This section provides more information on the different therapies and approaches. It can be quite confusing to know which one to choose and which approach may be most helpful to you. It is generally not necessary to understand how they all work before starting therapy. Your therapist can talk to you about the most suitable options for your needs. However, if you are keen to learn more, see below for an alphabetical list of therapies and definitions.
Modern approaches recognise that there is no “one-size-fits-all” magic pill. As individuals each of us have complex past experiences with uniquely different genetic, physiological, psychological, socio-economic, cultural and environmental backgrounds. An integrative approach can often allow more flexibility to choose aspects from a variety of methods to suit your needs in a more personalised way. For more information, also see here.
See below for an alphabetically ordered list of therapies and definitions.
- Clean Language and Metaphor Therapy
- Coaching and Generative Coaching
- Equine Assisted Psychotherapy & Learning (EAP/L)
- Family Constellations Therapy
- Gestalt Therapy
- Integrative and Outcome-oriented Psychotherapy
- Neuro-linguistic_Programming (NLP)
- Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt)
- Person-centred Psychotherapy
- Play Therapy and Counselling for Children
- Psychodynamic-psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
- Relational Psychotherapy
- Self-relations Therapy
- Solution-focused (Brief) Therapy (SFBT)
- Transactional Analysis (TA)
Clean Language and Metaphor Therapy is a method of utilising specific questions within the psychotherapeutic or coaching process. It works predominantly on discovering metaphors that the individual generates as part of their experiential process and as a representation of their thinking and feeling in the here-and-now. The metaphors become a key theme in the change process, where they can be consciously explored, expanded and ultimately transformed. This often creates similar changes in the ‘outside world’ (e.g. behaviours, relationships, self-esteem) and can be an efficient and effective way to enable healing and positive change to achieve desired outcomes. Read more…
Metaphors are thought to access unconscious processes and increased right-brain function, important for promoting psychological and behavioural change. Metaphorical language can help express emotional experiences that can be difficult to express in literal terms. This has been useful for psychotherapy for many different modalities, and it has been regarded as a useful tool particularly when working in “brief” therapy (e.g. less than 12 sessions). Images can affect areas of the brain that are involved in biological and physiological functioning for mind-body health and wellbeing. Hence metaphor and imagery interventions can create simultaneous changes in psychological, biological and socio-cultural systems.
Many traditional psychotherapeutic models have utilised therapist-generated metaphors (presented via interpretations, analogies, stories, myths, archetypes). However, since the 1980s a number of therapists have advocated utilising client-generated metaphors, to focus more fully on the individual’s unique experience.
“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” Carl Jung
Some of these approaches highlighted the importance of exploring the individual’s experience involving all bodily senses. This is based on the concept that metaphors are fundamentally grounded in embodied experience. Thus it is important to explore not only the visual imagery aspects of a person’s metaphor, but also its auditory (hearing), kinaesthetic (feeling), olfactory (smelling) and gustatory (tasting) qualities. These concepts are similar to the theories of NLP. This can effectively expand the natural metaphor in a way that enables a dynamic four-dimensional spatial and temporal arrangement (“metaphor landscape”) representing the person’s unique model of experience.
Though therapist-introduced metaphors can be effective when sufficiently attuned to and accepted by the individual’s material, more contemporary therapists found utilising and deliberately encouraging client-generated approaches faster and more effective. This is because the therapist aims to stay completely within in the client’s construct of individual reality to better facilitate exploration, extension and to ultimately encourage transformation of this experiential organising pattern.
New Zealand psychotherapist David Grove developed a unique method of questioning in the late 80ies. He realised that many clients would naturally describe their symptoms in metaphors and he started to ask specific questions about these. He found it particularly helpful when working with clients with traumatic memories, particularly when working with child abuse, rape and incest; even inter-generational and ancestral healing.
For example, instead of asking “How do you feel about that?” he would use mainly the client’s exact words and ask e.g. “And when that happened, what was that like?” He did this to reduce the risk of contaminating or distorting the individual’s reality with his own words or assumptions. Working within the individual’s own metaphors in this way enabled his clients to consider their symptoms in a new way, frequently allowing their perception of the trauma to change.
