The word psychotherapy can have different meanings, depending on its therapeutic focus. In order to offer a general idea, mentioning some of these therapeutic focuses, we can say that:
- Psychoanalysis is based on the assumption that there is intra-psychic conflict that remains unconscious for the patient. It focuses its attention on infancy and on primary or parental relationships. From this theoretical assumption, apart from resolving a specific problem, this form of therapy is defined as a process of change in the person as a whole, which leads to a better quality of life. All this is acquired by means of the therapeutic relationship itself, self-awareness, making unconscious ideas conscious, getting to understand them and strengthening the self.
- Psychodynamic therapy is supported by the same theoretical foundations as psychoanalysis, however it does not aim to change a person as a whole. It is focused on the resolution of specific conflict, diminishing symptoms or a change in behaviour. The attitude of the therapist is more active and direct and allows the use of cognitive, educational and suggestive strategies, which may be useful for the patient.
- Humanistic therapy is an approach that focuses on the self-development of individuals, highlighting their existential aspects, such as freedom, responsibility and knowledge. It stresses the uniqueness of human beings, with a positive vision of their nature. It looks for the potential and development of each person. It contemplates both emotional and intuitive issues.
- Ericksonian hypnosis, contrary to psychoanalysis therapy, adopts a perspective that is more greatly orientated towards solving the problem. Its efforts target the renewal of resources that a person has and which, for some reason, at that time in their life have been undermined. It aims to enable the patient to create a future perspective; creating a vision of what the solution would be rather than focusing on the past and the problem.
- The systemic focus understands that the problem that the client has stems from a broader structure of external interactions. This might be their partner, family or people at work etc. and it forms part of a more global vision, in which the family, partners or work colleagues and their interrelation are what shape the problem itself. “The total is more than the addition of the parts”. This theoretical assumption holds that each system looks for its balance subordinating the needs of the individuals. Here, the symptom acquires a sense in the interrelation.
- Post-modern focuses, like narrative or collaborative therapy, derive from the social field and from anthropology. Narrative therapy considers that we are prisoners of a dominant history that is born within a socio-cultural context as well as in an individual context. By means of the use of questions on behalf of the therapist, it tries to free the patient of this dominant history, thus producing a new narrative. Collaborative therapy takes a more philosophical approach, which strives for an equal relationship between both therapist and patient. The therapist creates a space that enables conversation and, together with the patient, tries to find the meaning behind what is happening.
We consider that all of these focuses can contribute something valuable. By considering more therapeutic approaches there is a greater chance that the therapy treatment can be adapted and suited to each person.
Meeting the needs of the person, we propose a work concept in accordance with the wishes and needs of each patient.
At times it is important “to look back and explore the past” for a better understanding of what is going on in the present, building a future with this new knowledge.
In other cases, it is more suitable to analyse our current situation and understand how our different interactions with the people around us (partner, parents, children, friends, boss, work colleagues, etc.) are handled. This understanding can help us to find new ways of relating with others, having a better control in different situations.
We sometimes feel thrown into difficult situations, in which we lose sight of our skills and abilities to face such adversity. In these circumstances, it is necessary for the person to get in touch once again with their resources, gain confidence and feel capable of solving and being in control of these setbacks.
At another time, the priority may be finding a place for reflection in the therapy, where we can listen to ourselves in order to gain more clarity about our ideas with somebody impartial.
Therapy is where you can find this space, and where you can find the guidance and information you need about what is worrying you, where you can express yourself freely without being worried about being judged, and with the certainty that everything that is revealed is completely confidential.
How long does a therapy treatment last for?
The duration of a course of therapy may vary depending on:
- the severity of the problem,
- the patient’s need,
- the objective they seek,
- the resources available,
- the patient’s ability to work in therapy,
- the specific circumstances and
- the exterior support they have.
This means that a course of therapy may last for several months or even years, although the results will be observed throughout the whole process.