College of Law and Management Studies Student Support Services

Is it talking or therapy?

So many times we hear people say how less heavy they feel after talking or even after they lash out. It’s the same feeling people usually refer to after they have had a good cry. Of cause we have also heard others ask the question, how will talking about it help me? You will be amazed at how much of talking is therapeutic. Yes, you heard me right.  With the right context and a well-skilled professional, talking is therapy. You see, talking to a professional such as a counsellor, psychologist or a psychiatrist doesn’t just mean senseless talking just to offload but means an inclusion of different talk therapies and listening with a purpose. We all go through difficulties and currently, we are all feeling the impact of the worldwide virus referred to as the Coronavirus. Its impact doesn’t just affect us financially but also emotionally and so it’s important to be mindful of such an impact on the self and therapy can help you with exactly that. To function in this ever-changing world we live in, we must be mindful of how the environment is affecting and impacting on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Talk therapy can help all sorts of different people with different issues, this means that it’s for anyone who’s going through a difficult time or has emotional issues that they need help with.

What is talk therapy?

Talk therapy also referred to as psychotherapy or counselling is based on the idea that talking about things that are bothering you can provide clarity and a new perspective on those issues. Talking therapy involves talking to a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The different talking therapies are aimed at:

 

  • Providing a safe space and time to talk to someone who won’t judge you
  • helping make sense of things so you can have a better understanding of yourself
  • Helping you resolve unresolved issues and feelings
  • And also helps you to recognise unhelpful patterns in your behaviour and ways of thinking so you can make the necessary changes (if you wish to change them).

Differentiating between individual and group psychotherapy

If you are wondering if you should consult a counsellor individually or in a group, here is some context about individual therapy and group therapy. There are several talk therapies used in South Africa categorised under talk therapy that fall within individual and groups therapy. So what is the difference between individual therapy and group therapy you may ask? In simple terms, individual therapy is therapy offered to a single individual in the same session whilst group therapy is delivered by one or more therapists to more than one individual in the same session. The interesting thing about both individual and group therapy, according to researchers, is that they are both effective in treating nearly every type of issue including psychological disorders when utilised within a therapeutic or counselling environment. Some people may be better suited to individual therapy rather than groups and vice versa based on the individual’s preference, level of comfort, type of issue and intervention being used by the therapist. Neither form of therapy is “better” than the other, but both represent different approaches to reaching the same goal.

 

However, there are some striking benefits to using either individual therapy or group therapy and in some cases, clients have chosen to utilise both forms of therapy for different reasons. So here are some benefits to using individual therapy: you will receive the full attention of the counsellor so there’s the benefit on working on a one-on-one basis; there’s direct feedback given about your progress by the counsellor; the pace of the counsellor in individual therapy is tailored to suit your individual therapeutic needs; and mostly, you can be assured that the counsellor will maintain the confidentiality of the treatment session which may be difficult to achieve in group sessions. There are also several benefits to choosing group therapy and include: you will be able to understand that you are not alone going through that issue and so there’s the sense that you are not alone because other people have similar issues and struggles; group sessions offer a great deal of support from the other people because of the shared issue; individuals in groups therapy find that they are more comfortable to share within a group because they can identify with the members of the group; and lastly, group therapy allows for you to develop insight into your issues and develop greater self-awareness by merely listening to others who share similar issues and difficulties.

What issues can therapy help you with?

Some of the things that therapy can help you manage and cope with include:
  • Dealing with difficult life events (such as bereavement, loss of a job, divorce, adjustment, and even parenting)
  • Relationship issues (which can include communication challenges, infidelity, and so forth)
  • Traumatic experiences (recent or long-term)
  • Unprocessed emotions (such as grief, guilt, sadness, confusion, anger and low self-esteem)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • As well as long-term physical health problems

Conclusion

So if you still thinking talking is just talking and the counsellor just listening than I hope this brief blog has helped shift that kind of thinking. There is power if talk therapy that is very much therapeutic in a safe, holding environment. So speak to a counsellor if you feel you need to and begin to work on yourself.

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