Counselling & Psychotherapy

brian whiter
Brian Whiter – Counsellor & Psychotherapist

Why do people come to counselling?

It is primarily because we want to understand our behaviour and/or we want to change our behaviour. To do this we need to embark on a complex and dynamic process of self- awareness and self-discovery, which allows for the possibilities of change.

We may also seek counselling as a consequence of feeling lost, desolate and unsupported, and at crossroads in our lives, and where we can begin to get a sense of what it means to live authentically.

People decide to engage in counselling when they feel they are unable to make sense of the distress they are experiencing. How we exist, and what we do, determines the essence in our lives. What motivates us in this endeavour often remains elusive and confusing, frequently leading to an accumulation of unsustainable psychological distress. It is from the need to find clarity of mind, purpose in ones existence and the meaning we seek in our daily living, that makes counselling and psychotherapy the context where personal awareness and change occurs.

Counselling then becomes the avenue for us to hear ourselves speak in the company of a therapist. I approach counselling as a form of psychotherapy that encourages the person to talk without censoring herself/himself. It is within this context that a person will get closer to becoming aware of their subjectivity and their own creativity, that has till now, remained hidden. From a process of deep personal questioning, coupled with a sifting through emotions, intuitions and feelings we can arrive at a rare place of personal insight and clarity.

Difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

There is a great deal of overlap in the practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy emerges from years of in-depth study and practice of particular theoretical and philosophical models of therapy. Typically, a Psychotherapist would have undergone personal therapy as a requirement of their academic qualifications. There is no requirement for this in the context of qualifying as a Counsellor.

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) states, “…counselling is more likely to be on specific problems, changes in life adjustments and fostering clients’ wellbeing. Psychotherapy is more concerned with the restructuring of the personality or self and the development of insight” (PACFA, 2013).