Which Method is Right for You?
During the first session, we will be able to discuss the best way forward for you. This will include the most appropriate counselling method. You may come to counselling with a preference, perhaps following a consultation with your GP, or you may want help in understanding what is involved. All counselling methods can help you to overcome the obstacles you are facing, but one may be more appropriate or comfortable for you. Combinations of therapy are also used when appropriate.
Person Centred Counselling
In ‘Person Centred Counselling’, the counsellor does not take the role of an expert, but helps clients to overcome issues by talking through their problems and offering a genuine, empathic and non-judgemental approach.
There is no homework with Person Centred Counselling and no forms to complete. All the work takes place within the session. Unlike other forms of counselling, the sessions are not highly structured but are led by the clients’ needs, although they will be encouraged to share various elements of their lives and their feelings. Clients are not provided with answers or advice but are encouraged to explore their situation. In this way individuals can reach a greater understanding and make significant breakthroughs. Clients benefit from engaging in a relationship with the therapist that is unlike the relationship they have with friends or family.
The speed with which clients improve is dependent on the individual and the problems he or she is facing. A client could find resolution in a few sessions, or may need several months of therapy. Regular therapy sessions (usually weekly) are important.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a structured approach and examines the way our thoughts affect our emotions and behaviour. Negative and unhelpful thoughts will impact our emotions and may lead to unwanted behaviours, such as panic attacks or obsessive compulsive behaviours. Homework is an important part of CBT, in order to gather information and, as therapy continues, to carry out behavioural exercises. After the initial sessions, CBT will focus on the present, rather than the past, in order to help the client function more effectively on a day to day basis. Specialist forms of CBT include Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
CBT usually requires between 6 and 20 sessions, although can take longer, depending on the client, the problems faced and whether further difficulties come to light during therapy.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a specialised form of CBT, designed to help those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. In this treatment the client is gradually exposed to things that make them anxious. The client is then guided in stopping their usual response to the triggers. This is a challenging but effective form of therapy that is only undertaken if the client is committed to moving on from their OCD.
Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)
Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) was developed to help sufferers of bipolar I and II to improve and stabilise their moods. It is also effective for improving unipolar depression. IPSRT helps the client to look at their social environment and their biological rhythms to understand the links of these to their mood and how disruptions can lead to mood destabilisation. This approach uses a combination of interpersonal therapy (used for depression), psychoeducation and regular monitoring of sleep, routines and social contact using tracking tools.
Mindfulness and Symptom Relief
Mindfulness is not a stand-alone therapeutic approach but can be incorporated into cognitive behavioural therapy and person centred sessions. Mindfulness is based on meditation and helps the client to focus on breathing and the body, to alleviate stress and calm the mind. All counselling methods I use incorporate symptom relief, if necessary, and Mindfulness methods can prove particularly useful to those suffering from anxiety and depression. Other forms of symptom relief include further breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to help with anxiety and sleep problems. Grounding techniques are used when working with clients suffering from trauma.