Counsellor, Dip. Couns, MBACP
Further information on the different counselling approaches/modalities offered
Counselling approaches/modalities offered
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Humanistic therapy focuses on the individual as a whole. It encourages people to think about their feelings and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions. The emphasis is on the development of the individual, their relationship to others and society. Person-centred therapy is a form of the humanistic model.
Person-centred therapy is my core approach to counselling. Person-, or client-centred therapy as it is otherwise known, is based on the view that everyone has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change, given the right conditions. That the individual is the only expert of their own life, they are the only person living it and only they know what feels right for them. This being the case, as a person-centred counsellor I will not be directive during our sessions. I will not lecture, judge or advise my clients. My role is to instead listen and understand how things really are for them, so that I can support my clients in any way they require and allow them to gain clarity, develop, grow and find their own way. I also help them to prioritise what is most important in their life, and gain relief from the unstructured turmoil they may have found themselves in.
As a person-centred counsellor I believe the quality of the relationship between the counsellor and client, (ie, the therapeutic relationship), is key to healing. I, therefore, work to build trust, mutual respect and the desire to work in partnership during my sessions, supporting, respecting and valuing my clients as I do so. My work is underpinned by my having empathy and positive regard for my clients, being non-judgemental, congruent, keeping confidences and creating an environment that helps the therapeutic relationship develop and builds client trust.
The focus of my sessions, as a person-centred counsellor, is whatever is most important for the client – what they want to work on, or what they feel they need support with. I work alongside my clients to help them bring about the changes they would like to see in their life, at a pace determined by them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of therapy which can help clients who understand their anxieties/concerns to find ways to overcome their usual way of responding to them. Rather than looking at past causes, it focuses on current problems and how alternative ways of thinking and/or behaving could address some of the difficulties they are experiencing. It's aim is to change the way we think (cognitive) and what we do (behaviour) to positive effect.
The way we think about situations influences the way we feel and behave. If we view a situation negatively, for example, we may experience negative feelings and emotions, which may in turn lead us to behave in an unhelpful way. CBT can help us to challenge any negative thinking so we can deal with situations better and behave in a more positive way.
CBT can be helpful for depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and managing long term conditions.
Existential therapy focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning. It centres on the person, rather than the difficulty/issue/concern, and the person's capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. In existential therapy the aim of the counsellor is to support the client as they make sense of life through the willingness to face it and its problems.
The existentialist belief is that life has no essential or predetermined meaning, that each individual is entirely free and ultimately responsible for their behaviour/actions, and for whatever results from them. It opines that everyone has the ability to make authentic, meaningful, and self-directed choices about how they live. According to the existential approach, the inherent conflicts which arise from this free will, self-determination and the search for meaning, can cause anxiety, which can trigger negative thoughts and feelings of meaninglessness in life.
Existential therapists help clients to find meaning in the face of this anxiety by assisting them to think and act responsibly and by confronting negative internal thoughts rather than 'blaming' external forces like societal pressures or luck. They encourage clients to foster creativity, love, authenticity, and free will in life, and use interventions to increase self-awareness and self-understanding – encouraging the client to explore their experiences, values and beliefs, and explicitly name, (ie, 'admit to'), what has previously been left unspoken.
Existential therapy can be helpful for clients who are struggling to make healthy life choices and accept the consequences of these choices. This may include individuals struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, and a wide range of psychological and behavioural issues.
When treating addiction disorders, for example, the existential therapist helps the client to face the anxiety that tempts them to abuse substances and guides them to take responsibility. The aim of this is to teach the client to make more wilful decisions about how to live, drawing on creativity and love, instead of letting outside events determine their behaviour. The client is supported in living more authentically and purposefully, whilst accepting the limitations and contradictions of what it is to be human.
A phenomenological approach looks at an individual's perception and experience of a situation or event rather than its external reality. It focuses on what the client believes/considers the reality to be, rather than the reality itself.
A phenomenological therapist will work with the client to understand why they see things in the way they do and to help them discover more helpful ways of thinking and behaving. They will use the therapeutic relationship, plus empathy, congruence, unconditional positive regards, and non-judgemental behaviour to encourage the client to explore their feelings and emotions more deeply,