counselling psychotherapy

therapy rocks!

National Psychotherapy Day Instagram Challenge

© Can Stock Photo / GeorgeDolgikh

Psychotherapy has an image problem.

Let’s change that because we know that therapy is an effective, economical, natural, and meaningful way to improve lives.

National Psychotherapy Day has been campaigning since 2012, fans of National Psychotherapy Day:
?Share therapy effectiveness research
?Donate time or money to support low-fee counseling centers
?Give constructive feedback to therapists
?Talk and write about therapy to fight stigma, and
?Wear turquoise on September 25th to show support

This year I am hosting an Instagram Challenge and I’d love for you to join me!

Join the Instagram Challenge by posting a photo a day to educate the public about all things counselling and psychotherapy. I will repost and share a link to the best photo each day on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook  

National Psychotherapy Day Instagram Challenge – How Do I join?

  1. Follow me on Instagram and send me a message there so that I can a) follow you back and b) send you the photo list prior to September 1.
  2. Let me know any suggestions you have for photo a day ideas/topics eg. favourite psychotherapist, inspirational quote, a therapist’s chair, best book for depression etc. I will choose the most popular 25 responses to use for the photo a day prompts
  3. Leave your Instagram handle in the comments below so that we can all follow each other. Alternatively, use the #tags below to find your challenge colleagues
  4. From September 1, post the photo a day
  5. Tag me @Jodie.gale in your photo a day
  6. Use the #tags: #NPD17 #nationalpsychotherapyday #psychotherapy #therapyrocks #hipstertherapy #therapyhelps #photoaday
  7. Share your challenge photos to your other social media accounts to educate the public about psychotherapy
  8. Follow National Psychotherapy Day on social media and tag them in your posts

Why Join the Challenge?

  1. Express your creativity
  2. Become part of a counselling and psychotherapy community on Instagram
  3. Promote positive images on Instagram
  4. Educate the public about the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy
  5. Share your practice pics and links with the public (SEO tip: you could write a short blog for each photo, add the link to your Instagram pic and share the blog on your other social media accounts!)
  6. Build your Instagram followers
  7. Support National Psychotherapy Day

NB: this is also open to counsellors, social workers and psychologists 🙂

National Psychotherapy Day Photo-A-Day Prompts

National Psychotherapy Day 2017 Photo-A-Day Prompts. Image credit: Jodie Gale

 About Jodieas-seen-in-december-16-pink

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 20 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly, Allambie Heights and Frenchs Forest on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Want to train as a counsellor or psychotherapist? Here’s what you need to know.

therapytrainingWant to train as a counsellor or psychotherapist? Here’s what you need to know.

Training to be a counsellor or psychotherapist are two of the most rewarding professions there are.

Traditionally, training was a rigorous journey which focused on the trainee’s self and spiritual development as much as it did academic and professional development. It provided the trainee with the solid inner ground that is necessary to work in this field.

In recent years, and in alignment with expected counsellor and psychotherapist employment growth, training organisations have popped up all over the place offering counselling and psychotherapy courses of varying awards (Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor, Master or Ph.D), duration (from a few months up to 8 years) and methods of learning (in person, online or blended).

With some training organisations using aggressive marketing campaigns, aiming for bums on seats and dangling carrots of shorter course duration and the capacity to earn $$$ – this sparked a passionate discussion in one of my online psychotherapy forums about what good training is and what potential therapists should look for in a training.

In this blog, I interviewed experienced therapists of varying disciplines from Australia and abroad, who provide counselling and/or psychotherapy services. Most of the therapists here have worked in both agencies and in private practice. They share their experience of their training and provide some of their top tips about what to look for when choosing a psychotherapy or counselling course.

counsellormargryan

Marg Ryan. Melbourne. Australia

Relationship Counsellor | Psychotherapist | Supervisor

My somatic psychotherapy training had such a profound impact on me and my future life direction, I rave about it passionately whenever I get the chance!

It made me a much more self-aware person, softer, more compassionate much more gentle and kind towards others and myself, a much better mother and a more loving and available partner.

But… it was one of the toughest things I have ever undertaken – much harder than my Master’s Degree!!! About as tough as being a good enough / at times (attempting) great mum!

My training was spread over three years with a requirement to complete a minimum of 25 hours personal therapy in each year of the program. Most students remained in therapy for the whole three years of the program which enabled us to really walk in the shoes of our future clients.  As “wounded healers” we also got to work through our own issues. Consequently, we could be much more effective at helping others with their problems without getting tangled up in our own histories within the sessions. The other big bonus was seeing an experienced therapist in action.

This very intimate, relationship based experiential program was combined with rigorous academic training.  We had to read from cover to cover complex texts on the different theories of trauma and what works in helping others.  To truly embed the learning inside ourselves we then had to present in front of the class what we had learnt. Over and over we had to teach what we were trying to learn to consolidate the learning. This experiential learning approach resulted in the theories becoming a part of me as a person.

The training participants also had to engage in three years of intensive group therapy. It rocked. We got to see up close and personal the myriad of issues clients / students present with and how different experienced therapists handled and helped each person with their issues.

The course changed my life! I came out the other end inspired, feeling well grounded in a wide range of psychological theories and really confident with a lot of good tools in my tool kit for how to work effectively with people in emotional pain.

I have an ongoing sense of gratitude about the course because I realize now how well it has prepared me for working as a therapist in private practice.

My recommendation would be to find a training which includes as many of the above elements as possible.

counsellortoniToni Jackson. Perth. Australia

Counsellor | Psychotherapist

What I loved most about my training (Gestalt Training Institute WA) was that it was predominantly experiential.

I spent four years in a group environment, observing and participating in actual therapy sessions, with live supervision.  These experiences were invaluable in terms of my professional and personal growth, knowledge, skill and self-awareness.  In addition, I was required to have ongoing personal therapy and clinical supervision.  It would be fair to say this training changed my life.

When considering which counselling or psychotherapy training you would like to do, I recommend:

  • Choosing an experiential training which encourages personal therapy, group work and supervision.
  • Having some sessions with a therapist trained in the approach in which you are interested.  This will give you a feel for that particular therapy in a way that merely reading about it will not.  If you are going to spend a lot of time and money studying and then working from that approach, it needs to resonate with you.  Being a therapist involves bringing yourself to the work – to the therapeutic relationship – so it is important you believe in what you are doing.
  • Seeing if you can find someone who has completed the training you would like to do, to get their perspective on what they got out of the course and how they have experienced applying their training to their work (and how they found their qualifications have been received by potential employees).

counsellorreneebeckRenee Beck. Oakland CA. U.S

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist | Dreamworker | Transpersonal Therapist

I started grad school at a wonderful university, whose philosophy & political involvement I agreed with. The classes were great, but were all theory (which I’m pretty good at learning on my own) and no experiential work, and the classes were traditional psych.

I found a school with a Transpersonal MA program (which is where my heart sings), and all of my teachers were licensed therapists. We got hands-on experience in a variety of modalities, and heard directly from practitioners what being a therapist was like. Classes were small, so teachers knew us and were able to really help our learning.

I got to study Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork with Strephon Kaplan-Williams, Somatic Dreamwork with John Conger, and Cross-Cultural Symbolism with Angeles Arrien, as well as learn all the regular info in a traditional grad counseling program. At that point in time, the Transpersonal approach was new, so we had to be enrolled in the dual degree program, where we also got an MA in Clinical Psych—best of both worlds!

I recommend:

  • Going with a program that speaks to your heart and to your core beliefs about how people change.
  • Choose a school that offers modalities that you love, ones that feed your creative fire. As a therapist, you will likely be most effective for your clients doing the work that you are passionate about!
  • Interview current students, as well as graduates doing internships, and some licensed graduates.
  • Try to sit in on some classes, and hang out in the break rooms or on campus to get a real feel for the place. Make an appointment with the field placement office to find out about the variety and quality of their sites.
  • Choose a school where a good number of the teachers are also qualified therapists who are actively practicing psychotherapy.
  • If you’re going after a license, make sure the school is accredited or approved by your state licensing board.
  • You’re going to be investing several intense years of your life and a fair bundle of money into the school you choose, so make sure the program provides the things most important to you!
  • Quality training not only teaches you theory, law and ethics, but allows you to practice and apply clinical skills. With the right teacher or supervisor, you’ll also learn to explore your own countertransference as it comes up in your work. Being able to feather out and identify which parts of what you’re experiencing are yours, which are the client’s, and what is going on in the larger therapeutic relational field is an incredibly valuable tool for improving your work with a client.

counsellorclintonpowerClinton Power. Sydney. Australia

Gestalt Therapist | Relationship Counsellor

In my postgraduate degree in counselling and psychotherapy we participated in group therapy for four years where we all worked on our own personal issues and interpersonal relationships. This was an amazing experience that helped me learn so much about myself and the way I relate to others.

After I did my postgraduate degree in counselling and psychotherapy, I then did a four year degree in Gestalt therapy which was highly experiential. There was a big emphasis on continuing to work on our interpersonal relationships and doing our own therapy with a Gestalt therapist. This was absolutely invaluable in my journey to become a qualified therapist.

My top tips for choosing a counselling or psychotherapy training are:

  • It’s absolutely essential that it has experiential components to it.
  • It’s important to make sure you are actually working as an intern with clients throughout your training to get hands-on experience.
  • It’s crucial that the training institution mandates you do your own therapy throughout the course of your training.
  • It’s essential to choose the best quality training possible as it means your clients will get the best help possible
  • I would avoid counselling institutions that say you can study for one year and then open a private practice. It’s completely unrealistic that you could do a one year counselling diploma and then think you could provide effective therapy to people.

counsellorchrisadamsChris Adams Richards. West Jordan. Utah. U.S

Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Therapist

I had the amazing opportunity training at the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah.

