Based on contemporary psychoanalytic practice and theory, this approach aims to reach the underlying, often unconscious, causes of distress and it is known as a depth psychological approach. Within the safe setting of the therapy, which allows for taking risks and in the exploration of the interactions with the therapist, the client may discover a new awareness of the roots of conflicts – and be able to change from destructive behaviour to a way of being that is more creative. The therapist helps the individual think about things that have maybe been unthinkable or inexpressible until now.
In this approach, the client is supported to make sense of life through a willingness to face it and its problems. The existentialist belief is that life has no essential or predetermined meaning: the individual is entirely free and ultimately responsible, so meaning must be found or created. This can trigger a sense of meaninglessness, and so the therapy explores the client’s experience of the human condition, aiming to clarify their understanding of values and beliefs, explicitly naming what has previously been left unspoken. The client is supported in living more authentically and purposefully, whilst accepting the limitations and contradictions of what it is to be human.
As a therapy it is regarded as a serious enquiry into what it means to be human, often involving the painful process of squarely facing up to aspects of humanity that are ordinarily avoided and evaded. Existentialist therapists believe that such in depth explorations can ultimately bring great strength and joy.
In addition to understanding what causes distress and imbalance, it is also vital to understand what contributes to mental well-being. There is also a psychology to what makes people feel happy and fulfilled. Hedonic psychology is an informed perspective to psychotherapy, that focuses on the spectrum of experiences, ranging from pleasure to pain, and includes biological, social, and phenomenological aspects and their relationship to motivation and action.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT Is a ‘talking therapy’ that can help someone to manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
DYNAMIC INTERPERSONAL THERAPY (DIT)
DIT is a time-limited and structured psychotherapy, typically delivered over 16 weekly sessions. By identifying a core repetitive pattern of relating that can be traced back to childhood, this approach aims to help the patient understand the connection between the symptoms they present and what is happening in their relationships. Once the repetitive pattern is identified, it will be used to make sense of difficulties in relationships in the here-and-now that could be contributing to psychological stress.