Psychotherapy today is as much about wholeness and wellness as it is about relieving psychological distress. Many people come to psychotherapy with a desire to function more effectively in daily life, to develop greater self-understanding and to build satisfying relationships. Psychotherapy is about relieving unnecessary suffering, healing from trauma and working through life’s challenges. This chapter includes some specific areas of Psychotherapy: Holistic Counseling, Spiritual Counseling, Facilitation, eTherapy,Contemplative Psychotherapy, EMDR and Journal Therapy. Other chapters address Emotional Freedom Techniques and Thought Field Therapy.
Holistic Counselors merge many fields of study into their therapeutic approach. While Louisiana, in particular, does not have a designation for Holistic Practitioners, many Psychotherapists have expanded their boundaries to incorporate other disciplines into their practices in an effort to treat the whole “Self.” Licensed Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Counselors are progressively blending their practices with Movement Therapies, Yoga, Massage Therapy, Breathwork and a variety of other bodywork therapies, such as Reiki, Healing Touch and Rolfing. Other practitioners have focused more on the sensory information and have combined their work with Neurolinguistic Programming, EMDR, Thought Field Therapy, Sound Therapy, Light Therapy, Art Therapy and Color Therapy.
Additionally, Psychotherapists may use Aromatherapy, Nutritional therapy, Feng Shui, Meditation and Spirituality to augment their practices to better meet the individual needs of the client. As the therapeutic journey is about growth and healing, the blending of disciplines allows clients to have more choices in their quest toward wholeness.
Source: Cindy Ashkins, PhD, Metairie LA.
The job of the psychotherapist is to provide a safe and sacred space for healing, to listen skillfully and respectfully, to help clients become aware of their own patterns and belief systems, to offer support that helps each client grow in their unique, individual way, and to facilitate change.
The client’s job is to come as you are, bringing all of your joy, pain, beauty, awkwardness, sanity and neurosis to each session with a willingness to work with what is painful and difficult. A skillful therapist recognizes that you are the expert on your life and is not there to”fix” you but to offer guidance and protective accompaniment as you make the journey to your own healing.
There are many styles and schools of psychotherapy, some of the most common traditional styles being psychodynamic, Jungian, Gestalt, Ericksonion, cognitive, behavioral and family systems. Additionally, many psychotherapists practice in an eclectic way that allows them to draw from many schools of thought as seems most fitting for each client. Studies of the efficacy of psychotherapy have shown that no one school of psychotherapy is more effective than another. What is most important is the relationship that is formed between therapist and client and the client’s willingness and ability to change.
Some common issues for which psychotherapy is helpful are as follows:
- Relationships – marriage, parenting or work
- Trauma and loss – death, divorce, illness, violence or abuse
- Identity – personal, career or sexuality
- Psychological Pain – depression, anxiety, grief or stress
- Personal Development – love, intimacy, creativity or spirituality
- Sports psychology – performance, teamwork or motivation
- Physical illness – particularly chronic and life-threatening
The length of psychotherapy varies greatly depending on the issues being dealt with and the goals of the client. Frequently people are able to make substantial changes and feel better in a relatively short period of time. Deeper, long-standing issues, particularly when there has been much loss or trauma, or a serious commitment to a personal growth process, may take months and even years. A skilled psychotherapist will guide you in setting realistic goals for therapy and respect your own judgment in determining when to end therapy.
When choosing a psychotherapist, it is helpful to find a therapist whom you feel comfortable with and respected by. Most therapists will offer you an opportunity to interview them by phone or in person. Psychotherapists come from many different backgrounds in training and theory but generally have a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology, counseling, pastoral counseling or social work. In Colorado, all psychotherapists are required to be registered in a state-wide database.
Spiritual counseling provides a context within which clients are able to explore their true identity and purpose in life. An experienced counselor is able to help the client see difficult situations and events in life as spiritual opportunities for growth and purification. As spiritual knowledge increases, the qualities of the higher self become more accessible, qualities such as joy, authenticity and insight. The spiritual counselor is able to explain such concepts as the soul, karma, reincarnation and self-realization, and utilize these ideas in the counseling relationship. Many techniques are used, such as visualization, prayer and ritual to help the client go deeply into present experience and find the seeds of transformation.
Sources: Caroline Constantine, MA, Denver CO; Jan Foster Miiller, MA.
