Different Types of Approaches

What are the different counselling approaches used?

As everyone is unique and has their own personal journey and specific issues for which they seek assistance for, the  approach will vary for each individual. In most case’s a combination of approaches will be used with specific techniques from the other therapies drawn upon.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy: explores unconscious thoughts and emotions and aims to build a greater self-awareness and understanding of past influences on current behaviour.

CBT: Cognitive behavioural therapy: Is a collaboration between client and counsellor that focuses on symptom relief, problem definition, and identifying, understanding and managing both thoughts (cognitions) and actions (behaviour).  Strategies are then developed to change behaviours, unhealthy thinking habits such as negative thoughts, such as putting yourself down and assumptions, such as ‘I am not good enough’. CBT therapy applies a number of specific treatment techniques, both verbal and behavioural, depending on the nature of the problem and the needs of the client. CBT techniques are directed at identifying and testing specific misconceptions and negative automatic thoughts. Negative automatic thoughts are the thoughts that just pop into your head throughout the day, such as someone inviting you out to a dinner party with people you may not know and your first thought is ‘I can’t go, I’m worried people will judge me’. CBT is based on the idea that what people think and say about themselves – their attitudes, ideas and ideals are relevant and important. That how they interpret situations determines how they behave or feel as people react to situations via the meanings that they assign to them.

Gestalt therapy: Is a holistic approach that encourages growth and self-responsibility through increasing self-awareness within both the mind and body. The focus is on supporting the client to relate, embody and live in the here and now. The goal is for the client to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time learn to accept and value themselves. Through dialogue between the client and counsellor the opportunity for a healing experience is created with the emphasis not only on talking about what has happened but also on fully experiencing what is and allowing the possibility of change to occur.

Person-centred therapy: Person-centered therapy is a form of talk-psychotherapy where congruence (genuineness), empathy, and unconditional positive regard are displayed aiding in client’s finding their own solutions to their problems Taking the view that every individual has the internal resources they need for growth, the most fundamental concept is trust, trust in the client’s innate capacity for growth and development where the individual can reach their full potential. Primary goals of person-centered therapy are increasing self-esteem, providing an opportunity for client’s to develop a sense of self, which helps growth to occur and greater openness to experience. Some of the related changes that this form of therapy seeks to foster include closer agreement between the client’s idealized and actual selves; better self-understanding; lower  levels of defensiveness, guilt, and insecurity; more positive and comfortable relationships with others; and an increased capacity to experience and express feelings at the moment they occur. .

Narrative therapy: When people seek assistance they often speak about their problems as if the problem is part of who they are: ‘I’m unmotivated and can’t seem to get the energy to do anything’. This is known as internalising conversations (conversations that locate problems inwardly). Narrative therapy focuses on separating the person’s identity from the problem through externalising conversations, so instead of ‘I’m unmotivated, I can’t do anything’ the problem is addressed as ‘So the problem has affected your energy levels. The aim is to situate the problem separately from the person and their identity. This is based on the premise that the problem is the problem, as opposed to the person being seen as the problem. By shifting the problem from inside the person to outside the person allows for all aspects of the problem to be explored objectively and prepare’s for the introduction of other tools and techniques for further exploration of the problem, allowing you to come to your own conclusions on how to best resolve and find a solution.

Solution focused therapy also known as Brief therapy: is a short-term solution or goal-focused therapeutic approach which focuses on developing solutions rather than dwelling on issues. It focuses on your strengths and capabilities rather than any perceived deficits, weaknesses or limitations.