I received such great training there! They had local experts in a variety of approaches and specialties come each month to talk about what they do and they gave us a course in each of their specialties.

I learned how to incorporate my feminism into therapy and how to practice Feminist Multicultural Therapy.  When I was trained, the Women’s Resource Center was the only place in the U.S. which trained therapists in Feminist Multicultural Therapy – it’s more than just being a feminist!  I use my training every day.  It shaped who I am as a person and as a therapist.

When choosing your training, go for one which is in alignment with your passion and your values.

counsellormelissaMelissa Ferrari. Penrith. Australia

Psychotherapist | Counsellor | Couple Therapist

What I loved as a graduate from my Advanced Relational Psychotherapy training with Transactional Analysis foundation at The Australian Centre for Integrative Studies (Sydney) was the amount of group process we did on a regular basis. This training was made up of 4 year basic training in live groups on campus (plus 4 year post-training and supervision).  I believe the  amount of group process activities we did  was key in teaching me to sit in silence in the presence of another’s pain. It taught me the self-discipline of not always needing to fill spaces with words or solutions and the power of just being there.

I recommend the following when looking for a training body or college:

  • Be sure that the trainers have experienced the same training that you are about to undergo.
  • A major component of any counselling or psychotherapy training should be that you are required to have completed your own personal psychotherapy or analysis. I believe that the person or trainer who is about to undergo your training journey with you, needs to know personally what it’s like to “sit in the hot seat”. This will help with your own personal journey, self-reflection and challenges that are needed to become a good clinician.
  • Find a training where writing a journal or being in group processes about your own personal therapy process is an important focus of your learning. I truly believe that institutions that accredit counsellors/psychotherapists without self-analysis or self-reflection being part of the training are missing the importance of knowing the “self” and its impact on clients they work with.
  • Good quality training which includes self-development helps us as clinicians to sit with a client in their shame, pain, loss etc – mindfully and consciously. It teaches us the ability to just be with another while we hold our theories and framework while being “there” for our clients in a capacity that helps them to grow.
  • If it is going to be your core counselling or psychotherapy training, avoid one that is online, particularly if it doesn’t have sound and solid meet – ups, group process and participation which is face to face.

counselloremmacameronEmma Cameron. Colchester. UK

Integrative Arts Psychotherapist

I chose Integrative Arts Psychotherapy because the combination of arts and psychotherapy was (and still is) so compelling and fascinating to me. I loved the idea of using images, stories, and arts-based techniques in psychotherapy. It is therefore important you go by your level of excitement and interest in the course and psychological discipline.

You will want to feel a deep-down authentic confidence that your training was solid and thorough, giving you a good grounding in both theory and practice. I know too many counsellors who feel apologetic and shaky because they feel that in their training they ‘missed out’ in some important way, and it can really affect their work with clients and their trust in themselves.

So how can you tell that a training program will be thorough? Here are some things to ask about:

  • Visiting lecturers. Is the course mainly taught by just two or three people? The better trainings pull in a range of practising therapists who can each provide a unique perspective. Some of them are likely to have published articles online or in print; read these and see what you think.
  • Personal therapy requirements. Are trainees required to be in therapy during the training? If not, go elsewhere! Even if you yourself are wise and are in personal therapy, there will be fellow students who won’t. The ensuing blocks in their ability to process and think about the whole range of feelings and experience will mean that your training seminars are less rich and much less rewarding. My training demanded that trainees had a minimum of 40 sessions per year for four years, and I think that is a good guideline*.
  • Pass rates. Do all trainees achieve the award first time round? Think about it: how much satisfaction and confidence will you have in your training, if pretty much anyone can get through? In my own training, each year several students failed to pass the final hurdles: dissertation and viva exam. Even though this can feel unfair and unwarranted at the time, it also means that all trainees work incredibly hard to brush up on both theory and practical skills, and ultimately this gives them an enormous depth of confidence.

*[my article on why therapists should have therapy is here]

counsellorandiszaszAndrea Szasz. Mosman & Bondi. Australia

Psychotherapist | Daring Way Facilitator

In my experience good psychotherapy training needs to be experiential with solid theoretical basis. To become an effective therapist one has to work through their own triggers or as I call them: sticky points.

When choosing training, the following should be taken into consideration:

  • To have a good understanding of history and theory of psychotherapy, and yes the dirty word research as well!
  • Theoretical grounding that is really in line with your interest. For example, The Conversational Model I completed my Master’s in, focuses on complex developmental trauma – I was especially looking for an in-depth training in this area.
  • Face-to-face learning. While I am a big believer of online education, I think psychotherapy is best learned through human interactions and having conversations with our educators and peers. In my training we had weekly seminars where we sat together for hours and had deep discussions about how we humans work. I really miss that now that my training has ended.
  • Weekly individual supervision. In my Conversational Model training, I had to present my recorded therapy session each week. It was really confronting and extremely useful.
  • Weekly group supervision. In my training, we all presented recordings and then we discussed what is going on within the therapeutic relationship. I learnt so much about myself during these sessions.
  • Participate in your own therapy. While Sydney University is legally unable to make the students participate in their own therapy compulsory, they strongly encourage them. I think that is a very important part of good training. As we know now from research, it’s not the method that heals; the relationship with the therapist is the major factor.
  • Choose educators who have done their own personal work.
  • Avoid training that is solely online. Training is best when it has experiential components. This doesn’t mean just sitting in the classroom learning theory – it means actually experiencing group process.
  • Run a mile from training where the educators deny their own need for therapy. When I was completing my Grad. Dip. in Psychology one of the professors told the 150 of us in the lecture room that he finds the idea of psychologists needing their own therapy ridiculous. The 149 of them laughed in agreement with him. I never did become a psychologist!

counsellorjodiegaleJodie Gale. Allambie Heights & Manly. Australia

Soul-Centred Psychotherapist | Therapeutic Counsellor | Eating Psychology Specialist | Transformational Life- Coach

I trained in a Diploma of  Therapeutic Counselling and Master’s in depth psychotherapy at the Institute of Psychosynthesis and Middlesex University in the UK. I was so passionate about psychosynthesis as a modality – I returned to the UK from Australia specifically to study under teachers who were trained by Roberto Assagioli; neuroscientist, influential thought leader in transpersonal psychology and the founder of psychosynthesis.

In total, the training took me eight years! In addition to theory and academic work, it included 500 client hours, group clinical supervision, 50 case presentations, 40 hours a year of personal 1-1 psychotherapy with a psychosynthesis psychotherapist, monthly group forum and 6 days a year of right relations group psychotherapy experience. We also spent one week a year at summer school in Dorset where spiritual practice and ritual were practised. The focus in Psychosynthesis training is to experience the journey of the soul, not just to learn theory. It means that we walk the journey our clients will be walking with us throughout their therapy.

My top tips for good psychotherapy or counselling training are as follows:

  • Research the different modalities. For example: transpersonal, psycho-spiritual, existential, Gestalt, art- therapy, somatic, Buddhist, feminist, psychodynamic or Jungian analysis. Which of these modalities makes your heart sing?
  • Do you want to be a counsellor or a psychotherapist? These are two separate disciplines. Psychotherapists work long-term and at greater depths using psychodynamic principles such as transference and countertransference and the therapeutic relationship. Counsellors tend to work more short-term and with specific issues. You can read more about the difference between counsellors and psychotherapists here.
  • Know that a good training will change your outlook on life and it will impact all of your relationships (including some you may need to let go of!). Do you have the capacity, time, commitment and space for such a change?
  • Choose training where personal and group psychotherapy are prerequisites and the focus of the training is on the self and relational development of the trainee – inner work is far more important than focusing on academic achievement. Many people choose the helping professions because of their own wounding (Jung called us ‘wounded healers’) – this needs to be worked through sufficiently enough to not cause harm to clients. Therapy for me is the number one requirement. You can read my article Why your therapist should be in therapy  for a more detailed explanation about why this is so important.
  • Find out which clinical placements are available throughout your training. You will make great contacts and may even be offered employment when you finish your training.
  • Avoid online training if this is your core training. You will not gain the depth of experience required to work as a counsellor or psychotherapist through an online program.
  • Whilst short courses might be tempting, a training which takes place over many years provides you with the time and space to find your feet as a therapist. It also helps to hone your expertise and niche area for when you choose employment or go out on your own in private practice. Look at the length of the training as part of your professional, self and spiritual development.

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

Do you practise counselling or psychotherapy? We would love to hear your top tips for selecting a training. Please comment below.

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Therapeutic Counsellor, Eating Psychology and Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Best Bloggers Who Advocate for Mental Health and Wellness

Australia-Counselling-Mental-Health-Blogger-badge_3Frustrated with the state of psychotherapy in Australia – a few years ago – I started my blog Therapy Rocks! My main aim was to help educate the public about the true nature and benefits of psychotherapy. As well as blogging about how therapy rocks, I also write from a soul-centred perspective about women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing.

This week I received a wonderful surprise in my inbox – along with over 30 other mental health and wellness bloggers, I am thrilled to be chosen by Australia Counselling as one of their 2015 BEST BLOGGERS!

Australia Counselling, founded by Clinton Power, “is a 100% Australian owned and was created as a resource for all Australians to connect with counsellors and therapists in their local area. The mission of Australia Counselling is to improve the mental health and quality of life for Australians, no matter where they are, by providing immediate online access to hundreds of professional counsellors and psychotherapists. Australia Counselling also has hundreds of articles on mental health issues with high-quality information and resources to improve mental health and well-being.”

If you missed them the first time, you can check out a comprehensive list of blogs from my website, as well as my guest posts from some of the biggest psychology blogs on the planet!

