What kind of therapy would be best for me?
Depending on what school of thought the therapist subscribes to there will be a variety of fundamental notions directing the work, which may or may not appeal to you as the person seeking help.
At present there is a vogue for short-term cognitive therapy which aims to address symptoms and reduce the intensity of the disturbance that these symptoms are causing. It is behaviourally focussed. That is appealing to many, for obvious reasons, though there is conflicting evidence about the long-term efficacy of this kind of therapy.
Therapists with a psychoanalytic or psychodynamic training (ie. those theoretical models that privilege the role of a dynamic unconscious in human affairs) place great emphasis on the meaning making and symbol using processes of the unconscious mind. These are compelling and powerful ideas which I have come to place great store by, having embarked on a lengthy psychoanalytic therapy of my own after my primary (Humanistic) training.
Humanistic therapies are grounded in an appreciation of the long history of thought, starting with the classical Greeks, that attempts to study:
A humanistic approach takes full account of our capacities for living creative and fulfilling lives, our capacity to grow, and the struggle with the more destructive forces that limit us and keep us in more self-defeating patterns.
For the full article by Maureen O’Hara giving an historical overview of humanistic psychology go ☞ here.
An integrated approach
Ultimately, any conscientious therapist will have had to do a considerable amount of thinking about what works (and why), and will necessarily have had to come to conclusions about his or her own practice. So, even though I qualified as a Gestalt Psychotherapist (a Humanistic therapy) in 2001, after nearly two decades of doing therapy and thinking about therapy, my work is grounded in a variety of theoretical positions. This enquiry into the practical integration of theories continues to occupy much of my Continuing Professional Development activities.
If you want to read more about the therapeutic process as I see it, go ☞ here.
“ ... those qualities that are unique to human life and that make possible such essentially human phenomena as love, self-consciousness, self-determination, personal freedom, greed, lust for power, cruelty, morality, art, philosophy, religion, literature, and science.”
the American Association for Humanistic Psychology
... but he allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers gave birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
Love In The Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez