Talking: Families

Frequently Asked Question’s

What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

In my opinion the difference is mainly historical. Psychotherapists mainly worked within the mental health field.

Psychotherapy training was generally longer (4 year’s minimum) and specialised in working with people with mental health difficulties. It was seen as being interventive.

Counselling was seen as a talking therapy - the counsellor mainly listening and perhaps offered advice.

Today, however, much of the training for counselling and psychotherapy is similar in length and many psychotherapists describe themselves as counsellors. The identities of the professionals have become overlapping and both are now described as offering a talking therapy.

What is Systemic?

The word systemic comes from systems theory.

In the 1950’s when many Psychiatrists were experimenting in working with whole families an English man called Gregory Bateson influenced the field greatly with his ideas on cybernetics and how, in systems theory, everything was connected.

The idea that came from this is that people belong to systems, networks of relationships, within work, education, friends, family, community etc.

All these systems of which a person is a part influence them, and the individuals influence the system.

In systemic work what we are interested in is the network of relationships which influences the individual, couple, family or team and how, whatever difficulty they are facing at the time, is influencing the systems with in which they are a part - in a circular process.

Why Systemic Therapy?


My belief is that to be human is to be in relationship.

In my experience most of the concerns and struggles people face in life can be thought about in terms of their many relationships, both current and in the past. Through exploring these relationships and making sense of them, people find a way of moving forward.

The systems involved with the individual, couple or in the family’s current life can also be recruited into supporting individual and group change. This is a key factor in strong and rapid health improvement.

A key factor of Systemic Family Therapy is making sense of actions and not apportioning blame.

Can you help me?

I think that when someone is requesting help, they are already half way to making the necessary changes in their life. You have already recognised that things are not the way you want them to be.

My way of working is collaborative and I will work with you and your network of relationships, for as long or as short a time as you would like, to achieve the change you want.

I/we can’t change other people; we can only accept them and support them if they want to change.

My way of working with you, if your relationships are not healthy and sustaining, is to support you in changing your perspectives on that/those relationships.

I am happy to initially spend time on the telephone with prospective clients in order that they can make an informed choice about whether I am the right person to be of help.