This post is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Therapeutic Counsellor, Eating Psychology and Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Why Psychosynthesis Therapy Rocks!

psychosynthesis books2A Psychology of Soul: Psychosynthesis

Psychosynthesis as a modality is much loved by both therapists and clients because of the hopeful context that is held. I recently interviewed some of my colleagues  – here is what they had to say about psychosynthesis; the benefits for them personally, professionally and for their clients.

Ratna Dyer, New Zealand

Ratna studied spiritual psychology for eight years. This has meant learning to live spirituality, not just as ideas but in her everyday reality. She has come to understand that the keys to a loving and fulfilling life are through compassion, self-awareness, and meaningful close relationships.  It is with that purpose that she is of service as a qualified psychosynthesis counsellor, to heartfully connect through the joy and the pain, accessing the gifts inherent within being human. Ratna practises in Ponsonby in Auckland, New Zealand. She writes this about psychosynthesis:

“Personally, training in psychosynthesis has brought me a wonderful way of being able to create a compassionate bridge between spirituality and the everyday reality of being a human being.  It has helped me to be more in my body, balance/tame my emotions, and quieten my thoughts.  I feel more peaceful and connected in life, both with remaining present through the difficult experiences and with a heigthened capacity for joy.

My clients benefit from psychosynthesis in that they can learn to balance the information they receive from their body, feelings and mind into understanding and listening to a deeper knowing of themselves. My clients can be guided to learn to take the time to listen and trust this inner knowing, and recognise with confidence and enjoyment an authentic experience of self.”

Adrienne Jeffries, Australia

Adrienne  trained at Psychosynthesis Adelaide with Dr Mary Fairbrother who was trained by Edith Stauffer. She also had the privilege of attending workshops with Edith. Alongside psychosynthesis, Adrienne is a qualified mental health social worker and is trained in family and couple therapy. Her consulting practice was established in Adelaide, South Australia in 1985.  In Adrienne’s practice she works with all sectors of the community: adults, children, business, schools, groups and individuals. She also provides psychosynthesis supervision and runs training and workshops in psychosynthesis. This is what Adrienne has to say about psychosynthesis:

“The process of Psychosynthesis inspired and supported my recovery as I progressed through the grief and loss of my mother. The whole Psychosynthesis process resonated with my life and work. I talked about writing a book on my work when I read “What We May be” by Piero Ferrucci. I felt I had “come home” as my first imagined book seemed to be reflected in those pages. A beautiful and sensitive understanding of humanity was affirmed for me. That was 28 years ago. I knew I wanted to train in Psychosynthesis and so immersed myself in the process. Psychosynthesis made sense and my work and therapeutic practice started to transform and continues to do so.

It is an amazing process and my personal life and professional life are supported and enriched by the understanding and intuitive wisdom I have developed from my personal work and teaching Psychosynthesis to my students.

Clients who see me benefit from the deep presence I have developed and continue to evolve as I hold a safe space for their unfolding. Recently a client commented that he came to see me not just for my knowledge but specifically for who I am. “Who I am” has been influenced by this work and I continue to deepen my experience through the journey of self and Psychosynthesis.

Psychosynthesis is truly an awesome way to work, as I know I have a traveller and guide, a client and therapist and a learner and knower within and I know I am much, much more than all my identifications and sub-personalities. I now own my wisdom which is part of the collective wisdom of this wonderful creative universe that is home to all of humankind.

Psychosynthesis is a dynamic, transformative approach I use in my life and my work and I am honoured to be able to offer my learning and teaching to others. Self-identification and the development of will have lead me to an inner safe sanctum.

 I know my clients can also take action to experience an inner safe place where they may choose to create their own destiny.”

Bernadette Devine, United Kingdom

Bernadette is a Master’s qualified psychosynthesis psychotherapist, has a Master’s in Medical Anthropology, and is currently undertaking her DProf at Middlesex University in the UK. She has a background in nursing, health policy analysis, risk management, medical negligence management, and 20 years’ experience in health and business. Recently Bernadette trained to be an instructor of Kundalini yoga and currently she practises psychotherapy at Tooley Street, London Bridge and in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Bernadette jumped at the chance to share with me about psychosynthesis:

“Of all the various forms of psychotherapy training, Psychosynthesis stands out in that its roots are within mainstream psychoanalysis, and has its branches heavenwards. This bi focal approach encompasses the mind, the body, spirit and soul of all psychologies, whilst honouring the unique journey of each individual on the traveller’s path to wholeness.

The beauty of psychosynthesis is that it transcends and transforms the obvious present challenge, into what is trying to emerge into wholeness within each person

Within relationships, groups and work situations, the models  of Psychosynthesis provide maps by which to navigate the waves, appreciate the views and unify the experiences, taking all to new levels of both consciousness and exploration.  It is a smart psychology, timeless as well as timely, and its body of work resides as much in the practitioners as in publications.

The client-therapist relationship has its own unique quality based on the field of psychosynthesis academic literature, which is of a deep respect for clients and what is being explored within each client session.

Psychosynthesis training reassembled the somewhat jumbled configuration of my mind, and reassembled my heart through the soul work of psychosynthesis psychotherapy and training.  Was it easy, no, was it worth it? Yes.

My journey through psychosynthesis training was a dedicated time of deep soul work, and recognition of self in the other.

The training facilitates insight, hindsight and some foresight; this enables a unique therapeutic encounter, resulting in present understanding, an honouring of the past and the hope of the journey towards wholeness, peace, love and presence in the world.”

This post is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

As seen in banner profile2

Jodie Gale MA. has a MA. Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, Dip. Psychotherapy, Dip, Psych. Therapeutic Counselling, B. Social Work, Cert. Eating Psychology, Cert IV Training & Assessment, CMCAPA, ARCAP Reg, PACFA Reg. Jodie trained at the Institute of Psychosynthesis in London and has over 15 years’ experience in psychosynthesis theory and practice. With Dr Trisha Stratford, she runs psychosynthesis continued professional development workshops in Sydney, Australia. The next workshop is July, 2015. Contact Jodie now to book your place!

You can read more about why Jodie is so passionate about psychosynthesis and how it facilitates change in an interview she did with Australia Counselling: In Conversation with Jodie Gale

Creative Spaces: Inside 25 Counselling & Psychotherapy Rooms

Welcome to my blog series Therapy Rocks! To celebrate National Psychotherapy Day on September 25, I have collected images of therapists’ counselling and psychotherapy rooms from around the globe. Gone are the days of the blank screen, these spaces reflect warmth, creativity and authenticity.

In Mark Pearson’s paper on Ideal Counselling Rooms, he shares,

“…Privileged through lack of restriction by a specified physical setting, counselling can be effective while counsellors and clients wander in a garden, sit on the earth, or walk by an ocean. For practitioners working in a more regulated organisational context, the counselling workspace has been reported as a factor that can influence the relationship between counsellor and client, as well as session outcomes.”

In his photo essay, Photographs of Psychotherapy Rooms, Dr Jose Ribas writes,

“The room itself plays an important role, as it becomes the physical “holding environment” where the therapist conveys to the patient that he or she is safe to explore those areas within him/herself that are threatening or causing distress.”

In the Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as Spiritual Practice, Lionel Corbett says,

“When the therapist is aware that he or she is in service to the soul – and this attitude does not need to be spoken – the therapy room becomes the sacred space, the hour becomes sacred time, and the process becomes a ritual in the best sense of that word.”

Creative Spaces: Inside 25 Counselling and Psychotherapy Rooms

Jodie Gale MA. Dip.Psych. BSW.

Psychosynthesis Psychotherapist, Therapeutic Counsellor, Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Group Facilitator and Trainer in private practice on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and Disordered Eating Consultant to Nungkari Treatment Centre in Byron Bay. I am a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

therapyroomsJodie (600x600)

www.jodiegale.com

Clients comment that they love my home office therapy space and how they feel safe and nurtured there. They enjoy talking to my two British Short Hair cats – who can often be found warming my therapy room chair! I chose a dusky purple for the walls – purple is known to be linked with inner power, balancing the mind and emotions, intuition and spirituality.

1) Like most therapists – I have a great bookshelf (or 3!) 2) There are  Goddess, Inner Child and Inner Peace cards for self-care and reflective meditation for both personal and client use 3) My therapy clock 4) Meet Acute – I made this doll and I use it with clients for inner child work 5) Therapy Rocks! A blog series I started to promote the benefits of psychotherapy 6) Female deities & mythological figures collected from the many women’s spiritual retreats I have participated in over the years 7) Kimochis – these are great for developing emotional intelligence 8) A few years ago, I visited Vienna and the house and museum of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis – this is a photo of the front door at Berggasse 19 9) My art therapy and art journaling station – clients can express themselves, make meaning through art and be as creative as they wish to be.

Monique Mercado MA. LPC.

Body-Centered Psychotherapist at Austin Embodied Therapy in Austin, Texas. I specialize in working with trauma, adult children of alcoholics, and survivors of childhood abuse. My approach is Gestalt therapy, which assumes our bodily experience forms the base of our relationships in the world. I blend traditional talk therapy with alternative approaches, such as hypnotherapy, play therapy, and sand tray, into my work with adults and children.

therapy room monique final (600x600)

www.austinembodiedtherapy.com

When my clients enter my office space they are welcomed into a calming space with ambient lighting and Deuter softly playing in the background. Deuter combines acoustic and electronic elements with ethnic instrumentation and nature sounds. My clients share how relaxed they feel when they enter my office. My office is also the place where I write. In between clients I am usually writing. I am a blogger, researcher, and counselor educator, and feel that in order to truly appreciate my office space, you must appreciate the energy and space of me as a writer. My clients often ask me how my writing is going and are always interested in new books on Gestalt therapy. The books in the photos here are ones I read often. Some of the books that I must have nearby are books on trauma, the body, the breath, Gestalt therapy, and Gestalt play therapy.

