“All real living is meeting,” – Martin
An offering of compassionate presence, psychotherapy
is a sacred undertaking.
By reclaiming thoughts and feelings screened from awareness and integrating
disavowed aspects of the self, we not only create a more expansive personal
but direct our attention beyond concern with the ego, towards relationship with
one another, with our community and with the environment that sustains us.
Psychotherapy addresses such manifestations of psychological malaise as tension,
anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence as well as “acting out”
behaviours such as addiction.
Among the psychodynamic therapies are various traditions. Dealing with the drama
of early infancy and childhood development, Freudian or Kleinian psychoanalysis
and Object Relations schools pay particular attention to the effect of early
childhood experience and upbringing in engendering inner conflict. The process
of making the unconscious conscious, it is believed, enables infantile fixations
to be jettisoned and deep personal change to take place. The therapist acts as
facilitator and the quality of the client/therapist relationship is pivotal to
the outcome, with the therapeutic alliance serving as a safe container for any
emotional turmoil that may arise.
Humanistic and Existential schools emphasise questions of meaning and the living
of an authentic life. Jungian and Psychosynthesis approaches are concerned with
the integration of disowned aspects of the psyche and with maintaining a healthy
relationship between the ego and the spiritual centre of being, referred to by
Jung as the Self and by Assagioli as the Higher Self. These latter perspectives
emphasise the transformative potential of suffering.
In contrast to the psychodynamic therapies, cognitive or cognitive/behavioural
therapy (CBT) deals with the present and the conscious mind and involves
consciously changing self-defeating attitudes, thoughts and behaviour.
Goal-orientated and focused on problem-solving, it is usually offered on a
short-term basis. Cognitive and Eastern approaches fuse in Mindfulness-based CBT.