Humanistic Counselling Central London, Integrative Psychotherapy in London - Holistic, Integrative Counselling Approach
Holistic Counselling Approach, Therapy Role, Philosophy & Style
Curiosity My integrative counselling approach includes not only finding ways to help reduce symptoms, but also to discover with you what your life means to you, your potential and any unrealised possibilities. Throughout the counselling I will not only be curious about what's happening for you, but also about how you respond to events.
Flexible Counselling Approach Counselling is not a medical treatment, panacea, or an exact science. I recognise that no single form of therapy is best or adequate in every situation. Therefore I do not hold a "one size fits all" or "tick box" approach, nor claim to know all the answers. No one counselling approach holds the truth or explains the complexities of each person (see also Science Or Art?). There are numerous reasons for why we are the way we are, each of us are unique. A single theory cannot match every human being's needs and solve all problems. We don't all fit into neat boxes. There is usually no quick fix or easy formula. Different approaches help different people. What works for some may not work for others, so I work with a personalised approach in a way which best fits you. We are unique, having our own personality, circumstances, needs, strengths, weaknesses and struggles. No one is a stereotype - we are infinitely complex, full of mystery, with many creative possibilities. My counselling experience tells me that what matters is the relationship between counsellor and client - how the two of us relate together in the counselling, less so the style of the therapy.
Affirming Counselling Approach In order to explore what's happening in our Iives, people tend to prefer a relational, interpersonal approach, allowing things to emerge during the counselling process. Some people seek reassurance, support, feedback, gentle guidance or authentic challenge, be pushed. Others benefit from a more cognitive, technical style of therapy, seek some tools, and a targeted counselling program can be offered to meet those needs. My affirming approach is to be alongside you, and the issues you bring to counselling, so the choices you make, enrich rather than limit you.
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Focus of Counselling The counselling focuses on you - your own internal world, what's happening inside you, rather than external circumstances, which may be difficult to change or cure. The counselling includes finding out how you've arrived at this point in your life now, what influences you, what works and is helpful and what is no longer helpful. We all have our own unique structures: the way we think, feel and behave. We experience the same situations differently. My role as a counsellor is to find out what it's like to be you and mirror back what I notice in you, checking if this resonates and fits, helping you to be clearer about any decisions you want to make.
Therapy Style, Therapy Approach My holistic counselling approach is to identify, consider the nature of your problems, so you can move on, change, manage or accept your life as it is. Some people may prefer a listening ear or gentle guidance, allowing things to unfold. In other situations people want a more interactive uncovering style or more direct approach seeking different tools (I aim not to set up a codependent relationship with clients in that I am not the all knowing, all providing, all rescuing "expert"). My counselling approach is less about trying to prove things, yet may include illustration. I may also offer ways to integrate your thoughts, feelings and reflections, exploring how you may think more deeply, feel more fully, imagine with more freedom. This therapy approach can enable us to have a deeper experience of who we are. (see also The Therapeutic Relationship - How You & I Relate)
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Counselling Approach - Finding Out About You As a psychotherapist I hold the view that each person takes responsibility for the way they use counselling, that we know ourselves best, so the outcome of therapy is in the individual's hands. In the beginning I see the counselling like a "blank canvas" and my role is to find out about you, how you are and the way you do things - your internal landscapes, modus operandi and what drives you.
Stages Of Therapy, Tasks Of Counselling & Psychotherapy Wanting a quick fix, some of us may seek an instant "light bulb" moment which may not necessarily happen in the first few sessions (see also Mode, Frequency & Duration of Therapy Sessions). Other people may benefit from working with very specific tasks within the counselling, having defined stages of therapy, whereas taking a longer way home may be a preferred decision for some, as we embark on a journey with no specific destination (see also Counselling Approach - New Perspectives). An early stage of counselling may be to initially make sense of why our patterns have developed, including what has happened in our past, so we understand the problem. Further stages of counselling may be learning how to control our responses in order to prevent a problem re-occurring in the future. Final stages of counselling for some may be to move away from simply coping, symptom reduction, towards growth, individuation, taking self-responsibility, living to our full potential, our sense of Self, and enhancing our wellbeing, including our psychological wellbeing, so we are able to robustly interact with the world in effective and genuine ways, through our insight. (See also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Help)
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Therapy Approach - Creative Possibilities My counselling approach is to help you look at your creative possibilities, open up different avenues and develop specific skills, so you can choose to be more resourceful. Less about techniques, the therapy may therefore be about enhancing ways you may feel, experience, imagine, create, make meaning and appreciate life, love in both its negative and positive aspects.
