Many different types of people benefit from therapy such as psychotherapy or psychoanalysis
The pages in this section are designed to provide partial example profiles of patient / client types. This is not meant to stereotype individuals, but rather to provide overall examples that people may find it helpful to relate to.
In particular it is common for people seeking therapy for the first time to feel strange or alone. If some of the example “characters” can help people to understand that they are actually normal people suffering from the type of issues that although needing help, effect many others, then hopefully this will help to prevent pathologising of clients (labelling according to “illness”).
We are all subject to the recipe of life
We are all born with certain DNA, characteristics and health, into individual families, cultures and circumstances. We are all a Socio-genetic-psychological-cultural mix just when we are born. This then builds over time as we interact with the factors around us, through experience and development.
“Life is a river” – Old Taoist expression
The life around us is like a river, it has it’s current, hazards, predators, and other swimmers. All we can do is control how WE swim, rather then wishing the river was calm and risk-free. Sometimes for all our effort bad things will happen. This is why the western modern fixation on cognitive behavioural theory alone is potentially toxic, since it often infers that if we only see things the “right” way, and behave the “right” way, everything will be “just right”. To quote David Hume the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher – this is “nonsense on stilts”! It is however drip,drip,drip fed to us in social and political constructivism, as well as all those “lovely positive thinking” books that clutter the “Mind, Body and Spirit” section of book shops!
Ill? Sick? Mental Health? Personal Development?
Critical psychotherapy thinking challenges the labels associated with seeking therapy. It is not helpful to consider someone “ill” unless you are a medical doctor. “Mental health” is a term only useful to people making disability claims or decisions. “Personal Development” infers a need to try harder. The French philosopher Michel Foucault coined the expression “Career in Mental Health”, not in reference to professionals working in the field, but in relation instead to patients. Once we accept a label (depressive for example), then we are starting our “career” of being a “patient”, “sick person” and “mental health case”. Again this places the emphasis on people being at fault, when often environment (the river) is the cause or large part of the problem.
Although Stuart uses core methods which are research evidenced and or NICE recommended, the overall approach is humanistic, since it treats each person or couple as unique, and seeks to identify not only how to help, but what kind of outcome is wanted by the client (not socially constructed values). Much emphasis is placed on humour and narrative, the latter being the “story” so far experienced by the client, and how the client would like that story to read going forward.
The examples in this section then are just a few “patterns” that hopefully will “ring a bell” in a positive way for people, helping them to realise their core normality and core value, as well as how they are experiencing what Carl Jung called the “human condition”.
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