‘Counselling’ describes a brief treatment for specific difficulties like relationship problems, stress, panic attacks or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -PTSD.
‘Psychotherapy’ is a longer treatment for problems like chronic depression, eating problems or ongoing anxiety and panic.
When you contact Colleen Heenan she will arrange for you to have a ‘consultation’. This will be one or two initial appointments that help you and her understand your difficulties better. This helps both of you decide what will best meet your needs.
Colleen will ask you more details about:
• what’s making you unhappy
• how long this has been happening
• why you decided to get help now
• what you want and expect
• what other support you have
• your life history
Sometimes just having the consultation is enough to ‘help you help yourself’. If Colleen feels there is someone else who might be able to help you better than she can, she will ask your permission to ‘refer you on’.
Sometimes people simply need a brief ‘helping hand’ to make useful changes in themselves or their situations. Short term counselling (from 4-12 sessions approximately) offers a problem-solving approach with specific difficulties. The counsellor’s role is to help you identify the relationship problem, emotional difficulty, work-related issue or other things causing you to feel overwhelmed. The counsellor will guide you, sometimes suggesting practical ‘homework’ in between sessions. Not everything will be solved but your self esteem and confidence will be boosted – you feel able to try further on your own. Sometimes you may need longer term psychotherapy.
This type of therapy helps people understand and change deep-seated, unconscious reasons for present problems that can feel ‘chronic’. A ‘psychodynamic’ approach describes how we ‘re-live the past in the present’. Sometimes we continue to repeat unhelpful or destructive patterns in our relationships or with ourselves, despite our best intentions. This can inhibit our enjoyment of life, hold us back from developing our potential, and even sabotage success. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is usually long term (30 sessions or more) but this approach (linking the past and present) can be used in briefer counselling when difficulties are less entrenched.
If you and your partner are having relationship problems, perhaps couple counselling can help you. Colleen will see you both together to help you understand why you might have communication difficulties, argue a lot, or feel you’re ‘working against each other’. She helps you both to ‘think together’ and ‘work together’ by listening to each other.