WHAT IS COUNSELLING
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
― Carl R. Rogers,
Sometimes life becomes overwhelming. It happens to everyone at some point. At these times we really benefit from the support of others. Often that support comes from friends and family and that's great, but sometimes they aren't the right people to help us. Maybe the people you usually turn to are just too close to the events, maybe you don't want to worry them, or, maybe you simply know that they can't help this time.
A counsellor is a really good listener, someone who can be wholly impartial and have no judgement. Someone who can sit with you and teach you how to stay with your feelings in a safe and manageable way, who can offer some insights into what may be happening for you, who can ask the questions that will uncover your truth, who will always treat you respectfully and will strive to really see your uniqueness, and then help you to know what actions you want to take, or support you to accept things as they are if taking action isn't right for you just now.
I've always loved this cartoon as a representation of what counselling is.
Without adding his own material, the therapist is simply taking what is already in the client's head and, using the right tools, helping to organise some of the tangle into something more useful and controllable.
With so many different types of counselling and psychotherapy available, it can be confusing to know which option is best for you. I have outlined some of the more common approaches below and, as an integrative practitioner, I am trained to use all of these approaches and adapt to suit your individual circumstances.
Person Centred Therapy - A humanistic therapy that focuses on helping you find your inner resources and reach your full potential.
Psychodynamic Therapy - Also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behaviour. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are a client’s self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behaviour.
Existential Therapy - Focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning - often looking at the essence of you rather than on a symptom. The approach emphasizes your capacity to make rational choices and to develop to your maximum potential.
Gestalt Therapy - Focuses on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience. Instead of simply talking about past situations, clients are encouraged to experience them, perhaps through re-enactment.
CBT - Working with a therapist to find the source of negative thinking and transform those thoughts into a positive, growth mindset.
Solution Focused Therapy - Also known as brief therapy, is based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. It predominantly explores an individual's current resources and future hopes. This can help them to look forward and use their own strengths to achieve their goals.
Somatic Therapy - Looks at the connection of mind and body and uses both psychotherapy and physical therapies for holistic healing. In addition to talk therapy, somatic therapy practitioners use mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help release the pent-up tension that is negatively affecting your physical and emotional wellbeing.