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PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychotherapy has become commonplace over the years and a growing part of the population spontaneously consults in the event of mental distress but also when in search of personal fulfillment. It is therefore no longer necessarily the last resort and can prove useful well in advance of the last degree of mental suffering, depression, or stress.

But what type of "shrink" should you choose?

 

The "shrink" denomination actually covers 4 types of professionals, whose differences in approach are sometimes overlooked by the general public (on this subject I recommend that you consult the Serge Ginger article (from which this short description is freely adapted) :

WHAT KIND OF "SHRINK" SHOULD I CONSULT?

PSYCHOLOGY

Psychologists have an official university degree after 5 years of study, and therefore they possess a good theoretical level as well as practical experience in health organizations. However, they are not trained in psychotherapy at the university.

PSYCHOLOGY

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PSYCHOTHERAPY

Those who, like me, practice it are trained in specialized schools in 4 or 5 years of study in accordance with European standards.

They are selected following a selection on the level of education but especially on the balance of the personality (after the prerequisite of an in-depth personal therapy). The training is theoretical, methodological and practical.

(My practice)

PSYCHOTHERAPY

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PSYCHOANALYSIS

Psychoanalysts are psychotherapists referring to a particular approach - psychoanalysis

PSYCHOANALYSIS

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PSYCHIATRY

Psychiatrists are doctors specialized in the treatment of mental illnesses, and have done long studies (about 10 years) and internships in psychiatric hospitals. They are empowered to prescribe possibly "psychotropic" drugs (that is to say intended for the brain), required in the most difficult situations.

PSYCHIATRY

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Psychothérapie

A FOCUS ON PSYCHOTHERAPY

1 / A definition of psychotherapy (by Marie Petit, psychotherapist)

 

"Psychological suffering is mainly generated by helplessness in the face of events of which one feels a victim: mourning, divorce, aging, abandonment, unemployment, illness, inability to communicate, death anxieties ...

Most often the response to these moments of crisis will be the repetition of behaviors acquired during early childhood: rage, depression, flight from reality ...

Medicine provides a drug-induced response which puts the symptom at a distance. A response which is often essential in times of crisis, but which leaves unchanged the patient's position in the face of life's difficulties, and keeps him in a passive position.

The answer offered by psychotherapy consists not only in increasing self-knowledge, but also in developing self-awareness, its limits, its unconscious issues and its potential, leading the person to become better involved in their life.

It is a slow and difficult process that requires the active participation of the person and that of a partner specifically trained for: the psychotherapist. "

 

2 / The different types of psychotherapy

 

We can distinguish 5 types of psychotherapy approaches:

  • Humanistic and holistic therapies (including Gestalt-Therapy which I practice)

  • Psychoanalysis (and analytical psychotherapy)

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Family therapies

  • Integrative therapies

WHAT IS GESTALT?

1/ In short

 

Gestalt therapy is a humanistic, existential and relational psychotherapy. It was founded in the 1950s in the United States.

It is more than a simple type of therapy for people who describe themselves - or are described by others - as "sick". It is also a practical philosophy available to everyone, which emphasizes human growth potential and individual responsibility, and which allows you to explore your own functioning, to manage stress, and develop further.

It allows the person, through the present relationship with the therapist, to learn about their way of being and interacting (sensations, emotions, body movements, values, beliefs, etc.) in order to connect to their needs and to get in authentic contact with others. This heightened awareness empowers and restores the ability to make decisions.

2/ Some key principles of Gestalt Therapy

A THERAPY OF "CONTACT"

Gestalt primarily involves paying attention to the quality of contact when we interact with other people, with the world. When I meet you, how do I restrain myself from being fully myself, and how do you stop being yourself? What should happen so that we can meet without denying ourselves, and be fully recognized?

This contact experience is lived during the session, the therapeutic relationship becomes an experimental laboratory. As a therapist I use my psychological, physical and energetic states as a tool, and I resonate emotionally and physically with what is playing between you and me during the session.

CULTIVATE ONE'S TRUTH

Gestalt aims to cultivate the truth, or at least to acknowledge one's own truth. To find out the truth of my own experience I must first pay attention to what I usually do unconsciously (in "autopilot mode"). I need to observe my thoughts, feelings, wishes, deep desires, reactions, and conscious experience, which are largely in the background or on the fringe of my consciousness. In doing so, I also become more and more aware of the way in which I cut myself off from events, in which I make myself believe things, or in which I try to overcome certain imaginary states, thoughts, and realities.

BODY, AND MIND

Gestalt is a holistic body and mind approach in the sense that it involves ensuring that we remain complete physical beings, not just a mind perched on a body. We are instinctive, physical beings. Our emotions, our feelings, our desires, our aversions all have a physical basis and we react at all times to others with the whole of our being, mixing physical reactions, thoughts and emotions. Gestalt liberates by allowing a more complete experience and physical expression of these thoughts and feelings. So as a therapist I pay attention to what you tell me, but I also take into account your body, your emotions, as well as the feelings that emerge in me.

HERE AND NOW

In Gestalt the present moment is our working tool. Everything that exists is here and now. The past exists here and now, in the form of memories, nostalgia, regrets, history, myths. The future exists here and now, as anticipation, planning, fantasy, expectation and hope, or anxiety and despair.

We cultivate the presence to oneself and to the others in the present moment of the session by observing the way one interacts, we point out and question without judgment fixed behaviors, what triggers suffering, and seek ways to inject more flexibility and creativity into one's life.

FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY

Gestalt psychotherapy is an existentialist therapy. By gradually becoming aware of my way of being in the world I take back responsibility for my actions, rather than reacting automatically to impulses that I blame others for.

Gestalt values individual responsibility and considers the person as an agent of his own change, not as a passive being in the face of events.

The key is not to explain what is going on, but to give people the opportunity to find out for themselves so that they can restore their decision-making capacity.

OBJECTIVE: CHANGE?

Gestalt therapy aims to allow people to draw on their resources to become what they are.

This is the "paradoxical theory of change": change only occurs when I accept myself as I am (which includes my internal conflicts, my dysfunctions ...), and not when I try to become what I am not. Change does not appear when I force myself to change, or when someone else tries to force me to change. It is paradoxically by facing the trouble to accept and be what I am, fully invested in my usual way of being and by rejecting change, that real change becomes possible.

GETTING RID OF ASSUMPTIONS

Gestalt Therapy brings us to realize how much we have come to absorb the assumptions of our families, the education system, our community ...

Although rooted in the past this indoctrination process is still active, with preconceived ideas and opinions relayed by ads and the media which try to dictate our behavior, our political commitments, even the way we behave, eat, dress ... We are constantly flooded with opinions, which can cause confusion.

Finding out what we really adhere to or oppose requires the active work of learning to taste and chew the ideas and opinions that are submitted to us, rather than swallowing or spitting them out right away.

The history of Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt was founded in 1951 in New York by Frederick Perls (1893 - 1970) German psychoanalyst and neuro-psychiatrist, Laura Perls (1905 - 1990) German psychoanalyst and doctor, and Paul Goodman, American writer and thinker.

This current of psychotherapy is part of the parentage of several major currents of thought: psychoanalysis (notably Freud, Reich, Winnicott, Rank), Gestalt psychology (form psychology), phenomenology, existentialism, humanism .

Gestalt therapy continues to evolve, and if it puts above all the emphasis on the experience and the uniqueness of each individual, it is now interested in the contributions of neuroscience which support the scope of its practice.

Nowadays, Gestalt is regularly practiced beyond the field of therapeutic support:

  • In the professional field (coaching, training or business advice)

  • In the personal field (psychotherapy, counseling or personal development)

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