These methods were later expanded on and refined by more recent contemporary practitioners in the field, including James Lawley and Penny Tomkins, Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees, and Philip Harland.
For more information, see reference list under resources.
Coaching and Generative Coaching is a form of professional support, similar to mentoring but different to therapy by being more focused on positive goals, future-orientation, and action plans. It is mostly time-limited and entails a more directive approach utilising specific tools and techniques and a variety of exercises in an interactive and thought-provoking way. The objective is to unlock an individual’s personal and professional potential so that they find their own resources to create actionable strategies for achieving their desired outcomes. Read more…
It often utilises effective tools from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). It facilitates individual to change unhelpful behaviour patterns and discover new ways of achieving things. It may respectfully challenge but honour each individual’s values, preferences and perspectives. Though coaching usually focuses on specific skills and goals, it can have a beneficial impact on the individual’s personal attributes (including social interaction, confidence and self-esteem).
“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” Dale Carnegie
In organisational change and the work environment it tends to focus on improving overall morale, motivation, performance and productivity. The main reasons are often to help reduce staff turnover as well as with individuals’ personal development goals. This is mostly a two-way relationship with both the organisation and the employee gaining significant benefits.
Generative coaching is a term coined by the American psychologist Stephen Gilligan (see Self-relations therapy) and has been called the “third generation” of change work. This includes most of the basic principles and methods of traditional coaching, but gives also attention to a person’s current state of consciousness, inner emotional states and outside influences and representations.
“You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” Warren Beatty
Generating positive curiosity and skillful explorations of our own perceptions can allow the transformation of negative states as a driving force to achieve positive goals and allows new skills and possibilities to emerge. Its primary objective is to connect to the individual’s own “creative unconscious” and activate “intentional” consciousness to generate a happy, successful, and meaningful life.
For more information, see http://stephengilligan.com/blog/ and Gilligan, S. (2012) Generative Trance – The experience of creative flow. UK: Crown House Publishing.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy & Learning (EAP/L) uses the horse as the therapist. A range of animals have been well known for being therapeutic and horses are becoming increasingly well known for their ability to enable change. Though horses have been used in the past for physical therapies, the special abilities and the uniqueness of the horse-human relationship has meant it was soon incorporated into psychological therapies. Read more…
There are many acronyms for this at the moment: Equine assisted therapy (EAT), equine assisted counselling (EAC), equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) or equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP). Some organisations like to use the latter and this avoids confusion with the acronym used for Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) in the psychotherapy and counselling fields. It has also been called hippotherapy (from the Greek word ‘hippos’ meaning horse), which in effect puts people and horses together with a therapist in an environment designed to promote growth and learning.
“The Horse knows… He knows if you know… He also knows if you don’t know.” Ray Hunt
EAP/L uses equine assisted activities to explore the way a client sees and relates to themselves and others, their patterns of behaviour and survival as well as their gifts and strengths, and may include the exploration of past experiences and traumas. EAP is a form of psychotherapy and relies upon the therapeutic knowledge and experience gained through a mental health qualification. It is often much more efficient at getting to the core of things, without being necessarily verbal. EAL uses equine assisted activities as a tool for self-development and education, with a focus on the immediate past and the present moment. This would be used more in leadership development and coaching.
Research is constantly updated on the way experience is coded and can be interpreted through verbal and non-verbal patterns and physiological changes. Specific techniques enable clients to experience the effects of conscious and unconscious patterns of behaviour, memories and goals, and initiate opportunities for lasting change, which are monitored by observable results.
Being predominantly used in the US, this therapy type is now becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The therapy team consists often of at least two people, one mental health professional or psychotherapist and one horse expert or behaviour specialist, unless the therapist has both qualifications.
EAP/L is now increasingly used for a variety of mental health issues from addictions, anxiety disorders, PTSD, Attachment disorders, sexual abuse, trauma, unresolved anger, relationship issues, learning difficulties, autism to low self-esteem.
EAP/L has also been successfully used for workplace coaching and leadership development, to finding new and positive ways for teams to work more effectively. It can help with communication, assertiveness, relationships, creative thinking and problem solving, confidence and resilience.
