Counselling is a process in which the client (you) and the Counsellor (me) work together to tackle any problems which you bring to therapy. Talking to a third party, who does not have a vested interest in the result, can be very useful for a lot of people.
By talking to a Counsellor, it can help to give you different ideas around what is happening in your life and how you can cope with it or change it, depending on what you want from therapy. Therapy can help you to reframe the past, making more sense of where you have come from and what is going on for you now.
My work is governed by the underlying principle of Person-Centred counselling, but I work from an Integrative approach which means that I use different theoretical perspectives in my work. I use CBT, Mindfulness, Gestalt, Art Therapy, Psychodynamic Approaches, Attachment Theory and Systems Theory, to name a few, as a basis for our work. I work using an Evidence-Based approach, meaning that every theory or technique that I utilise has been studied and there is scientific evidence available to show that the techniques work.
Some of the Different Models I use during Therapy
Different modalities work for different situations; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, can be very helpful with phobias, depression, Anger management, stress and problems that affect us in the here and now. CBT is working with the way our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical feelings affect us- our triggers. For example, we may be afraid of spiders, thinking “Spiders are scary”, which is the thoughts component. In turn, this thought affects our feelings- we might feel scared or anxious when we see a spider. This will then affect how we behave- we may avoid the attic or the garden shed so that we don’t come in to contact with any spiders. Coming in to contact with a spider will change our physical feelings- our tummy will feel funny, we might tense our muscles, our temperature may rise and we may become flushed.
So, as you can see, there can be a lot of things going on for us, when we encounter our trigger. CBT looks at challenging these thoughts, feelings and beliefs and looks at ways of changing the way we deal with our triggers when we encounter them. The above example of CBT is only the tip of the iceberg- there is so much more to discover during therapy!
Mindfulness is a technique whereby we keep ourselves mindful of the present- we learn to experience our moments in the present. This can really help us to focus on what is going on for us, here and now, and not dwell on the past or look to the future. This is a really good way to ground us and make us acknowledge our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences.
Gestalt therapy is another technique that can be utilised within therapy. It is based on the supposition that each individual is a whole; a mind, body and soul, and that we can best understand ourselves by looking at our current situation and how we experience that situation. Each individual experience is unique- the way I experience the room we are in, during therapy, is often very different from how you, the client experiences it. Gestalt can be a very useful technique to increase non-judgemental self-awareness within you, the client.
Art Therapy is exactly what you think it is- utilising arts and crafts to describe how we feel and what we are experiencing. It can be particularly useful when a client finds it difficult to vocalise what has/is happening for them in their lives. The process of making and creating the art can be the therapy in itself.
The Psychodynamic approach seems to be the approach that most people are familiar with- Sigmund Freud is the Father of Psychodynamics, but the process has been refined greatly over the years. Although the Psychodynamic approach does utilise past experiences, it is not all based on just that! We work with Defences- which are our own way of protecting ourselves from difficult situations and circumstances. We work with the Transference within the therapeutic room- does the client transfer their anger at their family on to the therapist. It is skilled work but can be very rewarding in terms of outcome for clients.
Attachment therapy is perhaps one of my favourite theoretical models in therapy- Attachment stems from our very early years; the first five or so years of our life and our experience of how we were cared for and how we learned to ‘attach’ to our parents or cares, which in turn leads to how we learn to make a template of how relationships work. Attachment work, for me, underlines most of what I do- most of my clients come to me with issues around attachment. That is not to say that all my clients have Attachment issues, and, for a lot of clients, they do not necessarily know they have attachment issues when they come to therapy!
Systems Theory is another favourite of mine- it is based on the idea that we all live and work and breath within ‘systems’. There can be a family system, a friendship based system, a work based system and perhaps a relationship based system. These systems are created from templates that we have of other systems we have experienced in our lives- sometimes these systems are flawed, and we have to relearn new templates and how to create a new system for ourselves that help us to function and live in a more comfortable manner.
Finally, the area I have left until last is Person Centered counselling. This is basically what holds together my model of counselling- it is a Humanistic approach, which means I am non-judgemental, have respect for my client, I listen, I am empathic and offer unconditional positive regard to my clients- this means that anything you say to me, I can hold in the space and not judge you for. I will always be accepting of what you say to me, whether I agree with it or not, and I will always support you in that context. After all, you are the expert in your life.
Areas of Therapy I specialise in
The areas of therapy that I specialise in are Gender Identity, LGBTQIA+, pre-post natal issues, depression, anxiety, addictions, abuse, adolescents, affairs, anger and anger management, bereavement, bullying, chronic and life-limiting illnesses, family issues, emotional abuse, low self esteem and lack of confidence, PTSD, rape, self harm, marital difficulties, intimacy issues, suicidal thoughts, panic, men’s issues and going through personal or professional crisis. Although I am open to dealing with other issues, please do get in contact and see if we can work together!