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Psychodynamic Therapy

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Psychodynamic therapy is rooted in psychoanalysis, where a therapist observes the psychological processes of the client’s brain in order to address these problems and reduce their symptoms. Central to psychodynamic therapy is the relationship between therapist and patient. For example, when the therapist is put in a parental position this can help to examine how the client interacts with their real parents and ways to improve this can be discussed. This type of therapy is versatile and can be short or long-term, and used to treat individuals, groups or couples.

A key principle of psychodynamic theory is that people try to forget their painful memories and emotions by keeping them in their unconscious through defence mechanisms, repression and denial. Psychodynamic therapists aim to get their client to talk about their emotions in order to uncover what troubles them and then reduce or remove these defence mechanisms.

Improvisational psychodynamic music therapy

Psychodynamic therapists may also use music in order to allow the client to express themselves or feel more comfortable during a session. Various musical instruments are used by the client even if they have no experience. Music therapists can then interpret how the client uses the instruments to uncover their personality traits and their underlying emotional difficulties. When the therapist joins in on making this music a strong bond can be built between therapist and client as a foundation for further therapy. Music can also be played during sessions to relax clients who may suffer from anxiety.

Group Therapy

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Various types of psychotherapy can be delivered to a group, but group therapy is especially focused on the use of the group dynamic in order to work through issues. Group therapy is often very beneficial as clients can build their own support network and all have experience with similar difficulties. Group therapy can be used to treat issues such as addiction, depression, eating disorders, OCD, schizophrenia, relationship difficulties and self-harm.

Initially a group therapy session will allow a small group of clients to introduce themselves. Subsequent sessions will allow clients to discuss their problems and progress in an empathetic and trusting environment. Sessions will involve discussion, but also activities which the group can all participate in, such as team building, psychological and trust exercises. Each client does not have to take part in the group activity and can listen and contribute as much as they want to the discussion once they feel comfortable.

Overall group therapy aims to allow the clients to acknowledge their weaknesses and analyse their own behaviour through comparing themselves with other people. Group therapy provides an environment in which sufferers can exchange feedback and tips on how to cope with certain issues, whether that be from the therapist or other group members. Essentially, group therapy alleviates the pain of feeling isolated in suffering and allows the client to build a supportive framework for their confidential worries.

Bereavement Counselling

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Bereavement counselling aims to help clients who are suffering to cope with the confusing and chaotic event of losing a loved one. Clients may suffer from anger, guilt, overwhelming sadness shock, forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate. Overall, experts believe that there are four stages of bereavement. Initially a person must accept that their loss is real and then experience the pain of grief. The sufferer must then adjust to life without their loved one and start putting their energy into something new so that they can move on. Bereavement counsellors aim to help their clients move through these stages smoothly as a supportive and objective aid.

A client’s own family and friends may also be suffering from the same bereavement so it is useful to talk to an objective therapist as well. It is time to seek help when the person cannot function in daily life, sees no point to getting out of bed or neglects themselves or their loved ones for example. Bereavement can be a long lasting period either side of 18 months. Therefore, clients may also wish to see a counsellor a long time after the death of their loved one if they feel they haven’t emotionally progressed.

In some cases a client may seek pre-bereavement counselling if their loved one is suffering from a long-term incurable illness. In this case, therapists can help a client or their family to cope with their overwhelming emotions at this stressful time. Therapy for children facing this event may also be beneficial.

Anger Management Therapy

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Anger can affect people in many different ways, but for some this anger can become out of control and take over a person’s daily behaviour and affect how they function. This can be seen as a problem when it starts to damage a person’s relationships with other people. Anger management therapy aims to help the client identify where their anger stems from and teach the client about how they can reassess situations and express their thoughts in a calmer matter. Clients may voluntarily visit a therapist to address their anger or they may be sent by court-order or their doctor.

An anger management therapist will address specific anger related issues of the client which could include anger surrounding issues such as work, adolescence and relationships. Anger management sessions can be held one-on-one or in a group and are tailored towards the client’s specific needs, using methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Most importantly, anger management sessions aim to teach the client/s how to identify the triggers of their anger and transform their destructive anger into a more positive, constructive and just anger. The therapist also teaches the client techniques which will help them to diffuse conflict. Sessions tend to last from a month to six weeks and are combined with at home journal writing for the client to record their progress. If the client suffers from any other mental health issues such as depression or addiction this will need to be addressed before anger management can commence successfully.


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Physiotherapy aims to help the patient to heal from their injuries, pain or disability through the movement of their muscles and regular prescribed exercise. Physiotherapists mainly work with musculoskeletal problems but can also treat other issues such as:

  • men’s and women’s health (including incontinence)
  • recovery after major surgery
  • orthopaedics and trauma
  • sports
  • workplace health
  • paediatrics (children)
  • care of the elderly
  • education and health promotion
  • intensive care
  • mental health
  • neurology (including stroke)
  • long-term conditions
  • breathing problems

What does Physiotherapy involve?

A Physiotherapist may use a combination of the following methods:

  • Recommending regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Suggesting to a client what they can do on a daily basis to relieve pain.
  • Using both movement and exercise in a treatment plan for the patient to repeat at home. This may include swimming or walking for example.
  • Use manual techniques such as using their hands to massage the client’s joints and muscles in order to improve blood circulation, relieve pain and improve movement in that area. This is particularly successful for lower back pain but is also used alongside cancer treatment to relieve the patient of the side effects of the intensive treatment.

Physiotherapists may also advise that other methods are used alongside their treatment of the patient such as acupuncture or ultrasound which is used to treat deep tissue injuries.

Complementary and Alternative Therapy

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Complementary and Alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments which stand outside of orthodox medicine and mainstream treatment. Most of these therapies are founded on basic principles and are not backed by sufficient scientific evidence and are therefore not acknowledged by a majority of independent scientists. CAM can include therapies such as colonic irrigation, herbalism, chiropractic, physiotherapy and acupuncture.