EAP/L can be used with individuals, couples and groups an add-on to existing office-based therapy or as the main form or therapy or coaching experience. These activities generally do not involve actual riding and clients do not have to have any experience with horses. All is based on the ground and more around how we relate with these equine facilitators.
Family Constellations Therapy is a “systemic” approach to psychotherapy. It utilises a group of people to represent different family members, associated ideas or issues of a client. It is based on the premise that we are all inextricably linked to our family systems, past and present (often up to five generations back or more). Significant events, relationships and traumas from the past can affect us in the present. Because these dynamics are mostly hidden (“unconscious”), family constellations therapy can help uncover these and reveal new information and previously hidden relationship dynamics in the family system. This provides new insight and perspectives, and helps to create new meaning and healing for clients. Read more…
Family Constellations Therapy is a resolution-oriented approach to enable clients to find new resources to be able to move on. It helps recognise on a deep embodied level, that situations in the past need to be accepted and acknowledged as they are (good or bad), in order move on and go forward. It does not pretend that what has happened was appropriate or what has been done can be undone. Instead it helps accepting that what was, and offers the premise that rejection of this reality will not help us to move forward.
“The criterion for what is good is based on whether it relieves someone, brings joy, or soothes a distress.” Bert Hellinger
This unique approach was developed by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger in the 1990ies and is based on western psychotherapeutic approaches and indigenous traditions. In his practice Hellinger found that certain psychological and behavioural patterns can exist across generations. E.g. problems and issues can knowingly or unknowingly be passed down the generations until it finally gets dealt with for its resolve. Hellinger believes that there exists a ‘field consciousness’, similar to what Carl Jung may have called the ‘collective unconscious’, that affects us on the energetic level. Family constellations can create deep, powerful and healing experiences for all involved: the clients, its witnesses and those serving as participants.
For more information, see here.
Gestalt Therapy is an approach that looks at our current behaviours, thoughts and feelings and how they relate to our past experiences to help improve our self-awareness. Non-judgemental self-awareness is thought to be key to personal growth and developing full potential with a new perspective on life, which is unique to the individual. Read more…
It looks the person as an ‘organised whole’ to provide insight into ways individuals act (behaviours, body language), think and feel in the present moment. It emphasise on personal responsibility and self-awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotions and behaviour in the present moment, often incorporating the relational dynamics in the room. Sometimes this self-awareness can become blocked by negative beliefs about ourselves or repeating patterns of thoughts and behaviours, which create distress, dissatisfaction and unhappiness with life. Gestalt therapy often utilises techniques like role-playing, acting out scenarios, writing and dream recall.
“Lose your mind and come to your senses.”
Gestalt therapy has been developed by German psychiatrist and psychotherapist Fritz Perls in the 1940s. The word ‘gestalt’ is derived from German and means ‘organised whole’.
HeartMath® is a scientifically validated system designed to reduce and transform stress and the effects of stress on mind and body. It includes practical biofeedback and heart rate variability (HRV) training, breathing, relaxation and visualisation exercises that help improve resilience, performance and mind-body health and wellbeing. The biofeedback technologies (e.g. Inner Balance™) provide real-time insight into our emotional, mental and physical states and help embodied self-awareness and enhance sustainable self-regulation skills. Read more…
“Stress” impacts the mind-body system in many ways. How we define stress often depends on the unique individual’s perception of stress and our ability to adapt to it. Levels of resilience and copying skills will be different for each of us. Research has shown that early childhood stressors lead to lower resilience in later life. Since we often have limited control over the occurrence of stressful situations, successful stress management is about helping to reduce our physiological and emotional responses to stress.
We recognise “stress” if we frequently experience one or more of the following: anxiety, frustration, continuous worries or concerns, feeling easily overwhelmed or irritated, feeling out of control, finding it hard to think straight or concentrate, negative attitude, tension, some chronic psychosomatic pains (e.g. frequent unexplained back pain, headaches), anger or hostility. These negative emotions and feelings are connected to our evolutionary fight or flight (or freeze!) function which affects a cascade of hormonal, neurological, physiological, mental and emotional changes in our mind-body system.
