Different forms of psychotherapy
There are different ways to approach psychological suffering or enhance the life quality. Most psychotherapies consist of conversations between an individual, a couple or a family and a psychotherapist. Further the therapy can be conducted with a group.
In psygroup we differentiate between the following 5 forms:
Psychotherapy means to listen to oneself under the guidance of an expert. It offers a framework in which can be spoken and practised in a safe and continuous way. People undergoing therapy are often seeking change and stability at the same time (the complaint should disappear, but they want to stay the way they are). The difficulties are shared and examined respectfully, while attention is directed towards problems as well as solutions.
The following questions could arise during the process:
- What is the matter with me?
- Why do I feel trapped?
- What tensions exist in my life?
- I suffer but I don’t know why?
- What may help me?
Questions, which are aimed at improving the quality of life, may also arise:
- How can I live more harmoniously?
- Who am I really?
- Can I give purpose to my life?
During this common search, the responsibility for finding answers is shared, because it is the patient himself, together with the therapist, who has to find answers. In this way, psychotherapy, which starts from a participation model, clearly differs from the medical or diagnosis-prescription model, where the doctor, on the basis of the symptoms, makes a diagnosis and prescribes a treatment. A number of patients do not anticipate having to take this degree of responsibility for their own lives, when in fact this is what lies at the very core of psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy with children
Several problems may occur in a family or educational setting. Parents may have problems in raising and educating their children, while children can have problems at school, with peers or with their parents. This implicates that help can be offered to the child or youngsters as well as to their parents. When is psychotherapy useful?
The problems of children and youngsters can be very diverse. Sometimes children can have emotional problems, e.g. a child ‘worries very much’, is often anxious or has a low self-esteem. Other children can have behavioural problems like telling lies, bullying or aggressive behaviour. Some children may suffer from eating disorders, sleeping problems or cleanliness disorders. Physical complaints can show up, for which no medical reason can be found. Sometimes there are educational problems, problems at school or learning disabilities.
There is always an interaction between the child with problems and its context (e.g. parents, close relatives, school, friends…). Involving parents in the treatment is therefore very useful. The therapist supports the parents by giving specific information about the child’s problem. Sometimes this additional information is sufficient, in other cases parents are actively involved in therapy to help them to cope with a difficult educational problem
Individual therapy is adapted and tailored to the child’s development level, age and needs. Each age requires another way of communication. Young children are approached through their play. Playing is the language of the young child and it contains a lot of information. Without ‘talking’ the child shows what bothers him or her. The therapist interacts with the child in its own ‘language’. The spoken conversation as a way to interact becomes more important with older children. With teenagers the spoken conversation is the most important way of interaction and tool in therapy, although several creative techniques are not excluded.
Tensions in families or between spouses can influence the psychological well-being and the school grades of the child. The opposite is also true; problems of a child can influence the other family members. By means of interacting in a therapeutic context there can be looked for and practised in different ways of communication with each other.
Child Psychotherapy is a treatment meant to help children or youngsters with psychological complaints or behavioural problems. Sometimes the demand for treatment doesn’t come from the child itself but from close relatives or teachers who are suffering from the child’s behaviour.
The therapist takes into account in the treatment both the child’s development level and the context in which it lives (family, school etc..). This requires a specific method and way of working.
In our work we treat children and youngsters with respect and in a way that fits their age and development, and their specific problems and demands. Depending on the nature of the problem, the treatment is directed to working-through events from the past or to find solutions for actual problems. In child therapy there are several approaches.
Couple therapy focuses on the problems in relating at the heart of the couple. The sessions are held with each partner present. Each couple is unique, and both partners create a model that is specific to them. Crisis within the couple corresponds to an inability of the couple to manage its internal problems. This could be due to repeated conflicts, difficulty in communicating, and a lack of confidence in one another caused by infidelity, change in sexual attraction, or a difficulty in adapting to physical or mental illness of the other.
The aim of therapy is not to establish a certain truth, but to favour the invention and exploration of other interpretations and perceptions of reality, in order to maximise the possibilities for conceptualisation and action available to the couple. The therapist does not try to take the place of the member of the couple who feel unable to resolve their difficulties, but aims rather to encourage them to use all their personal and interpersonal resources. The objective of therapy is to find a new equilibrium in the couple, with a view to a better understanding and well-being.
Family therapy considers the psychological difficulties and behaviour of a member of group as a symptom of the dysfunction of the same group (in general the family). It involves therefore a treatment of the family and the participation of all family members.
Instead of centering on individual cases, therapy is addressed to the entire family group. Its aims is to untangle the different problems and give back the family its capacity to function. The suffering of one person is linked to the difficulties of others and impacts on the entire family group.