What is therapy?
All counselling and psychotherapy starts from a core set of basic principles and processes. A clear set of boundaries fundamentally creates a sense of safety and security.
These core conditions predominantly come from the person-centred theory of Carl Rogers. He claims that these conditions are sufficient alone for a therapeutic process to occur. Being Client-centred enables the client to feel accepted and genuinely understood in order to develop self-empowerment and work towards self-actualisation.
From this core basis each therapist works from chosen theoretical models, either integratively, eclectically or purallistically. Through their own therapy the therapist develops a strong self-awareness and then puts aside their own values and principles (frame of reference) so as to stay on the client's journey without judgement or direction.
Therapy with a Counselling Psychologist works on many levels, seeing the client through different theories, in which the therapists years of training enables them to observe and work with.
A Counselling Psychologist may have additional tools they can draw on to help the client but there is not a prescribed method. What may work for one may not work for another. It is for the therapist to draw on their knowledge and experience to understand the clients needs and what may help the client best.
Timing is also important as a client has to be at the right point and stage to be able to utilise particulars tools and interventions. So what may not work early on may later work when the client feels ready to embrace it.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THERAPY
Therapy with Spectrum
50 minutes a week in the peace and security of a qualified, experienced and caring therapist.
Fundamental building of a strong therapeutic relationship.
Empathy, unconditional positive regard, congruence and non-judgemental
Safe place for client to explore their inner world
Secure place for emotional expression and catharsis
Supportive place to help clients find their own solutions to the conflicts and problems they are facing.
Application of a variety of different theoretical tools in response to the clients need to meet all the complexities of being human
Creation of long-term and positive change.
Brief or long term process depending on need.
"The only person with a magic wand is you"
Clients regularly look to therapy expecting the therapist to have a magic wand and to tell them how they can fix their problem quickly. It is important that clients don't come with this expectation.
I believe everybody has the resources within themselves to find their own solutions. The therapists role is to help facilitate the client to access these resources. This may mean helping them unravel all the chaos currently blocking their view to these parts, restructuring maladaptive thinking, helping to resolve internal conflicts, relieving past trauma that has been held in the body for years, building a positive relationship between mind and body, or just expressing and reaching a catharsis of built up emotions.
There is no defined way in which this change occurs but research shows that a large percentage of change occurs through the therapeutic relationship itself. Sometimes a new awareness of personal thoughts and habits can have an immediate effect but a lot of the time the mere process of engaging in therapy is what enables the change through a subjective and subconscious process that occurs over time. It will only be effective if you allow yourself to fully engage and trust in the process of therapy.
GENERIC MODEL OF THERAPY
THERAPY AS A WHOLE
- Information gathering
- Getting to know each other
- Understanding where the client is in
themselves at this time
- Establishing a relationship
- Therapeutic work
- Engaged in an issue
- Accessing the pain and the resources
- Creating some shift
- Preparing to go it alone
- Building on new skills.
- Consolidating change's made.
GENERIC MODEL OF THERAPY
Formal; therapeutic contract
Technical; theoretical orientation
Interpersonal; Therapeutic bond
Clinical aspect; in-session impact
Temporal aspect; sequential flow
Orlinsky et al. (1994)
GENERIC CORE CONDITIONS FOR CREATING A THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE
Unconditional positive regard
GENERIC PROCESS OF THERAPY
Assessment of clients presenting issues and case formulation.
Build a therapeutic alliance
Ending (this may in itself bring about the main core therapeutic work)
Underpinning all therapy is a strict code of ethics set by a governing body in which the therapst is accredited to. Ethical practice includes strict rules around confidentiality and boundary setting, particularly regarding dual relationships. This enables the client to feel contained and secure enough to explore their internal world fully in order to create change.
My SPIRAL THEORY
Therapy may be experienced at times as chaotic, fragmented, complex and not following a straight path but the underlying process in which therapy occurs remains the same.
I have created The SPIRAL MODEL to illustrate in more detail as to how therapy can help us connect with our internal resources that enable us to grow resilience in facing our difficulties and opening up a world of colourful emotions, thus meeting our potential.
The use of a spiral comes because, whilst there is an overall process of growth and development that enable sus to feel freer and more open, it is also a constant to and fro within self as new changes occur. At times we need to retreat back into ourselves in order to reconnect with our resources.
Further details will follow in due course.
Using theory in therapy
My model of therapy
Working with maladaptive thought patterns and beliefs directly to change feelings and behaviours
Mindfulness is a helpful tool in order to slow clients down and help them to intentionally develop a greater awareness of their internal interactions between thoughts, feelings, behaviours and bodily epxeriences.
It enourages a more compassionate approach to self by encouaraging the self to come forward rather than to shut it off which is the cause of many problems.
Effective for when thought processes become too chaotic to manage or we get locked into a rigid place.
Mark Williams, Jon Kabat-Zinn
PERSON CENTERED THERAPY
If you have already done a lot of self-help, believe you have good reflective capacity, and are aware your issues are more deep rooted or complex, then CBT may not be sufficient for long term change.