The research conducted at the HeartMath® Institute confirmed that when we experience negative or stressful emotions our heart rhythm pattern becomes erratic and irregular (incoherent) and this effect will inhibit our higher cognitive functions, limit our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. They have found conversely that emotions like appreciation, love, and compassion create regular and smooth (coherent) heart rhythm patters (Figure 1). These positive emotions will affect brainwave patterns and other organs in a way that positively impacts our mind-body functioning, performance and health.
Figure 1. Emotions and Their Effects on Heart Rate Variability
Source: Childre, D. & Martin H. (2000) The Heartmath Solution: The Institute of Heartmath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence. US: HarperOne.
Figure 1 above demonstrates this affect and describes heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the measurable variation between our individual heartbeats. It is an important indicator of health and fitness as well as biological aging. Our HRV is greatest when we are young, and it becomes smaller as we get older. Since stress over a lifetime is cumulative, decreasing HRV can be seen as ‘stress-induced’ wear and tear on our nervous system. In this way HRV can provide useful insight into our physiological resilience, behavioural flexibility and our overall ability to adapt to stressful events and daily demands.
The HeartMath® Institute found that it is possible to regenerate and restore our HRV values with regular practice. Their research also showed beneficial effects on some important hormones like cortisol (stress hormone), sIgA (immune marker) and DHEA (vitality hormone). Positive as well as negative emotions have long lasting effects on these markers which in turn affect our physiology, mental and emotional states. It turns out that our heart is much more than just an organ which pumps blood around our body. The heart has a complex nervous system and acts like a “brain” itself. It communicates with our actual brain, our gut (often called the second brain and related to our “gut feelings” and instincts) and the rest of the body in many ways. This includes hormonal, neurological, physiological and energetic (electromagnetic frequencies) pathways that have long lasting effects on our mind-body system.
As from yoga and meditation we know that breath can physically manipulate our heart rhythm and nervous system response. However, the main difference between the HeartMath® tools and most commonly practiced breathing techniques is that they focus on making intentional internal (emotional) adjustments. Their research found that it is the emotional shift that is one of the key elements of the techniques’ effectiveness, that with practice no longer requires a conscious focus on our breathing rhythm.
“By learning to access the intuitive intelligence of the heart, we are better able to care for ourselves, our families, our community, and the world itself.” Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. Institute of HeartMath
The main benefit of utilising the HeartMath® tools is that they can be applied any time. This is important as it can help us relieve stress in-the-moment and not just after a stressful event has occurred. Often when we find ourselves winding down from a stressful event it has already had many negative effects on us. For example, the stress hormone cortisol tends to stay raised in our system for many hours rather than minutes once it is released. So reducing our physiological and emotional response to stress when it happens or even before it happens appears to be key.
Individuals who have utilized these techniques report results that are sustained over time because the HeartMath® tools help create a change in our body’s baseline emotional and physiologic response to stress. The tools allow practicing intentional emotional shifts and help reinforce them until they become familiar. By learning to sustain positive emotions and generate increased heart rhythm coherence, our entire body can benefit from its profound effects on how we perceive, think, feel and perform. It can improve sleep and energy levels, enhance intuitive thinking, creativity and cognitive performance which helps with problem solving and better decision making as well as improve overall mind-body health and wellbeing.
The Inner Balance™ app is available for iPhones and iPads and clients of ADADSU can practice and access the equipment free of charge at our clinic. ADADSU clients are eligible to receive a further 20% discount on any of the HeartMath® books and tools.
For more information, see http://heartmath.co.uk/about-heartmath-coherence-hrv/ and the Amazon website for the book the HeartMath Solution.
For an interesting article on HeartMath® from nutritional therapist Susannah Lawson, see this link: https://www.patrickholford.com/advice/heartmath
Integrative and Outcome-oriented Psychotherapy draws on a variety of psychotherapeutic models rather than one single or fixed framework of a therapeutic modality. It utilises different elements of a number of approaches (classical or innovative) recognising the unique individuality of each person and each situation rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Integrative psychotherapy holds the idea that there are many ways to help explore and understand human psychology and that no one theory holds the answer. All theories include valuable aspects; even if various foundational principles seem to contradict each other. This reinforces the belief to integrate different aspects of different theoretical frameworks. Read more…
Furthermore, integrative psychotherapy holds the premise that each person needs to be considered as a whole being. It often refers to the integration of a person’s psyche and personality. A person’s wellbeing may be affected by his internal environment, e.g. affective (mind: emotions, feelings), cognitive and behavioural (mind: psychological), physiological (body) and transpersonal (spirit) dimensions. It takes into consideration that the personal dimensions are also affected by external influences, e.g. social, cultural and political conditions. An integrative approach recognises that all of this (in its unique combinations) will affect how an individual experiences and responds to life events. It aims to address and integrate all these dimensions within one person, and in this way tailoring therapy to the client and not the client to the therapy.