For me, Gestalt is not only an approach to therapy, it is an approach to being alive and whole. Gestalt is a way of being in the world and I cannot describe my office space without an image of Fritz Perls. Lynnette Davidson, a colleague and dear friend who was a graduate with me at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, drew this beautiful print that reads, “She let herself be seen”. This piece of art has such sentiment value to me and my own growth and healing. This print often starts a conversation with clients about what it is like to be seen as a whole being, rather than only showing parts of our self that feels comfortable.

The focus of my practice is on embodiment. I believe it is through my embodied presence that I am able to establish a healing relationship with my clients. Without somatic awareness of ones self, one cannot be aware of the other. My clients enjoy beginning our sessions with an embodied presence exercise (e.g. body scan); some clients will even report when they are not in their body and ask for assistance to bring them back. I love my embodied space.

Stephanie Sorrell MA.

Psychosynthesis Practitioner, Clinical Support Worker and Author at StephanieSorell.Com. I am passionate about working with – and writing about  – the spiritual dimension of life and the natural environment.  My latest book, Depression: Understanding the Black Dog, is released this month.

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www.stephaniesorrell.com

I live in Cumbria in England and this is the view from my work space window… I’m looking at it now as I type! Each year V’s of geese migrate backwards and forwards across the reservoir.  It is an amazing sound to hear them passing overhead.

Andi Szasz CMCAPA. PACFA. EMDRAA.

Psychotherapist, Supervisor, Group Facilitator, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator at Brave Therapy in Bondi and Mosman in Sydney. I am the first person trained in the Daring Way™ method in Australia and run groups based on the work of Brené Brown.

Therapy room andi (600x600)

www.bravetherapy.com

Many of the items in my therapy room symbolize hope and values, an extension of the Brené Brown, Daring Way™ work that I facilitate. The rocks feel really nice to touch and have happiness, hope, courage written on them. I also have crystals for their healing energy. I have lots of different textures, shapes and colours in the room to wake up the senses and to let clients feel nurtured.

Leslie Marshall MA. PCC.

Independent Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with 10 years of professional helping experience, Master’s in Clinical Pastoral Counselling and Chief Operating Officer at Directions Counseling Group in Worthington, Ohio. I specialize in ADHD, trauma & PTSD, conflict & communication and parenting.

therapy room directions (600x600)

www.directionscounseling.com

Directions Counseling Group was founded in 1993 and most of the therapists have been sharing space here for 5 – 15 years.  We are pleased to have our clients benefit from a comfortable environment while receiving exceptional professional counseling services. New clients regularly define the space as warm, comfortable, inviting and friendly with exceptional customer service. I personally love the ambiance as well as the peaceful spirit that is evident in this place.  Even when I’ve talked with potential independent contractors to join us they’ve complimented the space saying, “there’s just something special about this place”  – and those of us who share this space know it.

Audrey McMorrow MA. CAGS. BCC.

Board-Certified Life Coach, Masters and CAGS in Holistic Counselling and Founder of Vast Horizons Center for Personal Growth in Yarmouth, Maine. My extensive training is in Psychosynthesis, a psychological approach that focuses on achieving a synthesis of the various parts of an individual’s personality into a more cohesive self. I have extensive experience in psychosynthesis guiding and working with individuals, couples and groups on the path of personal growth.

therapy room v1 (600x600)

www.vasthorizons.com

Set in Sparkawk Mill, Vast Horizons offers a supportive and healing sanctuary for those responding to the call of personal growth. What is meaningful in my office is the atmosphere of peace, acceptance and tranquillity, heightened by the sound of the river below. To watch and listen to the flow of the river, you can do so here.

Mari A. Lee LMFT. CSAT-S.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, Supervisor and Founder of Growth Counseling Services, a private practice recovery centre located in Glendora, California. I am recognized nationally and internationally for my ground breaking clinical work with spouses and partners of sex addicts, as well as my work with male and female sex, love and pornography addicts. I co-authored the 5 star Amazon reviewed book, Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts and The Creative Clinician: Exercises and Activities for Clients and Group Therapy.

Therapy Room Mari (600x600)

www.growthcounselingservices.com

As a former interior designer, my deepest desire was to create a serene, calming space that was gender friendly. My clients share feelings of peacefulness and relaxation, some even compare our offices to a spa, which puts a smile on my heart :-).

Christel Abborre

Psychosynthesis Therapist, Life Coach and HeartMath Provider at ChristelAbbore.Com in Helsinki, Finland. I provide psychosynthesis therapy which is a modern and practical school of psychology where the will of the individual plays a central role. With the help of psychosynthesis we can access the potential in us that often goes largely unrecognized and unused. Through therapy we can learn to understand ourselves better and see why we behave as we do.

therapy room Christel (600x600)

www.christelabborre.com

My therapy room is a studio apartment in a quiet location in Helsinki. My goal has been to create a tranquil, clear space free from clutter and distraction – a space that feels safe and welcoming and suitable for all. I feel I have succeeded in doing that. Many clients comment on how peaceful and welcoming it feels to enter the room.  Although my office is located only about 3 miles from the centre of Helsinki, the surrounding is very quiet and the sea is about 100 yards away. Many clients choose to arrive early so they can take a walk before their sessions.  I always have a white orchid in the room and I often use it to describe the process to my clients; it takes time for the bud to mature and bloom and so on. I also have a picture of a rose and a porcelain egg to symbolize psychosynthesis. I have some cushions and wool blankets for comfort and  warmth.  I use the space for writing as well as it is free from distractions.

Jessica Marchena LMHC.

Sabrina Bennardo, LCSW and myself, Jessica Marchena, LMHC founded the Heart Connection Center in Boca Raton, Florida. We named it Heart Connection because we are passionate about Healing Emotions And Relationships Together (HEART).

therapy Room Sabina and Jessica (600x600)

www.heartconnectioncentre.com

Our clients tell us that they feel relaxed and peaceful in our center. The minute they walk in the door and hear the music playing in the waiting room, they feel the stress release. We put our heart and soul into our remodel and into the decor to a create a warm and safe place for clients to come and talk about their relationship pain and improve their connection with themselves and their loved ones.

Amy Tatsumi MA. LPC.  ATR-BC.

Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Clinical Supervisor and Certified Daring Way Facilitator-Consultant at AmyTatsumi.Com in Washington, DC. I specialize in working with women who are feeling stressed, alone, depressed, disconnected, or stuck in their relationships, careers and lives. I help them to reconnect with the people and the parts of their lives that matter most in healthy, meaningful, soulful and authentic ways. Our work together offers a continuum of verbal and experiential modalities, such as art making, sandplay, shame resilience, holistic and mindfulness to support clients to become unstuck. My other speciality is therapy for therapists.

therapy room Amy Tatsumi (600x600)

www.amytatsumi.com

My office in Washington, DC is filled with temenos.  I became a partner in the suite in February and designed my office to flexibly meet the needs of clients.  When clients transition from their hectic city life or career into the office, many remark on the soulful, elegant, and sacred feeling of the space.  They particularly enjoy the full wall of windows with warm natural light (and fresh air when weather permits), the working fire place and are intrigued by the extensive Jungian sandplay collection (which was donated to my practice).  As a continuum of offerings are held here from individual work to weekend group intensives, no space is wasted.  Function, flow, and comfort are maximized from the 8 person working table with a sampling of art tools and media to the 8 seat sitting area. I support most clients in building resilience and self-regulation resources and one of the most favorite parts of the sandplay collection are the coin sized metal charms with varied textures used to explore part of the resource building in self-regulation and grounding.  I am grateful and honored to be able to offer this space for clients to meet themselves in the midst of life’s joys and challenges.

Kylie Beattie Dip. Couns. B. Soc. Sci. (candidate)

Founder, Managing Director, Counsellor and Therapist at Nungkari Treatment Centre in Byron Bay, Australia. I am passionate about working holistically with people who are suffering with addiction and eating disorders.

therapy room kylie (600x600)

www.nungkaritreatment.com.au

What I love about our therapy space is the natural warm light that streams through the windows and the gorgeous view out into the natural surrounds. Listening to the birds chirping, the cows mooing and the sound of the creek flowing when it rains is so peaceful and calming. It feels healing just walking into the room; the smells, sounds, taste and feeling of being surrounded by nature touches people on a soul level. The books reflect a personal journey of healing; I love sharing these literary gems with others looking for recovery. Irvin Yalom and his graceful and humble approach to therapy guide me to this day. The chapter on Struggling by A.H Almaas should be given to every person in treatment and my favourite, Pema Chodron who puts meditation, self acceptance and compassion in simple terms and with such humility.

Elizabeth Hadley MA. MFT.

Marriage and Family Therapist working at HadleyCounselling.Com in Newberg, Oregon, located in the Willamette Valley. I work with couples, children and individuals with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, addiction, marital issues and trauma.

therapy room elizabeth (600x600)

www.hadleycounseling.com

The chair is our “therapist” chair. My colleague, Margaret Fuller and I spent quite a while searching for just the right piece. Something professional, yet warm, that ties our office together and is comfortable to sit in hours per day! I love the style we chose. The art work was a something simple that was given to my colleague and felt like a positive message for our lobby. Plus the look fits our space and the bright frame brings texture to our shelf decor. We have a gorgeous view of the hills outside of Newberg from both of our offices.

