Our Methods

Keys To Hope Theoretical Approaches

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 Behavioral 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 https://www.online-therapy.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

(Reference: www.counsellingtutor.com)

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 Centered 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.


To learn more about Expressive Arts Therapy, see this blog post from Psychology Today:


Animal & Nature Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) includes partnering with animals as co-therapists in the counselling session. Key features of AAT: specified goals and objectives for each individual, qualified professional involved in the animal interactions for a specific purpose, and progress is measured.

​Nature Assisted Therapy (NAT) uses nature in a therapeutic and healing capacity. Nature naturally soothes and calms the nervous system and helps with emotion regulation. Most people do not pay attention to the calming affects of nature and have recently become nature deprived due to an increase in indoor activities such as technology engagement. Connecting with a therapist in nature allows for reconnection and understanding of life's problems in an outdoor environment. 


Learn more about AAT & NAT at Psychology today:


Alberta is located on Treaty territory traditional lands – a traditional gathering place for diverse indigenous peoples whose histories, languages, & cultures are an influential aspect of our community in Medicine Hat and area.

Keys to Hope Counselling Services is committed to ensuring that the spirit of all Treaties are honoured and respected.


    #104, 1865 Dunmore Rd.
    SE Medicine Hat, Alberta

    Phone: (403)-487-1607

    Fax: (403)-487-1707


    Keys To Hope Counselling Services, Medicine Hat, Alberta
    Keys To Hope Counselling Services, Medicine Hat, Alberta

    Copyright © 2021 Keys To Hope Counselling Services

    All rights reserved. Website by Social Method Studio