What is Counselling?

We offer the latest therapeutic approaches which have a strong evidence base for effectiveness and are recommended by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE), the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health. As each person is unique we believe that a tailored approach is most helpful in meeting individual needs. Our CBT therapists are each trained in a number of approaches and work with you in assessing your goals and devising the therapy that will be most helpful to you.

Our counselling approaches include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as well as a range of other proven approaches (click on the approach in the list below to read a little more about each one):

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has become increasingly popular over the past 20 years. It is now widely used in the NHS and in the private sector, recommended by NICE, the government advisory body, as a treatment for a range of issues.  CBT aims to help people identify their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This helps us develop insight into our problems; how they developed and what patterns seem to be repeating themselves.

The core of CBT is that one?s emotional and rational behaviour are strongly influenced by thoughts, beliefs and meanings (cognitions). Meanings in this context are the way an event is interpreted and so understood by the individual; different cognitions elicit different emotions. CBT can help in teaching a client how certain thinking patterns are causing psychological/emotional difficulties and how to manage connections between stressful situations and habitual reactions.  Therapy focuses on how the client interprets events, the resulting behaviour and why now this behaviour is causing problems i.e. exaggerated responses.  For some clients, CBT can provide the tools to think more clearly and calmly and can help improve decision making. CBT has been effective for stress-related ailments, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and depression (sometimes in conjunction with pharmacological treatments).

Mindfulness Based Therapies
The ?Mindfulness? approach has traditionally emerged from Buddhist practices, and has recently become well respected in the NHS and private sector. Mindfulness is a specific way of intentionally paying attention to one?s thoughts.

How does mindfulness work?

It is based on the idea that one negative thought can trigger numerous negative thoughts. This approach encourages people to be aware of each thought, enabling the first ?thought? to be caught so that it is seen as just a thought and not a ?fact?. It encourages people to become aware of themselves; of their experiences, their thoughts and feelings, moment by moment. This allows us to live in the present moment and to gain some perspective of the way we feel and behave. This is helpful as the more practiced we become at being mindful in our daily lives (for example when walking to work, eating, resting or busy in some activity) the more we can stand outside life?s daily rush and find peace and a way of being grounded. This way we can perform more efficiently and make choices, rather than getting swept up in the flow of life or in reacting to events. It also helps us foster pro-activeness and creativity.

Existential Counselling
Existential psychotherapy and counselling is rooted in philosophical tradition as its framework as opposed to the traditional medical/diagnostic frame. Its aim is to understand and reflect on life. Existential therapy or counselling does not attempt to change clients in the traditional sense of behaviour. It makes no assumptions about the need or willingness to change because it is grounded in life itself, hence inviting reflection on client?s goals, intentions and attitudes toward life.

How does Existential Counselling work?

We explore the inner conflict that a client may experience when confronted with some ultimate concerns in life. These include the inevitability of death, meaninglessness, existential isolation and freedom and its responsibilities. These four concerns form the foundations of existential psychotherapy and compose the framework in which a therapist interprets a client?s problem in order to develop a method to promote psychological/emotional wellness. How one lives can be a source of conflict when considering how one may live their life. The journey of discovering life?s limitations, boundaries and freedoms facilitate a client?s personal sense of self and sense of others. In essence, this mode encourages a wider perspective in therapy which is the difficulty of some of the dilemmas of existence (living).

Person-centred counselling
Person-centred counselling is based on the idea that in the client/counsellor relationship the client is allowed to freely express any emotions and feelings. This enables the client to come to terms with negative feelings that may have caused emotional problems and also develop personal skills. The aim is for the client to become able to see themselves as a person with personal power and freedom to change.
Psychodynamic Counselling
Psychodynamic therapy is an effective and proven evidence based therapy as supported by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) and helps clients explore and consider how their past and present experiences may be linked. Difficult or painful feelings, difficult relationships and/or repeated patterns of behaviour may be rooted in past experiences. Sometimes it is difficult to make the connection or understand why difficulties are being experienced. Exploring the past in terms of the present can help in developing a profound understanding of how past relationships or experiences and how we attach meaning and understanding to them, can affect the present.

How Psychodynamic Counselling works

This approach also stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current feelings and behaviours. The client is encouraged to talk with their therapist about childhood relationships with parents and other significant people and the therapist focuses on the dynamics of the client/therapist relationship. Clients can then process their thoughts and feelings with a more useful perspective, empowering them to make positive change.

Transactional Analysis
Transactional analysis is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change? (International Transactional Analysis Association Appx E)


How does Transactional Analysis work?

  • As a theory of personality TA gives us a picture of how people are structured psychologically.  It uses a three-part model known as ego-state model.  This model helps us to understand how people function – how they express their personality in terms of behaviour.
  • TA also provides a theory of communication – specifically useful when extended to analysing family systems and organisations.
  • TA offers a theory of child development.  The concept of life script explains how our present life patterns originated in childhood.  Within the framework of life-script, TA develops explanations of how we may continue to re-play childhood strategies in grown-up life, even when these produce results that are self-defeating or painful. Thus TA gives a theory psychopathology. (I.Stewart & V. Joines, 2009)

Click here to learn more about what you can expect at your initial consultation.