Please click on the links below; to expand the description of each approach – click on the heading.
I use an Integrative approach to couple counselling, drawing on several different models and influences; from the work of Harville and Hendrix, Dr Sue Johnson, Gottman and the wonderful Esther Perel.
When couples come to me for counselling, their relationships vary greatly; some can be arch enemies, some are good friends and others are anywhere in between. Some find it extremely difficult to look at each other far less talk to each other and simply being in a room together is an accomplishment.
My hope when working with couples who wish to work through their issues and stay together, is that they can go on a journey where they learn to listen to each other and speak to each other without fear and where “Their goal becomes connection to each other”. That said, counselling is a safe space for couples to decide together if they wish to continue in the relationship. If they chose to part then this can be navigated in a safe, respectful manner adhering to each other’s feelings and needs.
If the goal is connection, then neither partner is trying to “win”; if the goal is connection then both partners are concerned with the other’s needs which creates a safe place for them to bring their disagreements without being on the defensive or be in attacking mode. This may take some time and practice which we would do in the counselling room and at home. The length of time to master this way of communicating may depend on the presenting issues; however, in my opinion when you make your goal connection it is a major contributing factor in healing the wounds in a relationship. Whether those wounds are caused by; the issues that either partner has brought into the relationship from their respective childhoods, an affair, betrayal or indifference. When your goal is connection, I believe that you can work through the most painful issues.
This approach is one of empathy and unconditional acceptance; I will offer you a caring, supportive, non- judgemental space where you will feel heard, accepted, respected and valued.
This therapy was developed by Carl Rogers who believed that we have a remarkable capacity for self -healing and personal growth.
Central to Carl Rogers Theory is the notion of self-concept; the perceptions and beliefs we have about ourselves. As we are all different and no-one else knows how we perceive our life, the person- centred counselling approach believes that the client is the best expert on themselves.
The client is viewed as a whole person in the process of becoming
The Psychodynamic approach
The Psychodynamic approach to counselling helps us to discover how past events (especially those in our childhood) have affected our view and responses to present situations.
This model enables us to explore the role of the unconscious and our use of defence mechanisms. Enabling us to look behind the masks that we portray to the world and go on a journey of discovery with regards to relationships with others and ourselves, past and present.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) looks at the interpretation we give to an event and explores the core beliefs that has determined the interpretation.
A principle of CBT is that if we can change the way we think then we may be able to change the way we feel. This then can have the “knock on” effect of changing our behaviour and by changing what we do, we can change how we think and feel. The main focus of CBT is on the present and the processes that are currently maintaining the problem.
The Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)
The Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) model was developed by Lisa Schwarz, M.Ed. a licensed psychologist, consultant, and international educator working in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. CRM is a trauma therapy model that employs brain-based physiological safety as the foundation for healing.
This model is a resourced based therapy which is very useful when processing trauma, as these resources enable the client to stay present as they remember without being flooded by negative emotions. Bessel Van Der Kolk is a Boston based Dutch psychiatrist noted for his research in the area of post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. He says in his book “The Body Keeps The Score” that a person cannot get better until “they feel what they feel and know what they know”.