiality is enshrined in the regulatory psychotherapeutic organisations’ code of ethical practice.

In New Zealand there are also registered psychotherapists via PBANZ (Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand). Registered psychotherapists are required to have: academic and clinical training; assessment; have had their own personal psychotherapy; engage in on-going training and have clinical supervision.

What Is Psychology ?

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and experience. It comprises an internationally established body of knowledge about human behaviour, research to obtain and extend that knowledge and a field of professional practice where psychological skills and knowledge are applied.

The practice of psychology represents the application of psychology as a scientific discipline to solve social and behavioural problems and to promote human welfare and development.

Some psychologists specialise in one or more of the following; therapy and counselling, assessment and report writing on issues to do with mental health or family functioning, or in children’s abilities and needs at school.

Many psychologists in private practice provide services on an individual basis or as part of a group practice with other psychologists or other health professionals.

Psychologists therefore may be in private practice or employed by: Universities and Polytechnics; the public sector including District Health Boards, the Department of Corrections, the Courts, Ministry of Education, Child Youth and Family Service, Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Police; therapy and counselling agencies; and larger organisations may employ psychologists in human resource management positions. Some psychologists work for community and voluntary welfare organisations.

What Is Psychiatry ?

A Medical doctor specialising in psychiatry is a psychiatrist. Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders, which include various affective (eg. anxiety, depression), behavioural (eg. addiction, violence, self harm), cognitive (eg. memory, logic) and perceptual disorders (eg. schizophrenia).

Mental disorders are currently conceptualised as disorders of brain circuits likely caused by developmental processes shaped by a complex interplay of genetics and experiences. In other words, the genetics of mental illness may really be the genetics of brain development, with different outcomes possible, depending on the biological and environmental context.

Those who practice psychiatry are different from most other mental health professionals and physicians in that they must be familiar with both the social and biological sciences. The discipline is interested in the operations of different organs and body systems as classified by the patient’s subjective experiences and the objective physiology of the patient. Psychiatry exists to treat mental disorders which are conventionally divided into three very general categories; mental illness, severe learning disability, and personality disorder. While the focus of psychiatry has changed little throughout time, the diagnosis and treatment processes have evolved dramatically and continue to do so. Since the late 20th century, the field of psychiatry has continued to become more biological and less conceptually isolated from the field of medicine.

Mental disorders are diagnosed in accordance with criteria listed in diagnostic manuals such as the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Treatment may be as an inpatient or outpatient, according to severity of function impairment and the disorder in question.

Please Note – We do not have any Psychotherapists / Psychologists or Psychiatrists working at Bay Counselling & Therapy Service