What is Long term therapy?

We all have coping mechanisms which we habitually resort to in order to cope with the world. Some of us have a few coping mechanisms which we use in a rigid manner and others have a wide variety of coping mechanisms that we use flexibly. Some of us only have habitual coping mechanisms and some of us also have consciously chosen means of coping.

The coping mechanisms we use habitually without thinking are usually the ones we learnt at a young age and therefore have been using for the longest. They can also emerge from significant experiences or relationships, and because these experiences were significant, the coping mechanisms used as a result of them are deeply seated in our psyche. Habitual coping mechanisms are used without thinking and therefore, they are the ones that can interfere later on in life where a different response to our environment would be more useful. Sometimes we are not aware of what coping mechanisms we commonly use. Therapy is aimed at increasing awareness so that instead of resorting to old or unsuitable coping mechanisms without thinking we can choose how to respond in a more flexible manner, in any given situation. As we have used these coping mechanisms throughout our lives, breaking the habit takes time.

Our early or significant experiences give rise to feelings, which in turn lead to the way we view ourselves and the world. These perceptions or beliefs lead to a certain approach or view of the world, ourselves and others. Often these views of the world, ourselves and others, become lenses by which we filter experiences or perceptions and differing information gets discounted. By figuring out what lenses we filter things with, it allows us to check if we are looking at day-to-day experiences in an accurate or a distorted manner (for example believing an experience is reminiscent of a past experience when it’s actually quite different). These lenses can impact how we approach day-to-day relationships as we often unconsciously anticipate future relationships to turn out like our previous ones.

All the above happens on an unconscious level. Long term therapy aims at looking at one’s day- to-day experiences and, with the help of an objective other, finding patterns which indicate unconscious coping habits or lenses that hinder you and which are no longer useful in your day-to- day context. By using a long-term relationship with a therapist, the feelings underlying the beliefs and coping habits are also worked through, thereby rendering the behaviours that emerged from them more incongruent with a new developing sense of self. However these feelings can and do re- emerge at points of stress in life, which can allow a different view and exploration of the early or significant experience.

Long term therapy also allows room for one to explore themselves in a holistic manner. How we perceive ourselves; mind, body and soul, and how we manage these components in our lives, impacts our day-to-day functioning. Awareness of ourselves and the world, or mindfulness, can greatly enhance our day-to-day growth and therefore our awareness of the here-and-now and other existential matters are constantly worked with in long term therapy.

Longer term therapy does not imply that there is more wrong with you than if you went for a short term therapy (such as CBT or DBT). Long term therapy is a useful way to get to know yourself and be the best you can be as an evolving person.

What is the Community resilience Model (CRM)?

Stress and trauma is processed by everyone’s bodies in the same way by the nervous system. CRM is a form of therapy or training whereby a person learns about how to track, understand and manage their own nervous system. You are taught basic tools to help you mange the bodily, psychological and emotional aspects of stress and trauma. It is an easy framework which can even be taught to children to increase their resilience against stress, sensory overstimulation and trauma. The techniques are also useful as tools to help corporate company teams, families and couples communicate about their emotional worlds and engage in proactive stress regulation.

What is Transpersonal Therapy?

This therapy holds the spiritual aspect of self in mind more strongly, while still working with the individual in a holistic manner. Constructs such as mindfulness, spiritual awakening, psychic phenomena, and how the self grows in relation to an awareness of something greater than oneself, is worked with. All this is done while holding the individual’s personal religious beliefs in mind.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioural therapy looks at feelings, thoughts and behaviours and how often we have patterns of feelings, thoughts and behaviours that lead to each other. Sometimes these patterns are perpetuated by beliefs of self, others or the world which may have been true for your experience at one time but do not fit all experiences you currently encounter. By finding these beliefs and testing them in the real world one can try to evaluate if the beliefs still fit.

What is Dialectical Behavioural therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is a form of therapy that was designed for group use but has been adapted and used in individual settings too. It is a course of therapy which addresses various things such as conflict management, interpersonal skills, distress management and mindfulness.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is using a technique that uses the natural ability of the brain to deeply focus on any one thing, this process is known as “autohypnosis”. We often see people in autohypnosis or in trance states when they are deeply lost in experiencing a part of their world (like watching T.V., or kids playing) and they are barely aware of the world around them. Hypnotherapy uses this ability to focus on subconscious content in the mind in such a way that the conscious mind, while still active, interferes less in filtering the emerging subconscious stream of thought. You are in full control of yourself, it is nothing like the hypnosis seen on T.V., and it is not a form of brainwashing.

What is Ego state therapy?

Ego state therapy looks at how we develop coping responses and relative belief systems in response to significant life events or themes. These responses and beliefs operate like parts of self which we step into and live out, depending on the environment we are in, and, whether it is reminiscent of prior life experience. In other words we unconsciously draw on ways of coping developed in time gone by. At times we may step into a way of being and respond to our current situation in a manner that may not be useful, albeit that that coping response was useful in time gone by. Ego state therapy helps us understand all the different parts of self, by making them more conscious, thereby allowing us to choose a response which is most useful to the situation in front of us, whether it is like or unlike a situation from our past. The therapy also allows one to look at parts of self which we previously battled with and integrate them with other parts of self in a manner that serves the whole person.