We actually spent a while deciding the best way to orient the couch based on what view would be the would be the most soothing to our clients. We decided that the hills would be a great focal point. Many clients have mentioned it in appreciation. Our space on a whole is very warm and inviting. We tend to have a lavender scented candle going where clients walk in and a selection of teas and water. We try to keep track of exactly which tea clients usually choose and keep it in stock at all times. For the parents waiting, we have a wide variety if magazines to keep them occupied and an extremely comfortable couch that I have found several parents napping on more than once! Also, several of my clients have taken their shoes off and curled up immediately after coming into the session room, which I take as a huge sign of being comfortable in the space.

Kaye Bradley Williams LMFT.CSAT.

Licensed Marital and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist at Hope & Healing Now in Franklin, TN. I work with people who are struggling with sexually compulsive behaviors or  addictions.  I also work with spouses or partners of addicts to help  them understand intimacy issues and to assist them in dealing with the  intense feelings of betrayal and confusion that often arise upon discovery.

therapy room Kaye Bradley Williams (600x600)

www.hopeandhealingnow.com

This is a chair in my office with two pillows that I made using stencils. Clients love these words of affirmation. The pillows are comfy and easy to hug too.

Blake Jones Ph.D. LCSW.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Access Wellness Group, Adjunct Professor in the University of Kentucky, Consultant and Researcher in the area of child abuse and neglect. I enjoy working with: couples, including pre-marital counseling and post-divorce counseling, men’s issues, anxiety, depression, work-related problems and issues of spirituality.

therapy room blake (600x600)

www.accesswellnessgroup.com

I love this space in my therapy office because it has my three favorite things in it: my wife, music, and therapy books.

Amy Sugeno LCSW.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I primarily work with adults who have experienced childhood complex trauma.  My specialization is working with parents who are raising a child/children who have experienced trauma as well as adults experiencing complicated grief. I am in the process of updating my website, in the meantime, you can follow me on Pinterest.

therapy room amy sugeno (600x600)

www.pinterest.com/asugeno

One of the things I offer is outdoor therapy – so here is a photo of my outdoor therapy “office”. It is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a beautiful natural area near where I live/work (in the Texas hill country, about an hour west of Austin) and where I do outdoor therapy with teen and adult clients. I have found that nature and the outdoors can be a wonderful complement to traditional talk therapy for many people who have dealt with the effects of complex trauma their whole lives.  What I have noticed is that being outdoors seems to: promote mindfulness (without me even having to facilitate that – the beauty of nature just pulls people naturally into the present moment), connects people to a sense of being an integral part of something larger and more powerful than themselves, encourages healthy risk-taking (like if a person is worried about coming across wild animals), provides a sense of calm and peacefulness, promotes physical movement, promotes child-like curiosity and playfulness (such as spontaneously wanting to splash in a creek along a trail).  I use nature and the outdoors sort of like a therapeutic co-leader (whether it’s individual or group).  For instance, I once took a group to watch a bat emergence (we have lots of those where I live) during a time of year when the bats would soon be migrating south for the winter.  So that gave us a springboard to begin talking about transitions in a general sense, and then the group took off from there.

April Forella MS. LMHC.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor at AprilForella.Com in North Palm Beach, Florida. I am an experienced child & family therapist specializing in low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, ADHD, divorce/blended family issues, forming and maintaining healthy relationships, past trauma, as well as those engaging in negative behaviors.

Therapy Room April (600x600)

www.aprilforella.com

My clients are welcomed into a calm and warm environment. As you enter my office suite, you hear the sounds of the ocean, and see the reflection of sea glass that is softly lite. My office is located just minutes from the beach. Quiet and comfortable, filled with warm tones of sand, blue and teal green. My desk chair is hand painted by a local artist. The children are fascinated by the sea glass. I love my office space and so do clients.

Cait Wotherspoon

Counsellor & Psychotherapist at Indigo Therapies in Penrith CBD, Australia. I am a registered nurse, qualified teacher and a practicing counsellor and psychotherapist specialising in bereavement. I help adults, adolescents, children and families who are suffering with grief and loss. I work with them to find a sense of empowerment and to breakthrough and rediscover the joys that a full and rewarding life has to offer.

therapy room cait 2 (600x600)

www.indigotherapies.com.au

Clients love the vibrant colours I have used in my practice and are entertained by quirky objects around the rooms. I love these spaces, where heart, head and emotions meet. I have a warm and cozy consultation room where clients meet with me to talk. There is also a dynamic, spacious room where emotions meet creativity – this is where my Angel Album and The Art of Journaling workshops are conducted. An Angel Album workshop is for people who have suffered the heartbreak of the death of their child/grandchild. Memories are precious – it’s a workshop where you create a beautiful memory book to keep mementos, that will become a family heirloom (photo bottom left).

Colleen Morris B.Couns. M. Soc. Sci (Family Therapy)

Family Therapist and Owner of Geelong-based Watersedge Counselling. I work across a broad range of issues with a particular interest in how early experience of family  informs the way we connect in the context of present relationships.

Therapy rooms Colleen (600x600)

www.watersedgecounselling.com

1) The Tree of Life features as a reminder that when we grow our roots deep beneath the surface of life, we become grounded, secure and productive 2) The strength and value of connection, relationship and community is highlighted by the Circle of Friends 3) The bottom left image sits above a couch and is entitled ‘Storm in a Teacup’ – a reminder of the way anxiety can blow things out of proportion, clients frequently identify with the image 4) Tree of Life.

Debbi Carberry

Clinical Social Worker at Debbi Carberry Counselling and Psychotherapy in Kenmore in Brisbane’s western suburbs. I specialise in systemic therapy with families, couples and children.

therapy room debbie (600x600)

www.debbicarberry.com.au

1) I have butterflies on one of my clinic windows – a window full of them – they symbolise the challenges of life and the miracle of change 2) A beautiful figurine purchased for me by my darling husband – it was made by a clinical social worker who moved from her clinical work to sculpting …. Its beautiful! 3) My dry sandtray – I do lots of symbolic work and have two trays in my room – one wet – one dry – I love this kind of work 4) I have a large bookcase in my clinic filled with many books on the issues I work with.

Melissa Ferrari

Clinically Trained Psychotherapist practising relational psychotherapy, couple & relationship therapy and coaching at MelissaFerrari.Com.  As a specialist in the field for over 15 years, I have worked with many people to help them live more fulfilling and happy lives. I help transform people by working with them individually in private practice and in my one day or two-day weekend retreats.

therapy rooms melissa (600x600)

www.melissaferrari.com

I consider my therapy office to be a beautiful and sacred space that brings me alive, keeps me centred and supports my work in service of both couples and individuals.

Traci W. Lowenthal Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Creative Insights Counselling in Redlands, CA. I specialize in working with LGB and Trans individuals – or people for whom society’s labels are inadequate – individuals hoping to transition into their most authentic selves. I also love working with college students, older adults and people struggling with anxiety. Sometimes all these categories intersect and show the true diversity of the human spirit!

therapy room traci new (600x600) (2)

www.creativeinsightscounseling.com

My office has a very fresh, relaxed feel, with light shades of yellows and grey, with pops of green that are a bit surprising!  I love the contemporary yet comfortable vibe of the office. One of the key features in the office is the Starfish Portrait. The idea for the starfish piece comes from The Starfish Story, which I’ve included.  To me, the story represents how each of us has the capacity to touch the lives of others – one person at a time. This is true for both therapist and client, and for that reason – the piece is not only beautiful, but a true representation of the power of psychotherapy.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.” The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Renee Beck LMFT.

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer at ReneeBeckMFT.Com. I provide dreamwork, transpersonal counseling, therapeutic tarot, clinical consultation and supervision in Oakland, CA.

therapy room renee (600x600)

www.reneebeckmft.com

My office provides a sanctuary to reflect on the play of light & dark, joy & pain, that together create the beauty that exists in life.

Megan Bearce LMFT.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at MeganBearce.Com. I specialize in supporting clients in a super commuter relationship, overwhelmed women, and gifted girls.  My writing and speaking engagements are about the issues faced by women, couples who find work demands are keeping them apart, the gifted community, and I enjoy working with people who have a hard time asking for help. I am the author of Super Commuter Couples: Staying Together When A Job Keeps You Apart.

therapy room megan (600x600)

www.meganbearce.com

My office feels safe and comfortable – like a living room versus a doctor’s office. I chose a soft green wall color and love the view of nature out the window.  I filled the office with plants and photos of lakes to bring nature inside. The books are ones I most recommend to clients. The art work I have chosen has such a great message to empower clients to move forward towards the goals they have for themselves – “We can choose…”

Sara Beresford Terry BSW.

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker at Mima Counselling Services in Menai, Sydney. For 20+ years I’ve been honoured to share many individual and family stories of change, growth and healing, and I look forward to welcoming many more.

Therapy room Sara (600x600)

www.mimacounselling.com.au

Feedback from my clients is that my space feels cosy and is a safe talking space.

1) A dear friend gave me the dolls house – many different family and relationship situations have been ‘played-out’ within these dolls house walls 2) The puppets and sand-tray/figurines enable children to tell their stories and try out new ideas 3) I use the ‘Seriously Optimistic’ cards for opening deep conversations. The imagery and symbols on these cards can be so powerful and can take the therapeutic conversation right where it needs to go 4) The doll bed and bath set gets enormous use and on the bookstand is one of my most favourite books, The Invisible String. The paper roll gets used for family time-lines and art therapy 5) The Therapy Tree door sign is very special as my son helped me design it based on the parent/child inter-twined tree trunk on a small statue my late father gave me. The name ‘Mima’ has a history too… it was a name given to me a long time ago by an Aboriginal family/community. They told me it means ‘guiding star’. I feel I honour them by using this as the name for my practice.

Stephanie Holloway LSCSW. RPT-S.

Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker, Certified Story Play Practitioner and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor at Play for Children in Kansas. I work primarily with military dependents and their families.

therapy room Steph (600x600)

www.playforchildren.net

I enjoy the space because it feels like I am coming home when I enter. It feels whole, sacred, warm, and safe in my space.  Clients typically talk about it being a safe place to come and do what they need to do.