Facilitation is a spiritual model for honoring your soul by witnessing you on your journey to greater truth and the discovery of your inner self. Change occurs naturally as the facilitator listens and interacts without bias to allow clarity and understanding to emerge. The Facilitator serves as a catalyst supporting your process, and you are approached with the attitude of “teach me about you.”
In Facilitation, the individual grows increasingly conscious through receiving awareness and inner wisdom from within. As a spiritual service, it directly supports a person to a conscious awareness of what is happening.
Spiritual Facilitation helps you to explore the questions
- “Who are you?”
- “What deeply matters to you?”
- “Where are you on your path?”
A Spiritual Facilitator does not offer advice, labels, or judgments, and does not give diagnosis or prognosis. A Spiritual Facilitator does bring their conscious awareness to your reality as much as possible without interfering with your process and create a supportive environment for your spiritual growth.
Source: Rev Sinda Jordan, Lakewood and Denver CO.
Also see Spiritual Counseling
eTherapy is a relatively new, rapidly expanding and powerful mode of providing excellent therapeutic help online, using the Internet. The therapists are experts with verifiable credentials who can give guidance and advice from most of the therapeutic modalities that face-to-face therapists use. The means used to facilitate the therapy are e-mails, chat rooms and video conferencing. eTherapy can stand alone or be used in combination with many other healing techniques and tools.
For people who, because of physical challenge, remote location, phobias, busy life-styles, need of specific expertise not found locally or other reasons, cannot or do not wish to see a conventional therapist in a traditional setting, eTherapy can make the difference between receiving expert support, advice and guidance or living in isolation, with a feeling of being trapped. eTherapy can be the saving grace which unlocks doors of ignorance and fear with which many people view psychotherapy and other healing modalities. Many people think traditional psychotherapy is too costly, too personal, too invasive, and takes up too much time. eTherapy can be a means of getting help for those with these considerations. eTherapy can be seen as having an expert available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. It is an effective and highly valuable form of healing which can reach and aid many people to live fuller and richer lives.
Source: Karen Turner, MA, LMFT, DAPA, Denver CO.
Contemplative Psychotherapy is based on the 2500-year-old wisdom teachings of Buddhist psychology as applied to Western psychotherapy. In this tradition, what is most important is cultivating the ability to make friends with oneself and one’s own experience – with the fear, anger, hatred and confusion that are inevitable parts of life as well as the brilliance, wisdom and clarity. Rather than continuing in patterns of pushing away or ignoring what is painful and unpleasant or grasping after what is lacking, contemplative psychotherapy encourages us to be present, mindful and curious about ourselves, just as we are. As we befriend our own humanness, we develop compassion for ourselves and others, opening the door to healing and change.
Source: Jan Foster Miiller, MA
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one of the exciting new”power therapies” taking the field of psychotherapy into the 21st century. During EMDR, the client concentrates on the feelings, body sensations, negative thoughts, and a visual representation of the problem while following a back and forth motion of the therapist’s fingers, watching a series of moving lights, or hearing alternating tones through a set of headphones. These methods bilaterally stimulate the brain, bringing the resources of the left and right brain equally to focus on solving the problem.
Brief interchanges between client and therapist are woven into the work until the disturbing situation no longer elicits distress. That situation is then reprocessed, this time with positive thoughts, feelings and associations. In effect, the trauma or disturbance is reframed, and although still remembered, does not continue to cause distress or drive addictive or other unhealthy behaviors. In addition, EMDR often results in powerful new insights, information and understanding.
A typical course of therapy lasts three to ten 90-minute sessions. EMDR can stand alone as a treatment modality or be effectively incorporated into many other psychotherapeutic approaches.
Source: Georgianne Parker, ACSW, LCSW, Denver CO.
Journal writing can be a powerful additional tool in the therapeutic process. It is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with what is going on in the present, to clarify intentions and goals, and to work through difficult emotional issues. Journal Therapy is the purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to facilitate healing. A trained Journal Therapist provides structure and facilitates self-knowledge by guiding the writing process and offering appropriate journal interventions. Journal Therapy is effective for clients with a wide range of diagnoses and life issues. One of the important tasks for persons in difficulty or transition is to tell their story, and Journal Therapy can provide a safe place to tell even the most painful story.
Source: Kathleen Adams, MA, LPC, Lakewood CO.
Also see Journaling
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