Theoretical approaches which inform and guide my counselling practice include (but are not limited to):
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
SFBT is a short-term, goal oriented/solution-focused therapeutic approach. Its effectiveness is well established and supported by a solid and ever-increasing body of research. By focusing on the future rather than dwelling on the past and by identifying your unique strengths and resources, SFBT aims to build solutions rather than solve problems. Changing your patterns of response to a problem by doing something different is fundamental to this approach.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). It is used to treat a wide range of mental health disorders (eg. depression, anxiety), physical symptoms, emotional and relationship challenges. It helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking patterns/beliefs so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in more effective ways. The basic concept of CBT is that focusing on changing the way you think (cognition) will change the way you act (behavior) and, ultimately, feel.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them (without believing there's a 'right' or 'wrong' way to think or feel in a given moment). When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Research studies document the physical/mental health benefits of practising mindfulness: immune system enhancement, increased relaxation and positive emotions, decreased rumination and negative emotions, increased self-insight and objectivity, and improved brain function in regions linked to learning, working memory, focus, concentration, attention and emotion regulation (less emotional reactivity).
Psychodynamic (Insight-Oriented) Therapy
We all find ourselves behaving at times in ways we don't fully undertand. What we do not know or grasp about ourselves can cause us problems. The less we are aware of our unconscious 'inner workings' (our deep-seated needs, assumptions, beliefs, feelings, desires, etc.), the more we stay stuck in unproductive patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that disable and limit us. In psychodynamic (insight-oriented) therapy, therapists help people explore and understand their emotions, early-life experiences and beliefs to gain insight into their present-day problems, and to evaluate thinking/behavior patterns they have developed over time. Recognizing recurring patterns helps people see the ways in which they avoid distress or develop defense mechanisms as a method of coping so they can take steps to change those patterns.