Our style of counselling is grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). We believe that when we can examine our thoughts, we can change our behaviours and feelings about those thoughts and as such make changes in our lives. We use an integrative approach that includes a Client-Centred approach, Feminist Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Narrative Therapy and more.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Commonly referred to as CBT. This theory looks at the automatic thoughts that a person experiences everyday. Once we can shed light on the automatic thoughts (bring them into consciousness and awareness) we are better able to make a change to maladaptive thinking patterns. When we change our thinking, our feelings about our thoughts can change, as well as our behaviours. Why do we want to change our thoughts? Some thoughts can be distorted or maladaptive and in continuing this pattern of distorted thinking, we continue in behaviours and feelings that are contributing to our presenting problems. (image retrieved from: http://www.bartoncbt.com/.)
Narrative Therapy Narrative Therapy is a perspective of therapy that views the problem to be outside of the person. That is the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem (Madigan, 2011). From this point of view, the counsellor invites the client to re-author the life story and examines how the problem came into one's life. For example, a person has a relationship with depression, alcohol, anorexia, etc., not the view that the person is depression, is an alcoholic, and is anorexic. It is the relationship that exists between the person and the problem. Once we externalize the problem from the self, we can create a new story about ourselves.
CBT can be used with Narrative Therapy to examine the messages we have received about who we are. Once we look at problems in a different way (cognitive/thinking) we are able to identify ways in which we tell ourselves and others about how we relate to problems. We find exceptions to the problem. This allows us to feel differently and behave differently in reaction to the problem.
Existential Therapy Existential therapy provides a more philosophical/intellectual therapeutic approach. It looks at individuals as:
having the capacity for self-awareness, experiencing tension between freedom and responsibility
creating an identity and establishing meaningful relationships
searching for the meaning, purpose and values of life
accepting anxiety as a condition of living
Feminist Approach Feminist approach includes "empowerment, valuing and affirming diversity, striving for change rather than adjustment, equality, balancing independence and interdependence, social change, and self-nurturance" (Corey, p. 370). At the heart of feminist therapy is the strive for social change. It requires looking outside the individual for the problem and addressing it in a social context.
Feminist therapy is not just for women - therapists look at ways in which all clients may be struggling due to societal pressures, regardless of identity and diversity.
Used with CBT, Feminist therapy looks at how we come to believe the thoughts we have about ourselves.
Client Centred Approach Carl Rogers (1957) wrote of the therapeutic relationship in regards to creating a space of unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and empathy for the client. It is through this person-centred approach that the therapist and client experience change and grow. Building a relationship with your therapist takes time, effort, willingness, and commitment. The relationship is the foundation of therapy and it is important that you find a good fit for you.
Expressive Arts Therapy Expressive arts is a form of creative interventions that can be used as a mode of expressing oneself. There are different modalities that can be used such as music, art, poetry, sand-play, and even dance or drama.
This modality of intervention depends on the client's comfort level in trying new experiences or existing hobbies in a new way.
Expressive arts is not a theory, but an alternative to traditional talk-therapy. It is not a fit for everyone and will only be used with client consent, as every intervention should be. Please consult with your therapist if you would like to try something a little non-traditional. See Here for more info.