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Which kind of Counselling do I need?

So many kinds, person centred, psychodynamic, gestalt, cognitive behavioural, acceptance and commitment, wonder you are confused.

Let me tell you about the system I trained in. It is basically a psychodynamic approach that will draw on aspects of all of the above. But here are the basics.

What is Transactional Analysis (TA)?

It does sound a bit fancy and complicated, I won’t deny!

However, many specialists agree that over 99% of what is going on in a human brain is subconscious so one would expect a modality exploring this to be able to navigate those depths.

Most basically Transactional Analysis works with inner voices, most often a parental inner critic, sometimes a rebellious inner child and hopefully a neutral adult position which takes account of all the voices that arise.

More and more research is helping us understand parts of the brain and how they are helping us relate as humans. We have a limbic system which is involved in survival faculties and learning quickly what does and doesn’t work to achieve that. We might say that this produces the ‘child’ part that we discuss in TA. It can be hard to access as so much of it is hard wired or developed at a young age. It is also a very powerful part which can ‘hi jack’ the prefrontal cortex or ‘adult’ part, which has more capacities for thinking consciously and problem solving.

Much of therapy is about trying to hang onto this ‘adult’ part of the brain despite the strong instinctual and child like pull of the ‘limbic system.’  This can take time as the plasticity in the brain is explored and unwrapped. New options for behaviours and thoughts can be found.

We need to explore the third part that is used in the TA model. This is a ‘parent’ part which is a kind of bridge between the child and the adult. The ‘parent’ part can try to function in a world of rules that make no sense, are not consistent or are loaded with judgements and expectations that are not a good fit for the humans involved.

The main objective of therapy is looking at how this ‘parent’ part has learned to act as a bridge between early and inbred survival instincts and the world we live in.  In exploring this we can be helped to find a more neutral, supportive and considered ‘adult’ part.  This ‘adult’ part is better at addressing needs a child part may have missed and working in current time to self support and get more from life.

This is a very simple description of TA as used in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

My training was with Physis Scotland which is a well respected deliverer of Counselling and Psychotherapeutic training in Scotland and within the TA community. I enjoyed its thorough approach and in the insistence that students receive a substantial experience of therapy within the training process.

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