One size does not fit all when it comes to psychotherapy. Different patients with different needs require different approaches at different times. An integrative approach draws on different schools of thought and ways of working to produce the most effective therapy for each individual client. Below, you will find a brief description of some of the ways in which I can work.
Existential therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that looks to explore difficulties from a philosophical perspective, rather than taking a technique-based approach. Focusing on the human condition as a whole, existential therapy applauds human capacities and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their successes.
Emotional and psychological difficulties are viewed as inner conflict caused by an individual's confrontation with the givens of existence. Rather than delve into the past, the existential approach looks at the here-and-now, exploring the human condition as a whole and what it means for an individual.
The aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness - helping individuals to unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. In order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface, many people will develop defences, such as denial and projections. According to psychodynamic therapy, these defences will often do more harm than good.
The psychodynamic approach is guided by the core principle that the unconscious mind harbours deep-rooted feelings and memories that can affect our behaviour. Psychodynamic therapists will work according to this, in context-specific ways, catering their techniques and therapy style to the individual.
The client-centred approach ultimately sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. However, this ability can become blocked or distorted by our life experiences - particularly those that affect our sense of value.
In this approach the psychotherapist works to works to understand an individual's experience from their point of view. The core purpose of the client-centred approach is to facilitate the client's actualising tendency (self-actualisation is the belief that all humans will pursue what is best for them). This type of therapy facilitates the personal growth and relationships of an individual by allowing them to explore and utilise their own strengths and personal identity.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Unlike some other therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is rooted in the present and looks to the future. While past events and experiences are considered during the sessions, the focus is more on current concerns. During a CBT session, your therapist will help you understand any negative thought patterns you have. You will learn how they affect you and most importantly, what can be done to change them.
This type of therapy is particularly helpful for those with specific issues. This is because it is very practical (rather than insight-based) and looks at solving the problem. Rather than accepting negative thought patterns, CBT aims to show you other ways of reacting so you can break out of negative cycles. This new way of thinking may result in you feeling more energised and confident, helping you meet new people and one day, start a new relationship.
Gestalt therapy draws on the belief that people have a natural tendency towards health, but old patterns of behaviour can create blocks that interupt the natural cycle of wellness, therefore effecting communication with others.
Gestalt therapy addresses what is happening in the moment, bringing into awareness an individual’s representation of the self, his/her responses and interactions with others. Gestalt techniques can include acting out scenarios that cause issue to the client, and dream recall.
Object relations theory
Object relations theorists stress the importance of early family interactions, primarily the mother-infant relationship, in personality development. It is believed that infants form mental representations of themselves in relation to others and that these internal images significantly influence interpersonal relationships later in life. Since relationships are at the centre of object relations theory, the person-therapist alliance is important to the success of therapy.
Object relations therapy focuses on helping individuals identify and address deficits in their interpersonal functioning and explore ways that relationships can be improved. A therapist can help people in therapy understand how childhood object relations impact current emotions, motivations, and relationships and contribute to any problems being faced.
Transactional analysis (TA) is a talking therapy and sessions are designed to explore an individual's personality and how this has been shaped by experience - particularly those stemming from childhood. This is achieved through skilful questioning and the utilisation of various models, techniques and tools.
Throughout therapy, the TA therapist will work directly on here-and -now problem solving behaviours, whilst helping clients to develop day-to-day tools for finding constructive creative solutions. The ultimate goal is to ensure clients regain absolute autonomy over their lives.
The term 'transpersonal' means 'beyond the personal', and this reflects the core aim of the therapy - to explore human growth and help people to discover a deep and more enduring essential self that exists beyond the conditioned ego.
All of life's experiences are considered valuable and growth enhancing, and every individual is treated according to their innate striving toward a higher reality. Ultimately, in transpersonal psychotherapy, healing and growth is approached through recognition of the centrality of self.
Transpersonal psychotherapy works by building and expanding on an individual's qualities and self-development - helping clients to utilise their free will and inner resources to remove inner conflicts and create a sense of balance and harmony in their lives.
Jungian therapy is a talking therapy, but there are various methods of exploration used throughout the process. These will be most successfully applied if the client-psychotherapist relationship is one founded on authenticity, trust and a professional collaboration of equals.
The Jungian analysis of dreams is based on Jung's assertion that dreams are "an anticipation in the unconscious." They offer the ego information, advice, and constructive criticism of our selves in an alternate perspective - challenging our ego to consider these.
Other methods of Jungian therapy may include creative activities such as painting, drama, dance, sand playing, listening to music, and dream journaling. These methods of self-expression can help clients to engage with their active imagination and relieve inner creative qualities that may be inhibited by moral or ethical values.