From our earliest days we each perceive the world in a uniquely personal way. This sets up internal processes, habits and ways of being and relating. They are underpinned by the way we see others and the way we see ourselves. These internal processes are often valuable and protect us from the challenges we face as we develop, but they can become unhelpful and even damaging as our lives progress. They are often magnified by life circumstances such as loss, relationship breakup, illness and chronic mental or physical pain. We can find ourselves distressed, unhappy and stuck, often for long periods.
It is at such times we want or need to talk to someone else, to know that someone else is listening, to feel understood and accepted no matter how hard things are. We want to get a better sense of what is really going on and to see our difficulties in new perspective and to know that there is somewhere to talk in safety and privacy.
All humans face the pain of our imperfection. We are flawed and we don’t like it. Above all we want to avoid our flaws being visible. We try very hard to suppress them and change, yet no-one notices.
Whilst some people feel strongly about these words, they are now often used interchangeably. A commonly cited distinction is that psychotherapy may go on for longer and may go deeper.