“Each person is a unique individual. Hence, psychotherapy should be formulated to meet the uniqueness of the individual’s needs, rather than tailoring the person to fit the Procrustean bed of a hypothetical theory of human behaviour.” Milton H. Erickson
Integrative psychotherapy is a relational approach that utilises the moment-to-moment experiencing to bring balance to the mind-body-spirit dimensions. It holds the belief that each individual has an inherent capacity for self-regulation, self-actualisation, responsibility and choice. The therapist will act as a facilitator to enable the client realise her potential, utilising what works best for the individual. It is predominantly a “co-creative” process where both client and therapist are actively involved in the process of change.
Outcome-oriented psychotherapy is a version of an integrative psychotherapeutic approach. Though it recognises the importance to look at how past experiences shape our way of experiencing life today, it is staying predominantly in the here and now and preferred future to achieve the individual’s outcomes and goals. It is based on neurolinguistic psychotherapy and solution-focused approaches and is generally more time-limited. It also draws on continuously advancing knowledge in neuroscience as well as cognitive and behavioural-applied approaches.
Mindfulness is an approach that helps us reconnect with ourselves again and notice moment-to-moment changes within us and the world around us. It can help us feeling more attuned to our emotions and being more aware of our mental and physical state. Mindfulness can help overcome anxiety, overwhelming emotions, and stress by helping us being more present, live more in the moment, and being aware of our needs to make changes happen for a more fulfilling life. This approach often utilises a variety of techniques, tools and homework tasks, including meditation, breathing exercises (see also HeartMath®) and other exercises to practice mindfulness. Read more…
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” Buddha
The opposite of it can be called “mindlessness”. We can recognise mindlessness when we have a tendency to be on autopilot a lot of the time. This means we can complete tasks automatically without really giving them any thought. Some common examples are driving the car or watching TV. Think about it: How often have you driven your car to work in the morning thinking about work or planning the day ahead in your mind, not being consciously aware of the regular gear changes, traffic lights and building sites – and suddenly you have already arrived at the destination? When have you last eaten a snack or a meal in front of the TV, only to find your plate empty at a certain point but not remembering having eaten it?
These type of autopilot behaviours can spill over into many other activities in our day-to-day activities and can affect our mental health and wellbeing. This is often due to continuous thinking and planning ahead, ruminating in the past or worrying about future events. This can make us feel empty, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, out of control, overwhelmed and stressed. Mindfulness techniques can be useful in helping us to calm our nervous system and address our negative thinking and behaviour patterns.
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is often called the “psychology of performance excellence”. It aims to understand how individuals organise their inner world in terms of thinking, feeling, how they use language and behaviour patterns. With this new understanding a variety of tools and techniques are utilised to help re-structure and organise this experiencing. The objective of this approach is to enable improved communication, create results (“desired outcomes”) and personal change. Read more…
Compared to psychotherapy it is more directional and facilitator-led which is particularly popular in coaching approaches (e.g. for sports and business performance). It has however found more applications in the last decades in psychology and psychotherapy. It works on the theory that life experiences, from our earliest memories, programme the way we see and experience the world. The term neuro-liguistic programming is based on the following assumptions:
- Neuro describes how our thoughts are processed and how we construct our mental maps of the world
- Linguistic defines how we communicated this with help of language and how we assign personal meaning to the information
- Programming indicates how we ‘code’ these thoughts and memories for recall or construction and our behavioural responses to them.
NLP can support you in coping with and reducing stress, behaviour and performance related issues. It can help investigate underlying factors that can hold you back from moving forward, create more choices that open up more possibilities and encourage personal growth and development. It can help you find your own sense of purpose with emphasis on achieving that what you want, rather than focusing on what you don’t want.
