There are over 240 theories of counselling and psychotherapy. Being an integrative therapist with over 10 years theoretical experience means I draw on a variety of theories and techniques depending on the needs of each individual. Below is a brief description of some of the theories we might draw upon. I would not specifically state which one we are using at any given time rather blend them into our work. I have included a brief case study below to demonstrate how integration of theories may work.
The person-centred approach has a very positive and optimistic view of human nature. The philosophy is that people are essentially good and that ultimately the individual knows what is right for them, this is the essential ingredient of successful person centred therapy. Together we explore every aspect of the problem or issue and will generally find outcomes or viewpoints that were previously unknown. I can then support you to make changes derived from new insights. PCT is our starting point and the theory I most commonly draw upon.
In this approach we focus on ways to help improve an individual’s self-image or self-actualization – the things that make them feel worthwhile. It is grounded in the belief that people are innately good but may have lost touch with their potential.
Psychodynamic counselling is derived from psychoanalysis. The aim of psychodynamic therapy is to help individuals to unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that we hold onto painful feelings and memories and in order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface, many people will develop defences. According to psychodynamic theory, these defences will often do more harm than good.
Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual’s confrontation with the “givens of existence”. These givens are: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, isolation and meaninglessness.
Neurobiology / Trauma
One of the the newest areas of research in psychotherapy is Neurobiology and Relational Neurbiology focusing especially on the impact of Trauma on Neurological Pathways and Brain Development. In simple terms this area of speciality is concerned with the re-wiring, and assisting positive regulating of the brain and body after trauma.
I promote awareness as a key instrument of change. I have an in-depth understanding of the theory and philosophy from which mindfulness based therapeutic practices such as MBSR, MBCT, MBCL are based and a deep understanding of the principles of spiritual therapies and philosophies. I do not impose any beliefs on people but I am happy to discuss and work with these philosophies and can point towards many helpful resources (on-line, groups,retreats, practitioners, reading material etc) should you require. I maintain a personal practice of meditation and am happy to teach simple meditation.
Choice Theory/ Reality Therapy.
Choice Theory explains how our choices determine our lives and how and why we make those choices. It teaches us how to self evaluate and how to make choices that lead to more satisfying lives.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a goal directed form of psychotherapy widely used to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. CBT focuses on examining the relationship between thoughts, behaviours and emotions. See my recent blog post on Treating Anxiety using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy here.
Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of treatment programmes which aim to improve your mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature. Connecting with nature in this way can have lots of positive health benefits. More information on this work can be found here.