Counselling Approach - New Perspectives Some people come to psychotherapy for "therapy treatment", "counselling treatment" and this can sometimes be appropriate for a particular, very specific issue (see also Stages Of Therapy, Tasks Of Counselling & Psychotherapy). However, we are not just a problem, or label, that can be easily fixed like a broken car. Some problems can't be resolved, where "counselling treatment", "therapy treatment" may be counterproductive if it ignores what may also lay behind our problem. However tolerating, reducing, managing, accepting, or finding our way through powerful conscious and unconscious feelings, thoughts, etc. may be a challenge. Other problems, which we may no longer need to hold on to (see also Burdens We Hold On To), may be hard to let go of, as if we are attached to them. Psychotherapy can help us to stand back and observe the problem and our selves in it (who we are and how we are), so we are not caught in the problem, but have some perspective. Looking at our problem from a different angle may also assist. New choices may emerge.
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Counselling Approach - Crisis As An Opportunity My role is also to understand you in the context of your problems. We may assume that a crisis is negative, because it is uncomfortable and painful. However, it may also be a sign that needs paying attention to, an opportunity for change or transformation, to learn what we need to learn.
Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against - not with - the wind.Hamilton Mabie
Integrative Counselling Approach - Holistic Counselling A part of us may be out of synchronisation with the rest of us - as if we are out of balance, disconnected in some way (see also In Tune With Us & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness). This can often point to areas we have ignored or are unaware of - even our shadow. We may want to find ways of integrating all aspects of ourself. My integrative approach includes acknowledging all aspects of us - our behaviour, body, feelings, mind, sexuality, spirituality - whatever this means for us. We may exclude specific feelings, emotions (we may for example follow our fear and not our courage) or our mind may focus on redundant beliefs. We may also compartmentalise things, hold all or nothing thinking or struggle to integrate harnessing our so called opposites/polarities e.g. power and love. The holistic counselling approach acknowledges that in some ways everything in life is connected, interdependent. Holistic counselling can be offered to look at all aspects of us. Tools and techniques can be offered and are useful, yet are often insufficient on their own. Understanding ourself is usually not enough (see also Finding Out More About Ourself) - we may also need to be willing to fully experience ourself, be authentic, with all facets of our personality, access, experience and articulate all our emotions, including those previously marginalised and sit with what we are experiencing, tolerate what seems intolerable, be in touch with all of who we are, feeling solid, grounded, honest and real. As we are able to bear any suffering, fresh insight (consciousness) may emerge, freeing us up. My integrative approach includes offering ways to help integrate and experience all aspects of ourself we would rather deny, or wish they didn't exist including life's uncertainties, the unknown, mysteries and considers uncoscious aspects of our personality. Through this integration we may have more of a sense of who we are, our very being, wholeness, which for some may point to a sense of consciousness in and beyond us. The therapy can support you in this integration, taking ownership of ourselves. And because we are complex human beings, all different, I recognise that no one model, approach, is adequate in all situations or specifically works for us. Therefore different, flexible strategies, techniques, approaches are offered and I value the therapeutic relationship as containing, co-operative space in the therapeutic work together. (See also Our Sense Of Coherence & Inner Continuity)
The whole is other than the sum of the parts.Kurt Koffka
Identifying, Disidentifying & Integrating All Aspects Of Us Disidentification is a term used by Roberto Assagioli. We may have fixed our sense of self to aspects of our life which limit us, be overly identified or attached to certain areas of our life, desires, needs, thoughts, beliefs, behaviours, our different identities and roles and some of these may dominate at the exclusion of others and our free will. If we don't notice or take care of ourself, aspects of us may (consciously, unconsciously) take control. Seeing all these aspects of us (including ones overlooked) - one by one, being present to all these parts of us - allowing them can be onerous at first. Turning gently, subtly towards these different parts of us, acknowledging our different identities, personal roles, each judgement, critical voice, pain, thought, belief, feeling, emotion (even so called negative ones), choices, unhelpful behaviour (or self-sabotage), any unwanted habits or addictions, ways we cut off, intellectualise, get anxious, abandon our self (see also Protective Patterns, Over-Defensiveness), with nothing more than a simple acknowledgement that they exist and are there, may enable us to choose different emotions, thoughts, behaviours, etc. and accept, love all these parts of our self, including and supported by all our range of positive qualities, so our love eventually takes over, transforming them, because our love has given them the space just to be as they are. We may want to work on very specific areas in our life to disidentify from them:
- The triggers, hooks in our life
- Stress, fear, anxiety
- Disappointment, expectations
- Our wounds
- Fixed roles of dependence, independence, interdependence, codependence
- A specific relating state
We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. We can dominate and control everything from which we disidentify ourselves.Roberto Assagioli
Therapy Approach - Our Perception I will be interested in how you see things, the theories and models you have about you and the world and reflect what I notice back to you. (See also Our Perceptions, How We See Ourself)
Counselling Approach - Focusing On What's Important I focus not so much on analysis and more on curiosity, exploration and reflection, by providing an external perspective, helping to shed light upon any obstacles, what removes us from the truth. This can help you change and manage the areas you want to change. My approach here can be to offer a mirror, reflecting back how I experience you, what I see you doing and checking if this fits, so you may be able to see more of who you are and focus upon the important areas.
