Techniques and Methods of Therapy I Employ:
This method concerns itself with how clients think about themselves instead of delving into unconscious thoughts or behaviour patterns. The central premise is that each person’s emotional development unfolds naturally, if supported, but this inherent pathway is so often derailed by negative life experiences or unsatisfactory relationships. The therapist in this type of approach tries to understand a client’s experiences from their own unique point of view so, together, they are able to clarify a client’s value system and improve their self-worth. Person-Centred therapists attempt to be open-minded, curious, accepting and genuine while they support clients to find their own path toward authentic living.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a popular method of psychotherapy which teaches a client to recognise how thoughts, feelings and behaviour are connected and how they affect one another. It attempts to break down large, complicated problems into more understandable and manageable tasks so that a person can take responsibility for changing the elements of their lives that are causing them particular difficulty. The method sometimes includes explorations of past events that have shaped a client’s functioning, but the main emphasis is always on the ‘here and now’.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Solution-focused Brief Therapy attempts to use a client’s own internal and external resources to build specific plans toward achieving goals. It focuses on the ‘here and now’ and consists of several necessary elements. Therapy is short-term and contracted for a particular number of sessions. There is an emphasis on what is possible within that timeframe and clients choose what issues to work on. They must be motivated to change and are considered to be experts in their own lives, fully capable of mobilising their own strengths to solve their own problems.
Systemic or Family Therapy
The systems of interaction within families or groups provides the focus for this type of therapy. Therapists clarify each person’s role and encourage the development of empathy in group members as well as a better understanding of each other’s motivations and needs. The emphasis is on effective communication patterns and better methods of working out conflict.
This form of therapy is very similar to systemic or family therapy. It concerns itself with the patterns of relationship between two people whose lives are interdependent. Again, empathy, communication styles and conflict resolution skills are the key to success when meeting the many challenges of a complex emotional and physical relationship.
The integrative method is a combined approach which brings together elements of many different types of psychotherapy. It takes into account that each person is an individual with a unique personality and experiences. It emphasises that the focus of therapy needs to be tailored to the special needs of each client. The method also helps to integrate the many varied, and sometimes contradictory, elements of each person's personality, their emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physical systems, while also addressing the social and spiritual aspects of their lives.
This method is based on existential philosophy which highlights the many different concerns and points of view which are typical of human life. The method encourages clients to take responsibility for acknowledging the realities of life, and supports them in grappling with the many internal conflicts which are an inevitable result of these ‘givens’. It assumes that much of life is inherently painful and, rather than try to escape pain, an individual should explore and accept it in order to live life fully.
Unlike the more structured therapies mentioned above, this form of therapy is concerned with bringing unconscious feelings and motivations out into the open. Its central premise is that some experiences are so painful, they are not easily processed by the conscious mind. Instead, knowledge of these overwhelming experiences become relegated to hidden places in the psyche where they exert powerful influence on an individual’s feelings and relational patterns. Therapists who use this method are expert at listening to the messages that are inherent in a client’s stories. In particular, they attempt to illuminate the personal styles and defensive systems that can make life difficult.
There are many different ways that the arts can be used to explore in therapy. Each medium provides a playful and creative method of accessing thoughts and feelings which clients may find difficult to access or articulate purely with words. I offer my clients a chance to experiment with painting and sculpting, and use both the writing and reading of poetry. Listening to music, with its highly expressive words and melodies can be a very effective way of communicating inner conflicts or needs, especially for young people.
Mindfulness is a form of mediation that consciously focuses on self-awareness of thoughts and feelings and behaviour. When practicing mindfulness, the goal is to focus on internal and external reality in order to reconnect different aspects of ‘self’, to increase resilience, train mental processes and alleviate stress.