All talking therapy starts from a place of confidentiality, safety, and boundary setting in order to create effective change with your issues. Three fundamental principles created by Carl Rogers enable a therapeutic relationship to be formed in which a client can express and explore their internals elf.
Empathy, Unconditional Positive Regard and Congruence
Sessions continue until the client feels confident in coping alone for themselves.
Lost sense of self or direction, personal growth, emotional detachment.
Relationship issues, past traumas, abuse and neglect, attachment issues, and complex issues.
Sigmund Freud - Unconsciousness, dream analysis
Carl Yung - Collective unconscious, archetypes
John Bowlby - attachment theory
Melanie Klien - Object relations, developmental
If you are aware of more deeper routed, historical or more complex issues then you may need a psychotherapeutic approach.
This may take longer because it needs a much more sensitive and slow paced approach in understanding and breaking down defence mechanisms before being able to affect any therapeutic change.
Your GP may initially refer or recommend you to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), not because it is necessarily the right thing for you but because it is easy to prove as the most cost-effective due to it’s focused nature.
However many people have never had to reflect on or think about their mental health until a particular issue appears and so the act of doing so can be sufficient for creating change.
Sessions are solution-focused and over a brief and set duration of time.
Anxiety, depression, phobias, addictions, targeted issues.
Aaron and Judith Beck, Albert Ellis, Christine Padesky
Empowerment through emotional expression and self-direction in the Here and Now.
Working with unconscious past experiences to facilitate change in feelings, thoughts and behaviours in the present
Through my experience of working with clients for the last 10years I have observed the same spiral process pattern has emerged in every client.
I do not see humans and emotions as being fixed but as a constant movement inward and outward of self as new skills and awareness are leaarn, resilience and growth is developed.This is not a linear path of one process but lots of parts of us working to come together at the same point.
More information coming soon
IFS is a particularly powerful tool in relation to trauma and early attachment work.
Richard Schwartz - IFS
Bessel Van der Kelk - MRI research into the Polyvagal nervous sytem and Triune Brain
Peter Levine - Healing from the bottom up
Babette Rothschild - The Body remembers
Bessel Van der Kelk - IFS
Janine Fisher - Parts Theory
Internal Family Sytems and Parts Theory are fairly new to the world of Psychology (1980's) but scientific research through MRI brain scanning has discovered significant relationships between different parts of the brain in which we can work with therapuetically.
Linking also to body work we are able to now work with 'felt' parts that need healing rather than pre-frontal thinking parts of the brain. Using the body we can locate the past child parts of the whole family sytem that need to have their say so that the present 'self' can help bring them up to date to the present.
PARTS THEORY &
This model represents how I work and what tools and theories I draw on
There are many other techniques and theories that may play a part in the overall model used by an individual therapist or as a specific technique in isolation such as.....
Hypnotherapy, EMDR, Tapping,
Transactional theory, Systemic theory, Gestalt,
Using our creative brain to unlock habits
Many people declare "I'm not creative or artisitic" and shy away from it. The same way some people declare they are not very organised, cannot problem solve or plan well. However, science shows us that we all have both a creative and logical side to our brains and we not born with a bias towards one or the other. Depending on individual personality in relation to how we are brought up one side may be nurtured more than the other.
Many clients come to me because they have become 'rigid' in their beliefs about themselves....
"Bad things always happen to me"
"I am worthless, not good enough"
"I can't see how things can get any better"
....feeling unable to change how they view things
By focusing only on the 'thinking' part of the brain it is easy to get stuck there and believe nothing can change. By changing just our thoughts alone won't change how we feel unless we are also connected to this part of our brain.
Working with creative means allows us to connect to the right side of the brain to access emotional expression, intuition, instinct etc.
This enables us to unlock the rigidity, to see the possibility of alternative ways of being and viewing the world which can then override the rigid beliefs.
The internal self has been influenced and constructed by many factors since pre-birth.
Our work is to become aware of and understand these influences. My making sense of how we have come to be who and where we are today, particularly if it feels problematic, we then start to access our 'self' in the middle of it all to help us decide what of it feels right for us or not, and how we want to live the rest of our lives.
You don't need to be an artist to be creative.
Using creativity in therapy offers a medium and language that people can relate to and express themselves in an abstract form without the pressure of finding the right words. This can be done through
Use of metaphor
Use of imagery
Telling or writing stories
Relating back to particular music or movies that resonate.
Movement and shape within sand
You don't need to be a child to be creative and play.
Sometimes our work is to access the inner child that existed pre-rigid constructs, so we can play around with and explore our internal worlds.
Through creative means a person can explore their internal state safely as a fantasy. In doing so they can then re-tell or re-draw their internal world so the 'self' starts to make more sense in relation to their external world, particularly if they have no control in changing their external environment
You don't need to be an emotive person to access your creativity.
Creativity can help to facilitate acces to and create a cathartic release of emotional response and expression.