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
NLP was founded by American linguist John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the early 1970s based on their modelling of a small number of therapists that consistently achieved excellent results. These therapists were Fritz Perls, a Gestalt therapist, Virginia Satir, a family therapist, and Milton Erickson, a psychiatrist and hypnotherapist.
It has experienced some controversy in its time, which still seems to linger especially in the classic psychotherapy areas. This is primarily because it had been so popular in the 90s in sales and marketing departments used by sales people to boost sales, and in affect ‘manipulate’ people’s behaviours to their own advantage. However its theories and techniques can actually be a very valuable resource for coaching and in psychotherapy since it combines cognitive behavioural and various psychotherapeutic aspects, including those from clinical hypnosis. Though NLP techniques are not always suitable in addressing complex psychological difficulties, there has been increasing research in recent years into its efficacy for a wide variety of psychological conditions (see Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy).
Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt) is a brief outcome-oriented psychotherapy which means it is generally time-limited and one would stay predominantly in the here-and-now and the preferred future. Its main objective is to help create more choices and possibilities for individuals’ perceptions of reality (“models of the world”) while working towards the desired outcomes and goals. It is an integrative approach utilising aspects of a variety of therapeutic aspects. Read more…
By working primarily with the individual’s subjective experiencing it is underpinned by constructivist views utilising aspects from relational, person-centred, gestalt therapy, hypnotherapy, systemic and cognitive-behavioural approaches. NLPt includes also aspects of psychodynamic-psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Objects-relations therapy (e.g. Freud, Jung, Klein), Adlerian therapy, positive psychology, personal construct, existential therapy, transactional analysis, and rational emotive therapies.* Other contemporary practitioners have expanded this further to include self-relations therapy and embodied aspects.
“People cannot discover new lands until they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
NLPt is a relatively new modality based on the increasing industry pressures to include brief effective tools in therapeutic practice. It emerged from neurolinguistic programming (NLP) integrating some of the original NLP tools and techniques with a variety of other psychotherapeutic approaches. It has been represented within the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) since 2002.
For more information, see the following book by contemporary practitioner and trainer Lisa Wake, who explores the approach, its evolutionary history and latest critical appraisal of the research literature:
Wake, L. (2008) Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy: A Postmodern Perspective (Advancing Theory in Therapy). 1st Ed. UK: Routledge.
Person-centred Psychotherapy sees human beings as having an innate wisdom to solve their own problems and develop towards their full potential. Sometimes this ability can become blocked or distorted by painful life experiences, often affecting our sense of value and self-worth. This approach emphasis a self-directed growth and change. It encourages that the individual chooses which issues to explore, holding the premise that each person knows best which problems are of greatest importance to them. Read more…
It is a relational approach that values the unique experience from each client’s point of view. The therapist meets the client with sufficient permission, acceptance, congruence, empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard. Both therapist and client seek to engage in a non-judgemental, open and genuine relationship whereby each individual is valued as a human being with all its aspects.
“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” Carl Rogers
Person-centred psychotherapy holds the belief that when these conditions are met, clients feel more accepted and more comfortable talking about themselves. It emphasises on self-acceptance enabling clients to come to terms with negative feelings and aspects of themselves. This helps to reconnect with inner values and sense of self-worth. This way individual can recognise their true potential, with more power and freedom to change, finding inner resources and their own individual ways to move forward and bring about change.
Person-centred psychotherapy was developed by the American psychologist Carl Rogers in the 1950ies. It is often also called “Rogerian” therapy. It is a humanistic approach that looks at ways how individuals perceive themselves in their own experiential world, rather than how a therapist would interpret their unconscious thoughts or ideas (as in classical psychoanalysis).
Play Therapy and Counselling for Children is often used with children but can also be used with adults and couples (e.g. sand play therapy). Play therapy helps a child establish a trusting relationship with the therapist utilising non-verbal ways. Utilising non-verbal ways of communication can often be more insightful and effective at addressing healing and change. Read more…
“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
Children generally do not have the same cognitive and verbal resources to express their experiences and make sense of their emotions in the same way as adults can. This makes it often difficult for children to understand confusing emotions or process upsetting experiences. To the outside this may be expressed as certain ‘problem behaviours’ (hyperactivity, lack of focus, disrupting class-room activities, difficulties with friends and teachers, anger outbursts, excessive shyness, feeling anxious).