Complementary and alternative is mainly used as a single category but can be split into two separate methods. Firstly, complementary medicine is used alongside medical treatment in order to relieve the patient of symptoms of their problem. It can also be used solely for the pleasure it provides in itself which can improve the patient’s quality of life. On the other hand, alternative therapies are used instead of mainstream medicine in order to treat a health issue. However some treatments can be used in both ways, for example aromatherapy can be used as a complementary or alternative therapy.

CAM should be considered upon the evidence for its success and the insistence on seeing qualified practitioners. Only chiropractic and osteopathy are managed by professional statutory regulation. Chiropractors and Osteopaths must be registered with their corresponding council. Therefore anyone can practise other types of complementary and alternative treatments with limited experience. It is up to the patient themselves to find a practitioner who they are comfortable and satisfied with to carry out the therapy.

When searching for a therapist, take a look at their qualifications and professional accreditations before contacting them.



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Chiropractic therapy is a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Chiropractors use their hands to relieve their client of disorders of the bones, joints and muscles. Chiropractic should not be used as a substitute for visiting a GP.

Chiropractic treatments are often used for musculoskeletal conditions which include:

  • lower back pain
  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain and problems
  • slipped discs
  • leg pain and sciatica
  • pain or problems with hip, knee, ankle and foot joints
  • pain or problems with elbow, wrist and hand joints
  • fibromyalgia

However, some chiropractors have insisted that they can also treat issues such as asthma, period pains, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines. Chiropractic sessions are used most successfully on persistent lower back pain.

Chiropractic sessions are based upon manipulation of the spine although they can include general advice given to the client on their lifestyle including their diet and regular exercise to improve the client’s wellbeing. Treatment usually lasts from 15-30 minutes and can involve several sessions. Initially a chiropractor will assess their client’s pain and may even arrange for x-rays of the spine to be taken and a treatment plan made.

During a chiropractic session, the client will be asked to remove their upper body clothing so that the spine can be manipulated. Chiropractors may apply short sharp thrusts to the spine, move the client’s joints through different positions or stretch muscles in specific directions. This should be relatively painless unless the injury has made that part of the body inflamed.

The Bowen Technique

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The Bowen technique is used by practitioners to compliment other types of therapy and is believed to aid the body’s natural ability to heal and restore balance without intensive treatment. Bowen practitioners often work alongside allopathic health professionals to support their client in treatment. On average, clients are treated three to four times but may need to be treated over a longer period depending on their specific complaint.

During Bowen therapy sessions, the therapist uses their hands to gently target precise points on the body, applying pressure and using Bowen roll techniques. This action stimulates the muscles and soft tissue. This is relaxing for the client and is not supposed to cause pain or manipulate any of the client’s hard tissue. The Bowen technique allows the body to rebalance its energy and repair itself, having a long-lasting effect upon pain relief and the client’s general wellbeing.

When is the Bowen technique used?

One of the most common complaints treated by Bowen practitioners is back pain. However clients who suffer from respiratory conditions, neck pain and recurring headaches are also frequently treated. Furthermore, Bowen therapy is building its reputation with rugby clubs and premiership football teams as it used widely for sports injuries. Sports players who are regularly treated have reported fewer injuries and even improved performance.

Gestalt Therapy

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Gestalt therapy teaches clients that their interpretations of certain events is not always what is true in reality. The therapist will then help the client to identify the obstacles, patterns and thoughts in their mind which determine the way in which they respond to different situations in order for the client to better understand how to act in the future. The key concepts of gestalt therapy are:

  • Person-centred awareness which focuses on the future.
  • Treating the client whoever they may be with great respect
  • Focusing on the client’s experiences.
  • Experimental This is used by therapists to test their client’s experience in a creative and flexible way.
  • Encouraging individuals to adopt an egalitarian approach to social life.
  • Considering individuals to have good mental health when they have a good relationship with themselves and others around them.

The following techniques are all used in gestalt therapy:

  • Role-Play
  • The ‘Open Chair’ Technique: This involves two chairs and role-play in which the client imagines talking to their self
  • Dialogue which can evolve into laughing singing or dancing
  • Discussion of dreams
  • Attention to body language

Gestalt therapy is all about self-awareness and therefore is a suitable therapy for anyone who has trouble expressing their emotions or is going through a difficult period. It is used to treat a wide array of issues as it can be a short or long-term therapy. For example, gestalt therapy is used to treat issues such as post-traumatic stress, tension, anxiety, depression and addiction. Overall, gestalt therapy aims to make clients feel more confident and calm.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy

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It can be difficult for the human brain to recover from the thoughts and feelings produced from emotional trauma as they can constantly be triggered by small reminders.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) aims to help clients overcome the troubling effects of trauma by using eye movements to help the client desensitise and reprocess traumatic experience. Desensitisation removes or reduces the intensity of these emotions and reprocessing allows the client to replace these feelings with more constructive ones. EMDR is used to treat issues such as trauma, phobias, anxiety and depression. EMDR is particularly helpful for those suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, who find it difficult to talk about their trauma as EMDR is a mainly non-verbal form of therapy.

How does EMDR work?

The movement of our eyes stimulates both the left and right hemispheres of the brain which correlate to our emotions and our rationality. This can help us to erase negative thoughts by forging new links and associations.

An EMDR therapist will work with their client to work out what triggers memories of their trauma and the client will be asked to follow hand movements with their eyes and may be tapped gently on their hands and knees. At the same time, the client will be asked to think about their distress in order to replace these thoughts with more positive ones. EMDR therapy will help a client to reduce their triggers and cope with the trauma that they have suffered.