The sand tray room is actually the collection of three of us.  Two of my mentors have retired and I acquired their collections to use in my practice.  I love to see the healing that takes place in there, but I really love to see clients discover things on their own and then make changes or work through the process of healing.

Check out more therapy offices and creative spaces on my Pinterest board,

Therapy Space / Office / Room 

Have you got a link to your office space that you would like to share? What do you make of these rooms? Feel free to comment below.

This post is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Counsellor, Soul-Centred Life-Coach and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

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Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Therapist Jodie Gale

clinicians-couch[1]Clinicians on the Couch

You can find an edited published version of this post at PsychCentral.

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

“Every month we put practitioners on the spot — figuratively known as the clinician’s couch — and pick their brains about everything from the trials and triumphs of working with clients to how they healthfully cope with stress.”

Jodie Gale is a qualified therapeutic counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and Master’s trained psychosynthesis psychotherapist who specializes in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Along with her husband, their two children and two British Short Hair cats, Jodie lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney in Australia.  She currently balances being a full-time stay at home mother with a part-time, evening and weekend, home office, private practice.

 

1. What’s surprised you the most about being a therapist?

Just how much I have learnt from my clients!

I sit with the most resilient, courageous, interesting and creative people out there. Through their stories and by doing this work, I learn about the world, history, human nature, relationships and myself on a daily basis. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to be allowed into my clients lives and to engage with them in such an intimate, meaningful and soulful way.

2. What’s the latest and greatest book you’ve read related to mental health, psychology or psychotherapy?

I am presenting alongside Dr Anita Johnston at the Sydney EatFed Eating Disorder Conference in August so I am currently researching psychosynthesis texts.

I am loving, Depression as a Spiritual Journey  by author, poet, spiritual counsellor and psychosynthesis psychologist Stephanie Sorrell. Stephanie has suffered with depression for most of her life so she brings both personal and professional experience to her writing. Her book challenges the prevailing mindset around depression as a mental illness and provides the reader with an alternative view – that we don’t need to just help, fix or cure depression, rather, we need to be with and find the value, meaning and purpose of it. This books holds a hopeful context for not only working with depression but with other concerns such as addiction, anxiety and eating disorders.

 3. What’s the biggest myth about therapy?

That people who go to therapy must be mentally ill, diseased, disordered or just down right crazy!

Many people come to therapy to heal from longstanding, deep-rooted problems and trauma. Others come because they need to find help in dealing with day to day concerns that arise out of being human. For some, they come not because they have problems but because they want to get to know themselves better and live a richer, deeper, soulful, more meaningful life.

Ultimately, therapy is about building healthy relationships with self and others.

 4. What seems to be the biggest obstacle for clients in therapy?

Many clients come looking for a quick fix to what are usually deep rooted and long-standing emotional, psychological and spiritual issues. Due to earlier wounding, many clients struggle with poor self-esteem/self-worth and at the beginning of their therapy, they usually don’t believe they are worth the time, effort and money that therapy requires.  Letting go of whatever it is that they are using to numb their pain, rage and shame, and moving towards a place of trusting the therapist is often the biggest obstacle at the onset of therapy. As a therapist, I hold trust, faith and hope until they are able to own these qualities for themselves.  Ultimately, clients need to allow themselves time to trust and heal.

5. What’s the most challenging part about being a therapist?

Whilst it has numerous advantages, for me the most challenging aspect is the isolation of working from home in private practice – I miss office lunches and parties!

It is also challenging being a sole trader and having to be an accountant, a website designer, a marketing manager and content creator – alongside being a therapist.

6. What do you love about being a therapist?

When clients first arrive at my door – their lives are often full of chaos and they are frequently drowning in a sea of despair, suffering and a sense of hopelessness. I love witnessing overtime how they grow, blossom and transform their lives.

7. What’s the best advice you can offer to readers on leading a meaningful life?

One of my favourite books of all time is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning . Ultimately, Frankl suggests that we cannot avoid suffering in life but even under the most difficult circumstances, we can derive a deeper meaning from it.

Rather than trying to eradicate your suffering, welcome it with open arms like you would a guest who has come to stay for a while. Treat it with acceptance, compassion and empathic love. Engage and build deep relationship with it. Ask, ‘what is the value, meaning and purpose of this suffering?’ This will help you to find value, meaning and purpose in life.

8. If you had your schooling and career choice to do all over again, would you choose the same professional path? If not, what would you do differently and why?

One of the most life changing times in my life was when I lived and worked as a housekeeper at Ballingtaggart House in Dingle in Ireland. There has been a resident wild dolphin called Fungie living in Dingle Harbour since 1984 and I was fortunate enough to swim with him every morning before work. I started swimming with him in the early nineties and on my first ever swim, I encountered what Maslow termed a ‘peak experience’ – it catapulted me out of addiction and disordered eating into recovery and my own journey through therapy. It is a long-held dream of mine to incorporate therapy and swimming with wild dolphins in some way.

9. If there’s one thing you wished your clients or patients knew about treatment or mental illness, what would it be?

From a holistic and psycho-spiritual perspective, symptoms are not so much considered mental illness as they are soul sickness.

I love this quote by Geneen Roth in Women, Food & God,

‘…your eating disorder [or addiction, anxiety or depression for example], is an attempt to fix something that has never been broken.’

This is an alternative way of thinking that turns the dominant disease, illness and medical model on its head.

So…just because you feel broken, it doesn’t mean that you are. At the core, you are whole and unbroken but for whatever reason, your true self has had to go into hiding, usually as a way of protecting itself. Psychotherapy provides a space whereby you can discover and awaken to who you really are; a soulful being with the immense potential for inner peace, balance, love and so much more!

 10. What personally do you do to cope with stress in your life?

I have been in and out of my own therapy since before I started my training to become a psychotherapist. Therapists are human, we all have issues and I see that it is crucial that I work through my own ‘stuff’ so that I don’t project this onto my clients. I also think it is important to have personal experience of the modalities and the techniques that I use. Over the years I have worked with psychosynthesis, gestalt, Jungian, art, couples and group therapists. I am currently working with a therapist who specializes in mindfulness.

For my day-to-day self-care, I love to:

– art journal and recently participated in the Brené Brown Art Journaling Course

– take long-hot-mindful baths. I love the essential oil recipes in The Enchanted Bath

– my husband and I often take the kids for a Sunday morning bush or coastal walk

– dance. I used to dance 5 rhythms in the UK and have recently found a facilitator in Sydney

– get away on women’s retreats for self and spiritual development

(Photo credit: PsychCentral)

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Why counsellors, psychotherapists and their clients are better off without Medicare and other insurance rebates

medicareWhy counsellors, psychotherapists and their clients are better off without Medicare and other insurance rebates

Counselling and psychotherapy associations have recently been asked to make a submission regarding the Medicare rebate for their clients. Insurance is great for people who really cannot afford counselling services but there are a multitude of reasons that Medicare is a bad idea for clients and therapists alike. Adapted from my FAQ page, here are a few reasons why it is better to self-pay for therapy:

As the L’Oréal ad says: Because you’re worth it!

Good therapy is life changing, worth its weight in gold and has life-long benefits. Check out my two articles on Why Invest in Therapy? Part One and Part Two.

You want confidentiality and privacy

Whenever Medicare or private health insurance is used, your private information, psychiatric diagnosis (yes, you need a diagnosis to receive the rebate!), presenting issues, treatment plan and progress reports, are available to the insurance company and at times, to employers. Medicare, private health insurance and employee assistance programs often ask for detailed personal information about clients in order to make payment decisions. This review can undermine your sense of privacy and confidentiality necessary for effective counselling and psychotherapy. Once you have a ‘Mental Health Plan’ diagnosis, it becomes part of your health records forever. (See how one woman lost her dream job due to her depression diagnosis!).

You want to choose your own therapist and style of therapy

Medicare and insurance companies limit your choice of therapists. Most “preferred providers” offer good treatment, keep your interests foremost and try to keep treatment brief without sacrificing quality. At times however, the insurance company may ask preferred providers to divide their loyalty between you and the insurance company. It is better to self-pay if a therapist comes highly recommended but is not on the provider list, if you would like to have unlimited choice regarding which therapist you would like to see and if you wish to avoid seeing a therapist with a potential conflict of interest.

You want to choose the length of your treatment

As previously mentioned, Medicare, private health companies and employer assistance programs often limit the choice in therapist and the modality that you are able to use – usually Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Due to cost effectiveness, they also limit the length of treatment. Medicare and other insurance companies provide ultra-brief therapy (3, 6 or 12 sessions). The majority of people require more sessions than this to address the underlying issues and to provide you with long lasting change. One of the major issues with time limited therapy is ‘revolving door syndrome’ – this is widely recognised within the Medicare Better Access Mental Health Plan system.  It is not that certain techniques such as CBT aren’t useful or necessary – they are at times – but they don’t address our innate wholeness and the whole story. Self-paying for therapy is preferable in order to receive the type and length of treatment required to suit your needs.

You don’t want Medicare, private health insurance companies or employee assistance programs making choices for you

When a third party is responsible for payment, they have the power to influence your treatment. A company employee may be required to evaluate your motivation, the severity of your problems, your progress, and make treatment recommendations. The therapist must take the company’s recommendations into consideration or risk losing a contract to work with the company altogether. It is preferable to pay for your own treatment to eliminate this outside influence.

