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Will Talk Therapy Techniques Help Me?

September 25th, 2017 · talk therapy techniques

Many who struggle with painful issues put one simple, important question to depth psychotherapists: “Will talk therapy techniques help me?

talk therapy techniques

People want to know whether talking with a depth psychotherapist is going to help them meet the challenges of their lives, reduce their pain and gain greater clarity and insight.
The answer to that question is positive for many people, but it’s important to think carefully about talk therapy before embarking on it.
Talk therapy techniques can help many people if they know at least to some degree what they want from the process, and if the individual chooses approaches to talk therapy that are genuinely able to deliver the kind of help that he or she needs.  A third essential factor is the quality of the connection with the therapist.  This last is often the most important.

What Kind of Talk Therapy Works?

There are very misleading images of talk therapy techniques in media.  Often, the media portrays a certain caricature of Freudian psychoanalysis as being what therapy is all about.  This image has the client or analysand lying on a couch prosing on and on in a monologue, with the therapist / analyst behind him or her in absolute silence.  This image isn’t even faithful to the best of the Freudian tradition; it certainly doesn’t acknowledge the true nature of 21st century depth psychotherapy.

talk therapy techniques

Uh… not actually!

Truly Valuable Talk

Talk can be incredibly valuable and useful — even absolutely essential.  But it needs to be talk focused on the deepest, most central realities of human life.  Talk that matters in therapy has to be talk that puts us in touch with the deepest feelings in our lives, whether those feelings are of intense pain, sorrow — or joy.

Talk therapy also needs to help us get to the deep realities of our physical existence.  Our bodies are where our deepest pain and sorrow resides.  And the special kind of talk in depth or Jungian therapy also involves the reality of what is going on in our unconscious mind.  The unconscious is a vast area of our mental functioning that we are usually unaware of, yet, it is often vital to our healing.

Talk As Connection…

Broadly speaking, the talk therapy techniques that we need for healing, wholeness and growth all foster connection.

…to Others

On one fundamental level the right kind of talk therapy fosters connection with other people.  For many people, an essential aspect of talk therapy techniques is actually being listened to, taken in, and related to empathetically.  It’s stunning how many people in this world have never truly had anyone genuinely listen to them.  Even for those of us who have had that experience, it can be surprising how much we need it on an on-going basis.

…to Our Embodied Selves

Good talk therapy techniques can also help foster connection with our bodies, in ways that are very important.  A skilled 21st century depth psychotherapist can work with us in ways that bring us to essential awareness of the connection between our emotional states and our bodies.  The “vehicle” of the therapy is talk, but that talk is closely related to our deep emotional states, and the history of the key formative relationships and experiences in our early lives.

…to Our Unconscious, Undiscovered Selves

Talk is also fundamental to our becoming conscious of the unconscious aspects of ourselves.  Both in terms of exploring situations that emerge in our lives, and our unconscious responses to them, and also in terms of working with dreams and other material from the unconscious, therapy that focuses on knowledgeable, skilled processing of such material can contribute greatly to self-knowledge, and to the processing of key life issues.  C.G. Jung, the great Swiss psychotherapist, highlighting our need to make unconscious factors conscious, famously said,

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Where Talk Therapy is Relevant

Talk therapy techniques are relevant to many issues that lead people to seek help.  These include, but are not limited to: anxiety; depression; major life transitions; midlife and second half of life issues; and issues broadly related to connectedness, groundedness and spirituality,

In depth psychotherapy, the profoundest changes in people occur on the non-verbal level.  Nonetheless talk therapy, applied with skill and insight, can often be instrumental in that change.

Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Psychoanalyst

 PHOTOS:  Attribution Share Alike ©  Dave Overcash (Creative Commons Licence) ; wolfgangfoto (Creative Commons Licence)
© 2017 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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