Work fields

Anthroposophic psychological therapies are used worldwide in a large range of professions. In fact any profession that uses dialogue and human psychology belongs to this workfield. For the purpose of creating an overview we have made the underneath categories:

- Psychology
- (Therapeutic) Biography work and Coaching
- Counselling & Psychotherapy (Heilpraktiker)
- Clinical Psychotherapy
- Psychosomathy
- Psychiatry

In Anthroposophic psychological therapies the normal diagnosis of the needs and treatment for a patient is accompanied by the understanding of the individual's capacity to take hold of his or her life and experiences. (also named the I capacity) If the experiences we have during our life are too big, too traumatic or we do not have the right constitutional conditions to deal with them help might be found in the above therapies. Below you can find a short description and example of a (fictional) case study.

Psychology
stands at the heart of all therapy as the knowledge of human psychology. (psycho=soul, logy=knowledge) Psychology is an area of research and study that also relates to non-clinical and non-therapeutic aspects of the human being. In psychology we can direct attention outward and study how people behave and what they do. We can also direct attention inward and study our inner life and experiences – for example by observing and working on our thinking, feeling and will. We can cultivate and develop our inner human capacities and the way we respond to experiences and encounters from outside. Developing these inner qualities paves the road for our spiritual existence to shine more and more deeply into our daily path of life – providing strength from within our spiritual core.

(Therapeutic) Biography work
can be done with people in groups or in one to one sessions. The therapist accompanies the patient, also named client, who is seen as another human being on an equal level. 'Healing and therapy' is instigated by the therapeutic relationship, the help to finding meaning and understanding for the events in the patient's biography and support through a difficult time. The therapist helps the patient to find his or her own inner strength again. Tools like biographical maps, painting, clay modeling, role playing might be used as well as counselling and psychotherapy.

For example:
A young man of 28 is finding it hard to find the right work for him and this is making him feel more and more unhappy. After a conversation with a friend, he turns towards a recommended biography worker. Here he explores his aims and wishes, his ideals and the setting of his biographical path. It turned out that he experienced the behaviour of his father as a pressure which made him turn into a different direction of work than what he actually feels comfortable with. He finds new courage and energy to make a new choice and researches ways of standing up towards his family. When he makes a biographical chart he sees a certain theme that comes again and again in his life, his love for woodcarving. During the sessions he starts exploring in what direction to take his refound gifts.

Counselling & Psychotherapy
more often works with people in individual sessions although support groups can also be offered. As with therapeutic biography work the therapists supports the patient in taking hold of his or her own life again. The process however can be longer and the therapy is more often aimed at people in some level of distress, for example working through traumatic experiences, bereavement, eating disorders and mooddisorders. Similar techniques as with therapeutic biography work might be used, but the therapist has been trained to observe and work with the patient's capacities and conditions. In many cases a doctor or a team with other therapists is part of the treatment. In England and America the terms counselling and psychotherapy are often used for the same work. In other European countries a more clear distinction is made between the two, where psychotherapists must be examined with a state Exam
similar to clinical psychotherapists, where as in England and America both counselling and psychotherapy trainings are often accredited in their examinationmethods by a government supported association.

For example:
A 35 year old lady is overwhelmed at work, she lost her parents quite close to each other two years ago and feels unhappy in her current relationship. She has been thinking about having children, but not with this partner. She feels more and more depressed and does not see a way forward herself. When her employer confronts her with the poor quality of her work, she feels unable to cope and decides to seek help. The psychotherapists listens deeply to her recent bereavement and the change the loss of both her parents have brought into her life. It turns out that the relationship with her partner has changed over the last 2 years and he finds it hard to cope with her grief, which makes her feel he would not be able to give her the support she would herself need if she had children. During several months the therapists and client work with her grief and anxieties, after which she feels able to have a heart to heart talk with her partner about their future together.

Clinical Psychotherapy
is given by practitioners who have been trained in University, studying first Psychology or Medicine and then specialise in Psychological Psychotherapy or Medical Psychotherapy. The psychotherapists is trained to work with psychological disorders as well as the diagnosing of these. The medical psychotherapist is also qualified to give (anthroposophic) medicines to enhance the treatment of the patient.

For example:
A woman comes to a psychotherapist because of the many problems she has in her life, she is often in debts, has difficulties in maintaining her relationships and does not really care what happens to her when it comes to these relationships. To relief her continuous inner tension she cuts herself, but makes sure no body can see the scars. Normally she does not trust therapists, but she now reached a point where she no longer feels able to cope on her own. Her nightmares have returned and during the day she has flashbacks of traumatic events out of her childhood. If it was not for her son she would no longer bother she says. She finds it hard to keep coming to the sessions, but feels some relief as well as she can share her burdens. Together with her doctor a supporting medicine is found to help her body cope with the horrible experiences and flashbacks of abuse. After a while she is able to come more regularly and starts to share something of her past. She feels less isolated and also does not feel the need to cut herself so often. During the sessions she realises that her son now is the same age as she was when the abuse started and she is understands know why the nightmares returned.  

Psychosomathy
is based at hospitals. The patient has a physical problem for which no physical origin can be found. After all tests have been done in the hospital he is refered to the psychosomatic departement. The therapists is a medically trained doctor who works with medicines as well as psychotherapeutic methods.

For example:
A 58 year old businessman has severe stomache problems. The pain makes it necessary for him to be taken into hospital. When no origin can be found, he is advised to follow a special diet to help his digestion. This works for a while, but after a few months the pain returns. Eventually he is referred to the psychosomatic department where he is exploring the current daily life occurences. It turns out that the stress of running his own company is eating at him and his family life. His wife has threatened to leave him if he keeps working late hours and he feels continually quilty for missing out on his family. When he realises what lies at the bottom of his stomage pain he is able to look for a business partner to share the burden without feeling a failure.

Psychiatry
deals with people with severe psychological problems. Often the problems have a physical origin and need medical treatment for the organ systems to be brought back in balance. The risk for suicide is high as people can loose the connection to their self (or I) and no longer live in reality. Voices can tell them that they can fly, visual images can torment them which have no actual origin in previous life experiences. When the organic functions are brought back into balance, these symptons become less. The psychological disorders are mostly life long and part of the treatment is finding the right way to live with them for the patient.

For example:
A 20 year old man has become more and more depressed. He can no longer cope at University and has to go back home to his parents. His parents bring him to a psychiatrist when they notice he has moments when he becomes extremely fearful and starts talking to something he sees, while there is nothing in the room. The psychiatrist makes a diagnosis of his condition and recognises symptons of Schizofrenia. He starts his treatment with regular medication for the hallucinations to keep his condition in balance, at the same time as anthroposophic medication to support the organ systems which causes the hallucinations together with some eurythmy therapy to help his I relate to his physical body. After a few months his condition improves and he feels more 'normal' again. A plan is made how to support him in his future life.