You don’t want to be labelled sick

Whenever Medicare or insurance is used for counselling or psychotherapy, the treatment must be “medically necessary,” which means that your therapist must label you with a mental illness or mental disorder through diagnostic methods. There has been widespread criticism of the DSMIV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in that many psychiatrists are concerned that over diagnosis is leading to the pathologisation of everyday concerns. When you pay directly, you may seek consultation from a therapist for any reason you choose. People use counselling and psychotherapy for emotional, psychological and spiritual growth, for help coping with stressful life situations, for marriage and family difficulties, as well as for chronic and serious psychological problems. Having a psychiatric diagnosis on your health records can restrict your ability to qualify for future health and life insurance coverage as well as when applying for employment or to become an adoptive parent for example. For more information about the problems with labelling, check out my article on Stigma, Soul Sickness and Psychotherapy .

Therapists – don’t panic !

When I first returned to Australia from the UK, I panicked because I was starting up a new practice and I wasn’t able to get the Medicare rebate for my clients. I went back to university and trained in social work purely for this reason. Subsequently, I haven’t sought to be a part of the scheme and I don’t intend to for two main reasons:

a) In dialogue with many of my psychologist colleagues in Australia and therapist colleagues in the States, many of them are trying to get away from Medicare/insurance, not working towards it. Complaints range from clients not turning up for sessions (a lack of motivation perhaps if they aren’t full fee paying), clients often don’t commit to therapy beyond the sessions covered by insurance, the paperwork is out of control, therapists aren’t comfortable being tied down to using a certain style of therapy and most tend to work from a more holistic framework than that of the medically orientated model that is expected.

b) We can’t wait around for our associations or the government to recognise our worth. We all have unique gifts to offer clients. Read how to create your ideal practice in this article from Australia Counselling founder Clinton Power: Medicare Rebates:  5 Lessons in How to Create a Profitable Psychotherapy Practice Without Them

I’d love to hear what others think about this topic. Feel free to comment below in the comments section 🙂

The above article has been adapted from ‘Why Self Pay?’ with permission from the American Mental Health Alliance.

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

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Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

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Therapy Rocks! Psychosynthesis Bloggers in Action

psychosynthesis blogsTherapy Rocks! Psychosynthesis Bloggers in Action

Psychosynthesis is known worldwide as the psychology with a soul. Roberto Assagioli, psychoanalyst, neurologist and the founder of psychosynthesis was way ahead of his time by incorporating mindfulness and spirituality into western psychiatry and psychology. He was a major influence in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Piero Ferrucci, psychosynthesis psychotherapist, philosopher, student and collaborator of Assagioli writes,

‘…the principles that Roberto Assagioli and his pupils have enunciated in the last hundred years now find a precise correspondence in the data and models of neuroscience.’

Today, psychosynthesis theory and practice is continuing to evolve and grow as rigorously trained practitioners worldwide integrate new philosophies, ideas and evidence based practice – such as neuroscience – into their theory and practice.

Some of those practitioners are sharing their philosophies, ideas and wisdom through blogging. You can check them out here…

Therapy Rocks! by Jodie Gale

Therapy Rocks! I have been blogging for over two years about the gifts of psychosynthesis counselling, psychotherapy and issues pertinent to women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Recent blogs include, On the body series, Why your therapist should be in therapy, Does psychotherapy work? and How to silence the inner critic by cultivating self-compassion. You can also read a full list of my blogs, guest posts and interviews on my Media page.

Living a Life of Purpose (Featured on Psychology Today) by Didi Firman

Living a Life of Purpose is written by psychosynthesis psychotherapist, professor of psychology and author, Didi Firman. Her blog is about asking the biggest question, WHY? And the most pressing question, HOW? Some topics include Creation, Spring and Living the bigger picture.

The Psychosynthesis Trust Blog

The Trust’s Blog is a place for sharing insight and pointing to interesting things. A place for ideas, creativity and exploring psychospiritual development. Posts are from members of the training team and other guest bloggers. The articles, essays, podcasts and films are a resource for those interested in psychosynthesis, psychospiritual development, and the world of counselling and psychotherapy.

Emotional Medicine Rx. by Penelope Young Andrade

Emotional Medicine Rx. is the blog of Penelope Young Andrade. She is a licensed psychotherapist and founder of the San Diego Center for Psychosynthesis. Penelope also writes an acclaimed monthly advice column called Transformational Talk and is the founder Transformational Talk Radio. Some topics on her blog include, You’re lucky to feel sad, mad, scared, Men and depression and Are you having enough fun in your free time?

Molly’s Musings by Molly Young Brown

Molly’s Musings is the blog of Molly Young Brown. Following her initial training in psychosynthesis, she had the privilege of studying with the founder, Dr. Roberto Assagioli, in 1973 (the year before he died). His teaching deepened her understanding of the principles and practice while he encouraged her to share psychosynthesis with others. Molly has done so through training programs in North America and Europe, individual guiding sessions, writing, and serving on the Advisory Board and the Professional Development Committee for the Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis. Although not updated frequently, some topics include, Greed, fear and love and The secret behind the secret.

Love and Will: A Psychosynthesis Approach to Living

Love and Will is the blog of Catherine Ann Lombard, M.A. She is a psychosynthesis psychologist, counsellor, coach and author of, From Culture Shock to Personal Transformation: Studying Abroad and the Search for Meaning.  She blogs bi-monthly and is on her way to 100 blog posts! LoveandWill is also on facebook.

Seasonal Inspiration: Reflections on the Changing Seasons, and Observing What They Have to Teach Us.

Seasonal Inspiration is the blog of Juliet Batten. She writes extensively about the seasons, and the importance of celebrating our southern hemisphere festivals at the right time of year, in harmony with indigenous, Celtic, ancient European as well as Christian traditions. Recent blogs include Looking for the light and Resonating with the dark.

The Deep River Within: Gentle Wisdom for Women in a Hurried World by Abby Seixas

The Deep River Within is the blog of Abby Seixas. She is a psychotherapist, author and speaker specializing in issues of life balance. Her television appearances include NBC’s The Today Show and the Hallmark Channel and her work has been featured in O – The Oprah Magazine, Self, Woman’s Day, Fitness, Body & Soul, and The Boston Globe. Blog topics include, Challenges to being present and Taming expectations.

Emerging Horizons by Damian Grainer

Emerging Horizons is the blog of the Emerging Horizons team and the founder and director Damian Grainer, a UK leading addiction specialist, therapeutic counsellor, coach and trainer. You will find articles and book reviews on addiction, mindfulness and neuroscience. Damian wrote one of my most liked posts ever, Addiction Recovery: The Starting Point for Recovery is Hope, Not Abstinence

Reflections of a Transpersonal Psychotherapist by Patrick McCurry

Reflections of a Transpersonal Psychotherapist is the blog of London and Eastbourne based therapist Patrick McCurry. He blogs about personal development, relationships and soulful psychotherapy. Recent topics include, Are you a rescuer, persecutor or victim in your relationship? and What are men unconsciously seeking in internet porn?

Live Your Life and Enjoy It by Mariann Marthinussen

Live Your Life and Enjoy It is the blog of psychosynthesis psychotherapist and teacher Mariann Marthinussen. She blogs in Norwegian about topics such as Letting go of the old, Burnout and Heart Power.

Course of Mirrors by Ashen

Ashen is active as poet, writer, therapist, photographer. You can connect with her blog, a Course of Mirrors.

Fibromyalgia and Self Disorders by Dr Ewa Danuta Bialek

Fibromyalgia and Self Disorders is the blog of Dr Ewa Danuta Bialek who is a passionate scientist searching for answers about health and human functioning. After almost 25 years of being involved in medicine, she found a system of psychosynthesis which permitted her to find the deep core of her own health problems derived from early childhood experiences. She is the author of 25 books and 150 scientific articles concerning health and self-education. She also writes poems and fairy tales. Her latest blog is How to express your archetypal energies in life.

Saphira@DPsych by Saphira Bjørnå Wahl

Saphira@DPsych is the blog of Saphira Bjørnå Wahl; she writes, ‘I love psychosynthesis! Simple as that!’ Having completed her Master’s in psychosynthesis psychotherapy focusing on, “An exploration of recovering alcoholics’ lived experience of residential AA 12-step treatment and program in conjunction with psychosynthesis in after care in a group setting”, Saphira’s blog is an attempt to describe the onset of and the ongoing process of studying at a doctoral level, related to psychotherapy.

Holistic Mental Health by Marjorie Gross

Holistic Mental Health is the blog of psychosynthesis practitioner Marjorie Gross. She has been involved in the areas of personal growth, counselling, and coaching for over 30 years as a teacher, student and practitioner. Some of her blogs include, The secrets of surrender, Bring your vision to life and The silence within.

Feel Better Every Day by Eve Menezes Cunningham

Feel Better Every Day is the blog of psychosynthesis practitioner Eve Menezes Cunningham. She writes reviews of workshops, conferences, book launches, movies and blogs about holistic health and well-being. Recent blogs include, Lessons on failure from Rainbow Magnificat and a review of the Bowlby Couples and Attachment Conference.

21st Century Psyche by Chris Payne

21st Century Psyche by Chris Payne reflects his original training in psychosynthesis as well reflections of Jungian analysis and further teachings in Melanie Klein’s object relations and Bowlby’s attachment theory. Recent topics include Reparation or replacement and a post on clinical diagnosis and labels.

The Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis by the AAP

Although not updated for some time, The Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis Blog is dedicated to the evolution of wholeness and spiritual integration world-wide. It is the first professional psychosynthesis organization in North America and is open to all who are interested in supporting its evolution.

Find Yourself Psychosynthesis Forum by Lars Gimstedt

Find Yourself Psychosynthesis Forum is the blog of Lars Gimstedt. He has been a psychosynthesis therapist and life coach since 1992. Although his blog hasn’t been recently updated, there are some articles on Positive thinking, The life-wheel and Personal versus spiritual development.

