Counselling is a talk therapy. So, does this mean you just sit and have a chat? like you would with a friend over a coffee perhaps…
It’s a bit more involved than that. It is about talking but it is also about providing a client with a safe, confidential space to be able to talk about anything they want to without fear of being criticized or judged.
To be able to explain what an Integrative Counsellor is, I need to provide a little background on counselling in general. Counsellors all work in different ways depending on how they’ve been trained.
If anyone has ever been referred for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – more commonly referred to as CBT, the sessions are tailored to deal with a particular problem such as a driving phobia or panic attacks and will look entirely at the specific behavior that you want to change and how to achieve the change. A CBT Therapist doesn’t look at why the behavior started, nor do they look at other areas of possible concern that may or may not be having an impact on the presenting behavior. They can be very effective at dealing with a specific problem. Treatment can be on a one to one basis or group sessions. You can even do some CBT courses on- line.
Solution Focused Therapists look to make changes for the better for a variety of problems or situations that a client may be experiencing. It can be used for alcohol, drug addiction, stress, anger management, anxiety in fact nearly every situation. It works well with teenagers, adults, individuals, groups, families. It is also good for the client who lacks motivation or who finds him/herself procrastinating and achieving nothing. Solution focused techniques are used in a variety of different settings as well as counselling – leadership, training, coaching. Like the CBT Therapist, the solution focused therapist does not look to the past for the probable cause of problems, they look to changing the future in a positive way.
Person-Centered Counsellors are much more in the present and look at a client as a self- healing being who knows what they want to talk about and in what order. They are entirely client led and do not look to direct the conversation or intervene in any way. They will let the client take the direction of the conversation wherever they want to go and discuss whatever comes to mind in whatever way they want to discuss it. They rely on this process to enable the client to deal with whatever issues they want to and by processing the information through talking they will reach a resolution and be able to move on with their lives. They are entirely non directional as a rule.
So, who looks at the past and asks why someone is behaving or feeling in a certain way? That’ll be the Psychoanalysts (Freud being the most well- known). They look at theories of personality development and look at a client’s past and piece together possible theories as to why these current issues are occurring and believe that by understanding the past, it’s possible to make changes in the present.
I must stress that this is an over simplified, very basic explanation of a few of the main counselling disciplines (models) available. There are many more than this which I don’t intend to get into here. I just wanted to give a brief overview to try and show that when dealing with a person, you are dealing with a persons past (after all, we all have a past its what makes us, us), what is happening right now and what is wanted for the future.
An Integrative Counsellor understands and can apply the different theories/models as and when needed. I’m an Integrative Counsellor so what does this mean for you as the client?
The answer will depend on what you need, furthermore, your needs will change as sessions progress. I can adapt to suit you.
Everyone is different and even those who, on the face of it, have the same problem may need very different treatment.
A good example is treatment for depression and/or anxiety. One client may be depressed because they have lost their job and their husband (or wife) has left them. Other than these two events, they are usually upbeat and happy.
Another client, coming for the same problem has always suffered with anxiety and depression since being young and understands why because they can recall events in their childhood which they believe are the probable cause and may, or may not want to explore these issues.
Another client may be feeling depressed/anxious but be confused about why it has suddenly started as they cannot recall any possible reason.
In the examples above, my approach for all 3 would be entirely different but would lead to the same end – a reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Perhaps some focus on what they want to achieve in life and how they are going to achieve it, if that is what they want from our sessions. It is entirely up to each client how far they want to go.
I offer counselling over the telephone, and on line over Zoom. I have had the same results on-line as I have face to face and for many it is easier than having to come and see me. It also means that I can treat anyone, anywhere in the world. It's nice to be at home, on your sofa with a mug of coffee or tea whilst chatting.
If you’re wondering if counselling is for you, give me a call and let’s have a chat, its always good to talk.