As I have said in How I Work and 4 Guiding Principles, counselling, at its best, must be flexible and responsive to who you uniquely are and what you need. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ in this work. We also don’t have to start from scratch, with no resources at all. As well as the creative methods I have written about elsewhere on this website, I have specific trainings that underpin what I do as a counsellor.
1. Person-centred approach
When I first trained as a counsellor, I was inspired by the Person-centred approach that focuses on how people experience themselves. Through this, I learned that
- each of us has our own unique view of the world
- each of us is fundamentally competent, trustworthy, and forward-moving
- each of us ultimately has the ability to make positive changes for ourselves
This empowering approach is the bedrock on which I base much of my practice.
2. Gestalt (pronounced g’shtalt)
With the Gestalt approach we learn to become aware of what we are thinking, feeling, doing – and choosing – ‘right here, right now’. It helps us move beyond our past, and beyond our habitual patterns of behaviour and reaction that don’t serve us well. This involves:
- embracing body and mind in a holistic approach
- attending to current experience as a starting point for discovering ourselves and our blocks to growth
- exploring unresolved situations that are causing concern
- identifying and reclaiming parts of ourselves that have been suppressed
- fully experience and appreciate how we relate to ourselves and interact with the world
Ultimately, the aims of the Gestalt approach are to try out new ways of being ‘here and now’, find more fulfilling ways of living our life, and move toward the experience of wholeness.
3. Solution focussed brief therapy
In the Solution Focussed Brief Therapy approach, we acknowledge present problems and past causes, but we don’t dwell on them, over-analyse, or get caught in perpetuating our experience of suffering. Rather, this approach is goal-oriented, focussing on solutions. So we explore our current resources and future hopes – helping us to look forward and use our own strengths to achieve our goals.
This is approach can be used with a wide variety of situations. It’s very useful in initial sessions, and with couples, in almost every session as we build on what is working in the relationship before looking at any issues or problems.
4. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT combines cognitive and behavioural therapy. This approach works particularly well with issues of anxiety, stress and depression. It focuses on how we think about what is going on in our life, and how this impacts on the way we behave and deal with emotional problems. It then looks at how we can change any negative, unhelpful thinking patterns or behaviour that may be causing us difficulties. In turn this can change the way we feel. Through this process, we learn a set of principles that we can apply whenever we need to.