A mindfulness based approach
My psychotherapy training is in a mindfulness based approach called Core Process Psychotherapy (CPP). This particular approach integrates concepts of mindfulness and awareness with modern psychological perspectives and approaches.
This approach to counselling and psychotherapy does not require you, as the client, to be familiar with mindfulness. Instead, my own mindfulness practice is intended to support me in my work. It helps through bolstering my resilience as a therapist and through enhancing the therapeutic space I offer.
Mindfulness is about meeting whatever is happening in the present moment with awareness, compassion, warmth and non-judging acceptance. All therapists aim to provide a therapeutic space imbued with these qualities. In the case of mindfulness-based counsellors and psychotherapists, these qualities are underpinned by their own awareness and mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness also comes into our work together in other ways. We may bring awareness to what comes up in the here-and-now as we talk and explore together. This could include noticing thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise in the present moment.
In short-term therapy, the work tends to focus on the particular issue, or issues that have prompted you to seek therapy. You may for instance be experiencing or be recovering from a period of transition in your life. This could be a home move, a bereavement, the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job. You may therefore decide that you want to use the therapeutic space to support you in working through the thoughts and feelings arising from this event.
It could also be that there is no particular event or situation that has led you to explore the option of therapy. The therapy space can be used to work on feelings such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress and low self-esteem.
Open-ended therapy allows more time to explore the connections between your past experiences and your current thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It also allows space to notice and better understand your inner psychological processes and interpersonal dynamics. Insights from our work together also have the opportunity to become further established in your day-to-day life.
While we may agree a notional length to our work at the start of therapy, this can be revisited at any time. Normally I would suggest meeting for six appointments to begin with and then for us to use the therapeutic space to reflect on where we want to go from there.
What goes into becoming a psychotherapist?
Psychotherapy trainings such as Core Process Psychotherapy are typically delivered to a postgraduate level. They often involve years of teaching, practice and personal and professional development. It was, for instance, a requirement of my psychotherapy training that students undertake personal therapy for at least a year prior to starting and for four years during the training itself. The training also expected students to develop mindful awareness through regular mindfulness practice. This commitment to deep self-work underpins a Core Process psychotherapist’s capacity to hold a client’s process and ability to provide a therapeutic space where in-depth inquiry can occur.