There are many different therapeutic approaches available to help clients resolve their problems and each approach has its own strengths and limitations. A good therapist is flexible and competent in a number of approaches, so that he or she can match the best approach to the specific needs of each client. Here is some information about the different approaches and modalities available in my practice:
Person-centred counselling is a strongly empathetic approach with an emphasis on genuineness and unconditional acceptance. The basic premise of this approach is that clients naturally have the resources and abilities they need to succeed, and the job of the therapist is to create a conducive climate that allow this growth to occur naturally.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
There are many variations of CBT, but they all have an emphasis on connecting the dots between events, feelings, thoughts and behaviour. The underlying premise of this approach is that our beliefs about ourselves, the people and the world around us filter our perceptions and cause us to misinterpret information. By exploring our belief systems and thoughts and taking better control of our cognitive world, we are better able to choose behaviours that will get us the results we want. This kind of approach often has a strong educational component and the purpose is the teach the client skills that they can use to solve the current and future problems. Want to know more about CBT? Click here for more information.
Reality therapy believes that when the basic psychological needs of people are unmet in their current relationships, they generate behaviours and choices to solve their problems and meet their needs – they intensify their efforts. When these efforts fail and their needs remain unmet, they experience psychological distress. The purpose of reality therapy is therefore to help people meet their needs in healthy ways in their relationships and to find practical ways to solve their current problems. This is a very practical approach with a focus on the here-and-now. For more information about reality therapy, click here.
Eye-movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapy that is particularly useful for working with trauma, but has applications for many other difficulties. The basic theory is that when people experience trauma that is not processed properly, the sensory information of the trauma (images and sensations) are locked in state-specific form in the neurology of the person and remains in that original state where it is repeatedly triggered, resulting in a re-experiencing of the emotional intensity of the trauma. EMDR uses eye-movements, bi-lateral sounds or kinesthetics to process the original trauma and allow it to integrate into the person’s mind-body system. EMDR is a specific therapy and therapist need to be specially trained in this modality to apply it – always ask your therapist about their accreditation. Click here for more information about EMDR.
Santray therapy is a creative approach in which a client (child or adult) uses miniatures or figurines to build a “world” in a sand tray. The picture in the sandtray is discussed and is a metaphor for the client’s experience of life at the moment. This is a very popular approach to use with children, because it does not demand from the children that they discuss their problems with the therapist. As an indirect approach, it is a very gentle therapy that is also very powerful as it addressed problems that are “beyond mere words”. Want to know more? Click here to watch a video on Youtube about sandtray therapy.
There are many variations of hypnotherapy, but most approaches work by helping clients to focus their attention in specific ways that allow them to activate their own internal resources and solutions. There are many myths and misconceptions about hypnotherapy – click here for some more information about hypnosis. It is important that hypnotherapists are properly trained and accredited – always ask your therapist about their training and credentials.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP is a collection of various approaches and modalities and not a therapy per se. NLP is a way of using the language of your brain and body to eliminate unhealthy patterns of behaviour and establish healthy and productive patterns in your life. It is an approach that is often associated with life coaching and typically takes a very active, positive stance. Many NLPers also use hypnotherapy as part of their interventions.