Play therapy allows children to communicate at their own level and at their own pace. It is a non-directive approach which involves the use of different materials, toys and games to help a child externalise and come to terms with difficult feelings or emotions.
Psychodynamic-psychoanalytic Psychotherapy has been historically tied to principles of psychoanalytic theory (psychoanalysis). Based on the premise that person’s behaviour is affected by unconscious past experiences. It encourages individuals to talk about their thoughts, feelings and interactions with other people, past and present. Identifying and exploring how a person’s unconscious emotions and motivations can influence their lives at present can help individuals gain greater self-awareness and understanding about their own actions. Read more…
Psychodynamic therapy looks particularly at the development of the relationship dynamics between the client and therapist in the room. Some of the dynamics that are played out are known as “transference”. Put simply, transference means when a person repeats certain patterns of relating that were learnt from past relationships, with the therapist in the here-and-now. Expectations about people’s actions and behaviours are therefore subconsciously “transferred” in this way onto others (e.g. the therapist). Making these patterns conscious (e.g. bringing them into awareness), enables them to be explored and worked through in the safety of the therapeutic relationship. This enables individuals to find new ways of relating and coping
“The unconscious mind is the horse and conscious mind is the rider: it’s the relationship between the two that is most important.” William James
Psychoanalysis is based on the theories of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud at the beginning of 1900ies. He first wrote on dream analysis in 1901. His theories continued to evolve over the next few decades which he published in many papers that followed. One of the key tenets of the treatment was to bring repressed thoughts and feelings from the “unconscious” into consciousness, by using e.g. free association (saying anything that crosses one’s mind during therapy) or dream analysis. By getting things that were repressed into our awareness, he found that this would free the individual from suffering repetitive distorted emotions. Freud believed that bad thoughts and experiences from childhood are repressed but continue to influence behaviours and feelings as an adult. Freud came up with various theories that still inform many psychiatric and other psychotherapeutic models, despite the rich debates over existing controversies.
In psychoanalysis a long time (sometimes over many years with multiple sessions per week) can be spent talking about any thoughts that come up about the past as well as the present. This will help the analyst identify and interpret links between a client’s past events and his current thoughts and actions. Today, modern psychoanalysis has developed a more relational, interactive and psychodynamic approach of psychotherapy that can be less time intensive.
Relational Psychotherapy is not really a specific type of psychotherapy but more a philosophy that can be used by therapists from a wide variety of different psychotherapeutic models. It views the therapeutic relationship as a key part of the therapy process. The here-and-now (moment to moment) dynamics of relating in the room are utilised to encourage insight, enable change and create self-sufficiency going forward. Read more…
“The degree to which I can create relationships, which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself.” Carl Rogers
This view is based on the premise that all our past relationships, including those to our care takers in early childhood development, will inform our current relationships. This will contribute to our behaviours and ways of “relating” today, which will often present itself in repetitive patterns throughout our life. Much of our suffering as well as feelings of “stuckness” can be the result of unresolved relational issues, and it is often what brings many individuals to therapy in the first place. The source of the difficulty can often be hidden to us (“unconscious”) as it is part of the systems to which we belong, including our family system, workplace system and our current relationships (see also family constellations therapy).
Based on person-centred views, relational therapists believe that it is the therapeutic relationship that creates a space where such relational dynamics can be provoked and worked through (see also psychodynamic psychotherapy).
Self-relations Therapy focuses on the relationship with the core self first so that we can effectively achieve improved relationships with others. It emphasises on somatic (body) awareness to allow enhanced mind-body communication and discovery. It is based on the premise that reality and identity are constructed by ourselves and that our own conscious involvement in this process is key to discovering new realities and possibilities to move forward. It makes use of conscious and unconscious processes to allow transformational healing to occur (see also Generative Trance. Read more…
Self-relations therapy emphasises on communication and discovery of the inner self, finding compassion for one self in order for healing of our mind-body-spirit to emerge. Changing the relationship to our own self in this way, affects how we relate to others and how we experience our community. One of the key principles of the therapy is sponsorship and providing unconditional positive regard to the individual, in this way including aspects of person-centred and relational psychotherapy. Sponsorship focuses on creating harmony of how we relate with ourselves as well as out in the world at large and the connection between the two.