Goypaz by Gloria Paz

Goypaz is the Spanish blog of Gloria Paz. She shares a path to Awakening the Soul narrated in articles that challenge the psychological conditioning with the intention of stimulating the search for answers. Recent topics include,  We need and complement each other, Searching for happiness and The ego as a tool for awakening the soul.

Wellness Blog by Ewa Danuta Bialek

Ewa has two blogs on her essential psychosynthesis websites: www.psychosynteza.pl/blog and www.wellnesscoachingps.com/blog.

The Will & Initiation by Will Parfitt

The Will and Initiation is the blog of Will Parfitt. In more than forty years of spiritual exploration, Will’s passions are Psychosynthesis and Kabbalah. He writes extensively on these topics in his books, articles and blog. His website is a great resource to assist your personal and spiritual development.

Emerging Purpose by Greg Donaldson

On Emerging Purpose, Greg arites about topics to support his work with 12-step members, relationship issues, co-dependency, addictions, traumas, , performers, family constellations, depression, self-esteem, anxiety & stress,  panic attacks, family & relationship concerns, career or life choices and questions of meaning and spirituality.

Want to start a psychosynthesis blog but not sure where to start?

The benefits of blogging are countless. If you would like to start blogging but are stuck with where to start – check out the two blog challenges I mentioned earlier – they are full of great ideas to take your voice, ideas, practice and psychosynthesis out into the world.

Australia Counselling Therapy Works! Blog Challenge

Private Practice ToolBox Blog Challenge

Have I missed your psychosynthesis blog? Please comment below with a link.

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach, psychotherapist and private practice business coach Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Why Your Therapist Should Be in Therapy! Featuring Bleachers: I Wanna Get Better [Video]

I wanna get betterWhy Your Therapist Should Be in Therapy. Featuring Bleachers: I Wanna Get Better [Video]

In one of my daily psychology alerts, I came across the latest music and video news in Rolling Stone – I found myself laughing out loud at Lena Dunham and boyfriend Jack Antonoff’s first collaboration for his solo debut, ‘I Wanna Get Better’.  John Bliston writes,

‘Breakups are never fun, especially when they happen first thing in the morning. And when your job as a therapist is to help other people fix their problems when you can’t even seem to figure out your own, it’s even worse. Such is the painfully hilarious setup Lena Dunham crafts for the video to “I Wanna Get Better,” the first single from Bleachers singer (and Dunham’s boyfriend) Jack Antonoff.’

On a more serious note, it got me to thinking about the number of professionals within the mental health and helping vocations who have never had their own counselling or psychotherapy.

When I first started my training, it was not uncommon for students to be at least thirty before they were accepted into classic depth psychotherapy training. If the applicant was younger, they must have had significant life experience and a commitment to their own personal and spiritual development.  Entry was based on rigorous application and therapists had to be in weekly personal psychotherapy for the duration of their training – anywhere from four to eight years.  If at any time throughout the training the student and/or supervisor felt they needed to process at a deeper level, the student took some time out of the training to do this.

How times have changed.

Academically based PhDs by thirty are not uncommon. Many training organisations also do not require personal therapy as part of their psychology, social work, counselling or psychotherapy degrees (however personal therapy is at least encouraged in most counselling and psychotherapy private training organisations) and professional associations do not require personal therapy as part of their registration requirements.

This is potentially an act of personal and professional irresponsibility and negligence.

Mental health workers, psychologists, social workers, counsellors or psychotherapists probably shouldn’t be working in the helping professions without having sat in the client’s chair first. Although much more complex than this and with far greater ethical implications, that would be like seeing a dentist who didn’t get regular check-ups or a personal trainer who didn’t exercise!

Why your therapist should be in therapy!

In The Independent, Yalom states,

‘It is, of course, mandatory for people entering this field to have a long personal experience with therapy. I know I certainly have and have come back to it several times whenever I have had some kind of crisis in my life.’

In Can we be in the counsellor’s or psychotherapist’s chair when we have not been in the client’s chair, Elana Leigh states,

‘…there is a profound quality difference between those counsellors and psychotherapists who have experienced an in-depth psychotherapy and those who have not.’

Following are just a few of the reasons that your therapist should have had or should be in therapy:

  • Boundaries: If therapists don’t have a have a deep understanding of themselves, their ability to hold strong boundaries may be jeopardized. Boundary violations range from abusing power, enabling or caretaking clients, holding sessions in cafes or other unsafe places and  using us to meet their emotional, psychological and although rare, physical/sexual needs. Leigh suggests that therapists should be engaged in constant soul searching in order to secure the boundaries between their problems and those of the people that they are serving.
  • Projection: Is a psychological defence. A wide range of feelings and experiences get stirred up in therapy so therapists needs to have a deep understanding of what belongs to them and what belongs to their clients. This is about therapists owning their own shadow and light, working through their family history and life story, healing traumas and working with their defences, feelings and needs. Without doing so, these may be projected onto us.
  • Empathy: ‘Being a client is a complex multilayered experience and embraces many primitive needs, usually relating to issues of dependency and all that encapsulates (Leigh).’ If therapists have not experienced this phenomenon and haven’t worked through their own dependency issues this will impact the all-important therapeutic relationship, their capacity for empathy and has the potential for therapists to use the therapeutic relationship to fulfil or reject their own dependency needs.
  • Suffering: Therapists who have been in their own therapeutic counselling or depth psychotherapy are able to see, hear and sit with us in the depth of our despair. They can do this because they have actively engaged in working through their own suffering. They don’t rush too quickly to provide a sticky plaster fix because they know this does not provide long-term change. They understand that our symptoms are a cry from the deepest part of our souls and carry the value, meaning and purpose of our suffering – which without exploration will go undiscovered and unintegrated.
  • Self-Care: Vicarious trauma and burnout are just two of the potential hazards of being a psychologist, social worker, counsellor, psychotherapist or other helping professional such as a life-coach, nurse or a doctor. It is impossible for health professionals to be present to us if they are suffering from burnout. Most therapists have clinical supervision – this is not therapy and it is not enough. Therapy, along with supervision, exercise, a healthy diet, sleep and spiritual practice create a good and ethical self-care package.

Edited 21/4/17: Check out this recent article in the Guardian, When therapists also need therapists: ‘Suffering is not unique to one group I love the psychoanalytic focus!

If you are looking for a therapist, it is perfectly acceptable to ask if  they have had their own therapy.

This list is not exhaustive so feel free to add your comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic 🙂

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

As Seen In Banner Profile (600x79)

Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Does Psychotherapy Work? Short Answer: Yes

psychotherapy worksPsychosynthesis – the style of therapy that I practise – is known worldwide as the psychology with a soul. Roberto Assagioli, the founder, was trained in neurology and psychiatry – he was part of the early psychoanalytic movement with Freud and Jung. His style of psychotherapy was deeply influenced by eastern and western spirituality – psychosynthesis – is therefore an integration of the best that western psychology has to offer, along with the philosophies, beliefs and techniques of eastern and western spiritual disciplines. Psychosynthesis was not meant to replace psychoanalysis; rather, Assagioli wished to enhance it.

In the therapy room, we use the latest in evidence based practice alongside our self, soul and spiritual work. One of the core methods of working is via a psychodynamic approach – a school of thought and practice that has a considerable amount of research to prove its long-term effectiveness.

Psychotherapy brings lasting benefits through developing inner resources, self-knowledge and awareness

Through my own recovery and from having the privilege of watching people blossom and grow for nearly 15 years in my private counselling and psychotherapy practice – I know therapy works! I love it when I find solid research to back it up.

In The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D. reviews over 160 studies of psychodynamic psychotherapy. He provides a considerable amount evidence to show that not only does therapy provide symptom improvement but through developing inner resources, self-knowledge and awareness, you can continue to improve long after your therapy ends – in fact – the tools and awareness you develop will last you a lifetime.

What is psychodynamic psychotherapy and how does it work?

Comparable to psychosynthesis, psychodynamic psychotherapy is not a sticky plaster fix – it offers depth, understanding, meaning and long-term change from whatever it is that is causing you distress.

Shedler’s paper highlights the following features of psychodynamic psychotherapy:

– For optimal results, psychotherapy takes place once a week and it can be short-term or long-term and open ended.

– The essence of psychodynamic therapy is exploring those aspects of self that are not fully known.

– Psychodynamic therapy encourages exploration and discussion of the full range of emotions. The therapist helps you to describe and put words to feelings, including contradictory feelings, feelings that are troubling or threatening, and feelings that you may not initially be able to recognize or acknowledge.

– Psychodynamic therapists actively focus on and explore avoidances and other defence mechanisms.

– Psychodynamic therapists work to identify and explore recurring themes and patterns in your thoughts, feelings, self-concept, relationships, and life experiences.

– Psychodynamic therapists explore early experiences, the relation between past and present, and the ways in which the past tends to “live on” in the present. The focus is not on the past for its own sake, but rather on how the past sheds light on current psychological difficulties. The goal is to help you to free yourself from the bonds of past experience in order to live more fully in the present.

– Psychodynamic psychotherapy places emphasis on your relationships and interpersonal experiences.

– The relationship between you and the therapist is itself an important interpersonal relationship, one that can become deeply meaningful.  Because our original wounding often happened in our early attachment relationships – it is through the loving, empathic therapeutic relationship that reparation, healing and change can take place.

– Therapy encourages you to speak freely about whatever is on your mind. Everything you bring (thoughts, fears, desires, dreams etc) are considered a rich source of information and can help you to find value, meaning and purpose in life.

Psychotherapy Works! So…what are you waiting for?

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK

About Jodieas-seen-in-december-16-pink

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 20 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly, Allambie Heights and Frenchs Forest on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.