Psychotherapy is a loaded word. It conjures up images of stuffy Victorian offices, cigar-smoking therapists (asking about your mother), or perhaps even Norman Bates, the iconic hotel owner in Alfred Hitchcock's aptly named Psycho. Fortunately, the word psycho has much deeper roots, going back to Greek mythology and Psyche, the goddess of the soul. So, to begin destigmatizing psychotherapy I ask, what's in a word? The word psychotherapy is derived from the Ancient Greek word psyche, meaning "breath; spirit; soul", and therapeia, meaning "healing" or "medical treatment".
Sigmund Freud, the controversial grandfather of psychotherapy, used the German word "Seele" (a mash-up of "psyche" and "soul") when referring to the very core of our identity. Given the ethereal nature of "soul", it doesn't come as a surprise that many of the poetic aspects of Freud's prose were lost when “Seele” was replaced with “mind” for American audiences. These conflicting interpretations have manifested themselves in hundreds of schools of thought, many of which fall into either the medical or humanistic model. In the medical model the client is seen as having a disorder, which the psychotherapist attempts to cure. In contrast, the humanistic model strives to depathologize the human condition, creating instead an environment in which self-actualization is possible.
As a humanistic psychotherapist I work relationally, meaning our relationship is the catalyst for change. My goal is to help you build confidence in your own natural process, resulting in a deeper personal understanding. As we uncover unconscious content in your psyche, we can ease psychic tensions that manifest in a variety of issues, allowing you the space and time to integrate your life experiences. Therefore, as a humanist, I prefer to call it psyche-therapy.