Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy
My theoretical orientation is integrative, which means I use a combination of psychological approaches when working with clients. One of these approaches is a compassionate and client-centred humanistic approach, which respects the intelligence and autonomy of the client. It involves the therapist taking an accepting and non-judgemental stance towards the client’s problems and way of being. Another approach is an attachment theory approach, which focuses on early childhood experiences with attachment figures and provides an important theoretical and explanatory framework to the work. Finally, I employ a relational approach which involves using the therapeutic relationship and all that arises from it in the ‘here and now’ as the focus of the work. I also make extensive use of mindfulness-based approaches for anxiety and stress reduction. This can range from learning to adopt a more mindful attitude in relation to life's challenges to experimenting with a brief sitting practice during the sessions.
For the treatment of PTSD, developmental trauma, acute stress and related symptoms, I use an approach called Eye Movement Densitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which has been specifically developed for clients suffering from the psychological after-effects of a traumatic or distressing experience. Please refer to the EMDR and PTSD section for more information on this form of treatment.
In my framework, movement between these different approaches is seamless, constant and on-going. The therapy will be different for every client depending on his or her goals, needs and capacities. Some clients may want to make sense of their past, some may want to engage in the meaninglessness of life, some may want to be psychologically supported.
The combination of counselling psychology and psychotherapy at doctoral level ensures a unique breadth and depth of clinical knowledge and experience. It also guarantees a high level of clinical skill and a capacity to work at relational depth. Counselling psychology marries psychology, or the study of human experience, with counselling, the alleviation of emotional distress. It marries an extensive knowledge base and a tradition in scientific research with an interest in and respect for the uniqueness of each individual, and challenges reductionist and dogmatic approaches to understanding the human condition; it marries understanding and expertise with humility and acceptance.