Counselling Therapy toward a Better Future

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    Sep 09, 2013
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Counselling Therapy toward a Better Future Photo by Freyaw Yatt

We have all experienced, at one time or another, the help of a supportive ear to listen to frustrations in life, whether they are caused by family, intimate relationships, friends, or work colleagues.  No doubt many times we all have been on the listening side of the conversation, giving someone else some support and assurance during their times of difficulty.  Regardless of the situation, we know that speaking to someone who takes a personal interest in our situation can, in itself, be helpful. 

Sometimes, however, the difficulties in life go beyond that which a personal network of support can provide.  In some cases, situations have very complex causes, or otherwise, are brought about due to illnesses that go beyond the realm of a family health physician’s realm of diagnosis.  In these cases, turning to clinical counseling by professional psychologists can bring about a more advanced level of support, one which is made possible by advanced study into the various human conditions that we encounter, which go beyond our normal ability to handle day-to-day problems.  We Australians can be very opinionated, but we are also good listeners, and have a progressive view on life. Whether in Sydney, Perth or Melbourne, psychologists and counselors can be found, ones who are ready to listen and offer supportive advice.

Indeed, the right clinical care can make a significant difference in the way a troubled individual perceives his or her problems.  This therapy can be accomplished when the caregiver can investigate and determine the root cause of difficulties, and then prescribe a proven methodology for treatment and care.  This task is the fundamental objective of clinical psychology and counseling services.

Finding the right person to deliver this type of care is critical to success.  As a starting point, the most important attributes are those which make the patient feel cared for, and those which engender trust between the patient and the caregiver.  With this foundation in the clinical relationship, the therapist is then able to help the individual increase his or her self-awareness as to the core problems in the given situation, as well as to its root causes.  Otherwise, some people may wish to find a caregiver in another city, seeking full anonymity of care.  While all therapists adhere to the highest professional standards, someone in a nearby small town may prefer travelling to the city, for example, to see a Melbourne psychologist, rather than one locally.

In this way, however, a good therapist is only half the equation to success.  A “good patient”, in other words, one who is open and active in the process, can make all the difference between long term success and failure.  Sometimes the therapists work is successful due to the patient’s willingness to see an alternative or objective perspective, or to receive guidance and support in a structured manner.  For the therapists work to be efficient, the patient must also make an effort to think carefully about the discussion that is being led by the therapist, and to answer genuinely and openly the different questions that arise during a therapy session.

And here is an important difference between psychology and psychiatry.  Both are acceptable forms of treatment, however the objective of counseling is not to prescribe medication, but rather to find the root psychological causes of an individual’s difficulties, and recommend changes in behavior to overcome these challenges.  Psychiatry would prescribe medication as a means of easing specific symptoms, and in some cases, this type of treatment may be necessary.  Nonetheless, medications often come with side effects which themselves can obstruct normal functioning in personal and social situations. 

With that in mind, there are a couple key things to remember when it comes to clinical counseling.  First off, in most cases, the sessions are focused on life improvement, and in teaching (or learning, from the patient’s perspective) effective ways of handling challenging situations as they arise.  For sure, it’s not because some people are weak or unintelligent enough to handle problems.  Quite the contrary – going to see a therapist about challenging situations is itself a sign of self-awareness and knowledge enough to know that something must change.

Second, although understanding circumstances of the past is often an important patterns of the therapy process, the process itself is not about blame.  Although we know that people in our past have had a significant effect on us, in many cases positive although sometimes negative, the goal of therapy is to work toward a better future.  Taking the past as a given, the patient and therapist can work together to find a way to deal with the present, as a means of building good habits and behaviors that can transform a lifetime. 

Whether in Adelaide or Melbourne, psychology is generally practiced the same throughout Australia, thanks to strict licensing requirements and board-governed certification.  Wherever you are and whatever your situation, you may be confident that the best is yet ahead, and sometimes, that may be thanks to the supportive role of a clinical psychologist or counselor.

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The Author is an expert in psychotherapy services and the best Melbourne Psychologist.

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