We are surrounded by promises of quick fixes and simple solutions to complex problems. If only there was a way to make life instantly better or make the pain go away quickly. Hence the popularity of drugs and other substances, both prescribed and illegal. Addictive behaviour is about instant gratification, a temporary fix to an ongoing problem. Cults promise absolution, enlightenment, ultimate bliss and freedom from suffering; Multilevel marketing schemes promise wealth, success and happiness in a short period of time; Dubious health and diet programmes want you to believe that you will look great instantly…and the list goes on.
What all of them have in common is the illusion of quick fixes and miracle cures, which preys on people’s insecurity and vulnerability. Gurus, religious leaders, charlatans and so-called ‘experts’, misuse their self-proclaimed powers and training to use, exploit and even abuse, whilst offering very little in return. They take advantage by keeping people dependent and in a constant state of wanting: a solution to their problems, instant gratification or a better future. The mental health field is also sadly riddled with those who proclaim to offer a quick solution to human suffering by claiming expertise and promising miracles, whilst criticising serious professionals who adopt a more realistic view and refrain from promises they can’t be certain to deliver.
Psychotherapy – based on evidence and reality.
Psychotherapy does not proclaim miracle cures or quick fixes. Instead, it is realistic about its advantages and limitations. We know that it takes time to get to know a new client/patient, and to find a way forward together. Psychotherapy is based on mutuality and dialogue, instead of expert opinion being imparted to a passive recipient. Psychotherapists encourage and empower the client’s knowledge and inner resources, as opposed to making them rely solely on external solutions. Credible psychotherapy is usually long-term and spaced at weekly or twice weekly intervals for consistency. There are no intensive workshops or compressed sessions, due to the tried-and-tested benefits of keeping a consistent rhythm and pacing treatment. There will be a degree of dependency from a client on their therapist, which is healthy and a normal part of the therapeutic process (or indeed of any significant relationship). However, the aim is to appropriately encourage a move towards autonomy and independence, with the internalisation of the therapeutic work done. This means clients eventually learn to become their own therapists and hopefully apply their learning in their daily lives when they are no longer in therapy.
I believe that anyone who proclaims they can cure human suffering quickly is being deceptive. Mental health is a serious matter, and credible professionals train for many years to be able to work in this rewarding and sensitive field. In addition to training, good professionals must have certain personal qualities to enable them to do this work. Namely, empathy, kindness, patience, curiosity, resilience, and an ability to stay grounded. We also must be able to think and feel deeply and help others do the same. Therapist and client must sit with quite a lot of uncertainty because psychotherapy isn’t a linear and tidy process, just as people’s lives aren’t.
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy is a collective of well trained, and experienced clinicians. Each of us have our own speciality and special interests. On our website you will find extensive content on some of the common types of issues that people seek therapy for, as well as the types of therapy that we offer. Our clinicians work on a long- or short-term basis depending on client need and type of therapy required.
To get in touch with us, please use the search function on our website.
Further reading by Sam Jahara