It’s good to recognise the difference. Occasionally, I will meet with a therapy client who expects me to give them advice. It makes sense when someone is struggling or hurting that they want someone to tell them what to do to make it stop. However, giving advice is not psychotherapy. In my practice, it’s about working together.
The therapy space
The therapy space is a place to explore your feelings and make discoveries about yourself. It’s a process to help you gain a better understanding of your inner world and your relationships. It’s not usually a quick fix. Rather, it takes time, reflection and often courage to see the patterns that emerge. Sometimes it means acknowledging and being with the confusion as we wait for the answer.
In the Dance Movement Psychotherapy session I will integrate interventions into the process. I may guide a client in exercises for symptomatic relief. In addition, I will possibly suggest techniques which might be useful for them to try on their own. However, these are specific therapeutic approaches and not the same thing as giving advice or coaching. Friends and counsellors give advice. On the other hand, a therapist will help you arrive at a solution that’s right for you. Allowing the therapeutic process to unfold, I gently hold the space. Supporting you as explore your inner world and your awareness grows. Over time, you become conscious of the answers that are right for you.
A common misperception is that therapy is just about having someone to talk to. Not to say that talking doesn’t happen in my sessions, or that it can’t be useful. But the theoretical foundations of this work include developmental psychology, phenomenology of body experiences, affective neuroscience, non-verbal interaction and movement behaviour, body memory systems, embodied cognition and social psychology. This means we can work at real depth without the requirement to put things into words.
It’s very different from making an appointment with a medical doctor, having a diagnosis and then a procedure or medication to put things right. So, you can see that therapy and advice are not the same thing.