Methods and Approaches I integrate into my practice are:
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT),
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT),
Non-violent communication (NVC),
Neuroscience and Psycho-education,
Art and Sand-tray,
meditation and Interactive visualisations.
Although I integrate quite a variety of different methods into my practice, there is one thing they all have in common, and that is, they are all from the humanistic school of psychology.
There are approx. 5 different schools of psychology: Structuralism, Functionalism, Psychoanalysis, Behaviourism and Humanistic Psychology. All of which you can read about online as they are quite complex and too much to cover here, rather I will attempt to explain a little about what Humanistic means by also referencing how it differs to these other schools.
Humanistic psychology acknowledges that mental distress is a natural occurrence in life, one that our bodies and minds are well equipped to deal with, with the right support. So regardless of how vulnerable and overwhelmed we might feel when crisis hits, humanistic therapists understand that despite how we present ourselves, we have everything we need within us to heal. Thus, my role is to provide the kind of support that works with these innate abilities.
On the contrary, behaviourist approaches (with the exception of radical behaviourism) focus on changing behaviour in order to change thoughts, and cognitive approaches (a branch of the behaviourist approach) focus on changing thoughts in order to change behaviour (CBT). These approaches can appeal to many at first, because they can provide a sense of hope that the therapist can provide some tools that will fix our thinking and/ or behaviour, which will end our suffering. However, on the contrary, Humanistic therapist generally believe that direction such as this, essentially fails to create insight, empowerment and long-term healing as it implies a distrust in human nature, and instead results in a loss of power, insight, self-belief and agency, thus leading to a decay in wellness.
Our thoughts and emotions are our guide, they are what help us survive and self-actualise. If we suppress or dismiss them or try to exchange them for more acceptable ones, then we are essentially telling ourselves that our nature is fundamentally flawed and despite a temporary change that might bring some temporary relief from short-term change, we will essentially be left with a long-term damage to our self-esteem and sense of agency.
For e.g., If someone who is experiencing disturbing thoughts or feelings tries to push them away, or change them for more 'positive' ones, chances are, they will not only end up exhausted, and lose confidence in their own abilities, but they will also the miss out on understanding their purpose. Consequently, due to the minds motivation to heal and bring the unconscious and conscious into harmony, the previous thoughts and emotions that are being ignored will therefore find other ways to align and surface, and as such will manifest themselves and come back into consciousness in another way...Essentially causing an even more complicated dilemma to solve. This can result in very deep disturbance of the Psyche and dis-ease.
The mind is not self-destructive, it works as the body does when it is trying to heal. When a virus enters the body, the body creates unbearable temperatures in order to create an inhospitable environment to kill off the virus and prevent long term disease. Thus the fever is not a sign of illness, but in fact a sigh of health, depending of course on your perception.
Therefore, a behaviour therapist is more likely to perceive our painful thoughts and emotions as a problem, and therefore will attempt to change them, much like lowering a fever. Whilst a Humanistic therapist understands that painful emotions and thoughts are a natural response to a negative external influence (virus) and therefore will work with the minds natural response (fever) as a guide to uncover what else is you need to heal, like: support, further emotional, mental and physical processing, education, compassion, emotional acceptance training and so on, much like providing hydration, comfort, nurturing and rest for a fever, rather than a suppressant.
Additionally, as a Humanistic therapist, I understand that mental wellbeing is not separate from the physical, social, emotional or spiritual aspects in life, so I work from a systematic approach, constantly staying open and curious as to how your feelings and thoughts are in relation to your environment.
Furthermore, I am also concerned with how your sense of worth, identity and overall wellbeing has/is being affected by your past and present experiences. Unlike other schools, that insist on keeping you in the present 'here and now' and discourage you from processing the past, I work to help you remain in the here and now whilst safely revisiting the past, so that you can process the past without harm and gain valuable tools to learn how to emotionally regulate in the future and build further resilience.
My approach also aims to counter all of the extrinsic influences that may have caused negative conditioning. This also helps to develop a trust in the self, one that most people have never had, due to the systems that we are born into constantly controlling, instructing, judging and directing all that we do. Therefore, in therapy together we will work to undo all the ‘should's’ until you get to the point where you know the difference between what you think you 'should' do, from what you know you need and want to do. Working with me can enable your language to develop from:
to: ‘I feel…because I need…so I will….’
I believe the process I offer works to inspire self- awareness, which further develops self-acceptance, and inevitably encourages and sustains deep internal healing.
So if any of this resonate with you, please give me a call or email me to make an informal inquiry or to arrange a free 30 min consultation. I offer counselling and psychotherapy to people 16 and above, of all genders. And I have extensive experience working with:
Trauma, abuse of any kind (past and present), self-harm/ abuse and suicide, grief, loss, anxiety, depression, dissociation, DID, relationship issues with self and others, substance dependency, pre/ post-natal depression, parenting issues, health and health anxiety, illness and wellness, and much more..
We all deserve the right kind of support, so if this feels right for you, then please reach out.
I look forward to working with you.
Wishing you wellness,