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How are Psychological Therapy and Personal Therapy different?

Personal Therapy is for Traineees or qualified psychological professionals who seek for personal growth.

The term personal therapy means ‘to personally experience therapy’. It was developed in the counselling & psychotherapy field, as counselors, psychotherapists or psychologists in training are required to attend ‘personal therapy’ before they become qualified to provide the same service for the others – “Learn to experience the process before you can understand it”. The trainee learns to unpack different elements of the own life, link the self with past experiences, and explore opportunities to grow.

Outside the ‘professional framework’, personal thearpy is an opportunity for someone who wishes to attain in-depth personal growth.

For me to explain it more in-depth, let us look at psychological health as a broad spectrum. One end is attaining abundant psychological health; the other end indicates clear and significant mental health problems.

As you move from one end (abundant health) towards the other, you may still feel well enough, and you are functioning as usual in your everyday life. You may have some difficulties in life – and in reality, all of us in fact do experience some sort of difficulties, but you have your ways to get on with life or simply ignore the problems. Therefore the question of whether we need help is the often a big grey area which we do not have the urgency to address, at least for more than 60% of people in this world who fall into this grey area. Without a big problem which seriously affect your life, you do not have a big reason to change. However, if you look at this statement from the positive perspective, there is definitely room for opportunities of growth and self-development, such that you can move towards the direction of abundant health.

This is the area for personal therapy. It helps you enhance self-development: self-awareness, interpersonal dynamics, personality, own strengths and weaknesses, mindfulness, etc. Also you are welcome to bring up stress, anxiety or relationship difficulties which are the restrains in your life, and work on building the more effective strategies to help you be free from these ‘restrains’.

Psychological Therapy aims at addressing your issues which are often difficult to be managed by the self, and it needs addressing of how the problem snowball-ed in the past till now.

Then as you further move across the spectrum towards the other end, you recognize your suffering from some difficulties which affect your life; you are too affected by the problems and may require help. At this point you recognize the problems are too big for you to handle yourself. You may find the occurrance of mental health problems (often we describe as symptoms) too difficult to control. Psychological thearpy takes place to help you develop strategies to address and better manage the problem. Often at the time when the problem occurs, you may recognize some long suppressed or unaddressed issues from the past. This is also why psychological therapy, a regular exploration is useful as the professional would work together with you to unpack the complex relationship between the past experiences, patterns and the current lifestyle, relationships and issues.


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