Is therapy a cure?
A few thoughts about the suitability or otherwise of the medical model to talking therapies.
I was challenged by reading the idea recently that psychotherapy offers a 'cure' for clients. It got me thinking about how I perceive both my role and my clients.
When a patient visits a medical doctor, that doctor is considered an expert, and it is hoped they have tangible solutions to the problems experienced. Their treatment can provide a cure.
Not even in physical medicine are things that clear cut. Mind and body are one integrated system, there are many, many times I have met people who's physical symptoms medicine can not understand, and therefore is unable to 'cure.'
In my role, people come to see me because they are suffering. Their most common question up front is 'can you help?' Thankfully, most times, I am able to say to clients that my belief is that their symptoms can be helped by the two of us collaboratively working so that they can find their own solutions and remedies. I can offer questions, reflections, sometimes even options to consider for managing symptoms, but that is as much as talking therapy can offer.
Is this a cure? No. In my frame of reference there is no cure needed because I do not believe my clients to be broken. The people I work with are resilient, strong people with a will to heal and many resources they can bring to bear. They seldom see themselves that way, but this is the view of them I hold in mind as we work and their natural resourcefulness begins to emerge.
When their are mental health symptoms I believe the mind-body system is out of balance, and it is communicating its distress viscerally to the client, inviting them to take action. Symptoms are therefore a call to heal.
Our role in therapy is together to listen listen open-heartedly to symptoms and to allow the messages they aim to convey to emerge in their own time and way. In this way the client can evolve and adjust, sometimes leaving free for good of the symptoms they once experienced, and sometimes leaving with the insight they need to manage things differently in a way they can find peace with.
No therapy is a one-size fits all, and nothing is perfect. Finding the right fit for you is essential, but while you shop, do remember you are not broken, and the nature of therapy is one of finding a peer to support you, not an expert to fix you. To find out more about how I work as a psychotherapist, please get in touch on 0191 3720318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.