To create change we need to generate new things. To allow the development of creative and “generative” actions we need a skilful conscious mind to realise the potential of our unconscious mind. To set and maintain a conscious intention can help to discover and better evaluate the infinite possibilities of choices that are available to us.
“When deciding what to do next, we can always ask: Does this thought, emotion, or behaviour bring me closer to or take me further away from my centre?” adapted from Stephen Gilligan, PhD
Self-relations therapy emphasises on the positive aspects of problems and symptoms. It believes that these are ‘disturbances of natural order’ and evidence that “something is waking up”. That symptoms are messages from our bodies and unconscious minds for the next challenges as part of our journeys. This is opposite to many of the classical or orthodox approaches whereby symptoms are aimed to be gotten rid of, diminished, medicated or ignored. Instead it aims to awaken our inner awareness and discovery of what these symptoms are trying to reveal.
Creating awareness of “somatic intelligence” or “body wisdom” is an important part of this process (see also Body Psychotherapy). The “somatic self” is a felt sense in the body which we mostly tend to ignore. Hence symptoms are often only recognised after years of imbalances (on many levels, including the physical and emotional). By re-establishing a healthier relationship between our “cognitive self” (mind) and our “somatic self” (body) it aims to further create harmony with the greater “universal field” that we are all part of (spirit).
Self-Relations therapy is a relatively new and innovative approach that has been developed by American psychologist Stephen Gilligan since late 70s. He was a former protégé of the late psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson (see Ericksonian Hypnosis) and student of American anthropologist Gregory Bateson. His work evolved from Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP principles, underpinned by philosophies and aspects from Buddhism, Aikido, and practices of non-violence (from Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi). Other post-Ericksonian approaches he developed included Generative Trance and Generative Coaching. He trains his students to tap into the core self (“generative self”) and encourages intuitive sensitivity, creativity, humour and flow.
For more information, see: Gilligan, S. (1997) The courage to love: Principles and practices of self-relations psychotherapy. New York: Norton.
Solution-focused (Brief) Therapy (SFBT) therapy focuses on promoting positive change staying in the here and now and the preferred future. Rather than focusing on particular issues or dwelling on past problems clients are actively engaged in developing positive goals and ways to achieve them by focusing on their strengths and resources. It aims to help individuals realise their potential and find the courage to move forward. Read more…
The solution-focused approach utilises a variety of tools and techniques to help the individual find ways of achieving their desired goals. These often include a set of questions tailored to the individual and their specific circumstances. This approach is often time-limited (e.g. less than 12 sessions) based on solution building rather than problem solving. However, it can be incorporated into longer-term therapeutic approaches for more sustainable effects.
“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” Albert Einstein”
Solution-focused therapy was initially developed as a brief-therapy approach in the 1980s by American social workers Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. Together they founded the therapy on some basic philosophies and assumptions, including the belief that clients have resources and their own strengths to solve and overcome their problems. Change is both constant and certain and in addition client must also want to change. It is a more directional approach and the future vision is what drives the therapy process forward.
Transactional Analysis (TA) Transactional analysis is a psychological analytical approach involving a variety of techniques, conceptual tools and models to promote personal growth and change. It aims to analyse and identify communication problems, help with unhelpful behaviour patterns and relationship issues. TA’s practical conceptual tools are widely accepted and utilised in a range of other therapies in an integrative way. It is often as a time-limited (brief) and solution-focused approach, but can also be applied effectively in longer term and in-depth therapy. Read more…
Transactional analysis was developed by Eric Berne in the late 1950s. It holds the premise that each person has three ego states: parent, adult and child. These and other conceptual tools are utilised to help clients gain better understanding, find constructive creative solutions to their current issues and regain autonomy over their lives. Berne defined this autonomy as the recovery of three vital human capacities: awareness, intimacy, and spontaneity.
“Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future.” Eric Berne