Counselling Approach and Treatment Philosophy
We employ an integrated approach to counseling practice, using client-centred therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), somatic awareness/experiencing therapy, emotionally focused therapy, transpersonal therapy, Gestalt and family systems therapy.
Client-centred Therapy. As a client-centred therapist we aim to ‘meet you where you are at’, that is, build rapport with you with genuine caring, acceptance and compassion. Client-centred therapy allows you to experience a safe environment of unconditional connection and examine where you experience congruency and incongruency in relationship, and helps build awareness about what gets in the way of experiencing authentic integrity with ourselves and in relationship.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach to examining thoughts and beliefs, and examines how we behave as we experience those. We begin to name those automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) that have become intrusive, and apply a systematic approach of mindful awareness as the thoughts arise; with practice and support these beliefs lose their power, leaving room for choice, goal-directed action and creativity.
Transpersonal Therapy. Transpersonal therapy invites the client to consider him or herself in context of greater connection, whether in terms of communal, global or spiritual relationship. Transpersonal therapy helps place anxiety in terms of separation from our true nature, and is a process of active encouragement to help us view our world through lenses of love and connection.
Somatic Awareness. Somatic awareness encourages us to expand our experiencing of our bodies to incorporate a mindful awareness of sensation in the moment; through this awareness we experience our emotions arising and passing away, and begin a process of untangling ourselves from ‘being’ those feelings to simply ‘having’ the feelings in the moment. As we develop awareness and acceptance of our experience we learn to feel safe experiencing a full spectrum of emotion…and our lives regain colour and music!
Family Systems Therapy. The Bowen model of family systems helps us see how the anxiety present in our larger family system affects us our thoughts, decisions and behaviors, and helps us take a more objective and compassionate approach to our families and ourselves. Family systems therapy helps us recognize and reduce reactivity (our automatic and often undesired responses) and empowers us with new choices for action as we develop curiosity in place of reactivity. We learn to release the pain perpetuated within the family, and take a compassionate view of our family ‘story’ to help bring greater love and acceptance to our current relationships.
Attachment Model. We form most of our beliefs about ourselves and the world in childhood as we experience degrees of secure attachment to our caregivers; ruptures in attachment often catalyze unhealthy beliefs, and we must revisit these old thought/feelings as they arise in the moment to examine how they are serving us. I employ Gestalt techniques to help clarify and even exaggerate the uncomfortable feelings as they arise in session; with the client’s permission we move through a guided process of feeling the feelings, naming the unhealthy beliefs about self that too often ‘drive the bus’ of our behavior, and supporting the client to make their own positive choices, using their own positive language to literally change their mind about who they are in this world. The client experiences this with me directly in the moment, and in the case of couples counseling, with their partner as well, opening doors to deeper intimacy and mutual acceptance.