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Therapy Approach - What You Say & Don't Say The limits of language mean we can't fully explain the depth of our experiences. Labelling someone and words alone don't do justice to all of who we are. I will pay attention to what's being said as well as what might be missed out - explicitly and implicitly, our back-story. I may also pay attention to your physical feeIings and reactions as sensations in your body.
Therapy Approach - Imagination & Dreams Alongside listening to what you are literally saying, I will also be interested in what happens in your daydreaming, imagination, dreams, symbols, etc. These experiences can also point to what's happening in your unconscious.
Counselling Approach - Tolerating Not Knowing In a world where we are supposed to be sure about everything and know absolutes - good/bad, black/white, right/wrong, without any contradictions, double-binds or paradox - it is hard work to find the only correct answer. The world is uncertain, unpredictable and also a mystery, and we can't know everything. Psychotherapy can help us manage any frustrations, confusions.
Therapy Approach - Thinking Clearly & Freedom To Decide My approach also includes helping us to think clearly about our life, have the freedom to come to our own conclusions (see also Our Free Will), how to live our life as well as we choose to.
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Counselling Approach - Making Choices Some of us may get overwhelmed by too many choices, others can believe they have no choice. The psychotherapy will include making connections to how we think, feeI and respond (see also Body, Feelings, Mind Connection) and how free our will is. This may involve not allowing our emotions to have power over us, and that we can make different choices through courage. The counselling may also look at any restrictive self-beliefs, alongside our prejudices (which we all have). I offer guidance and support, so fresh ways of seeing ourself, different options, choices and creative solutions may become available.
Counselling Approach - Patterns & Triggers All human beings seek and create, and fall into patterns. Some of these help us and others don't. Many of them are not conscious. We fall into roles, responses, patterns and reactions and unless we become aware of them, and change them, they can last for years. My approach includes examining these patterns and triggers with you.
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Humanistic Approach - Therapist Role, Counsellor Role Although we can't change the world out there or others, we can undertake "inner work" by accessing our own innate resources that reside in us, tuning into ourself, regulating our emotions. I will also aim to discover with you what parts of you may have been overlooked or what you have "turned a blind eye to". My counselling role, the role of therapy is to support you in discovering not only your external sense of yourself - what you do and would like to do, but also your internal sense of who you are - your inner world, e.g. your subjective experience, home truths, hidden dreams, who you are and what you may become, your own meaning and purpose, so your autonomy is in your hands.
Humanistic Approach - In Touch With Ourselves The role of the counsellor may also be to help you to get in touch with your intuitive sense of rightness, simply what you intuit is right at your core, beyond fear and what you are willing to risk. I am therefore interested in your own experience and principles, less so your rationalisations.
Our Ground Sometimes we can lose our ground, or feel on shaky ground (how and where we stand in the world - having our own personal boundaries) and the therapy can help us with re-establishing our firm ground, so we are more centred, anchored in who we are, in our body, in this world.
Therapy Approach - Working With You, Viewing Issues Also As Symptoms With A Back-Story Some of us may be confused, worried, scared or fearful about something. Our personal suffering and love can seem so far apart, yet also connected. Alongside working with the issue we bring, the role of therapy also includes paying attention to what else this might be saying, meaning for us, how this affects us and how we might find our way through. Underlying symptoms can also be viewed as unconscious signposts, carrying multiple meanings pointing towards our future potential as they transform. Therefore, in the psychotherapy process, as we focus on our personal issues, it can be experienced like listening to something inside of us that wants to communicate with us (e.g. our big talk and what really matters), and it can take sometime for this "something" to be discovered and revealed. For example, the problems we experience now, however painful, may also be our challenges, cues, pointing to our unfulfilled needs, the possibility of change in our life. These problems may also carry deeper messages (how they affect us as a whole) calling us to respond to our underlying symptoms and source of our issues. The therapy will therefore not only focus on the content or problem - what we bring, but also the process - our emotional experience, how we got to this point in our life, where we want to be and what stops us. "What might I need to learn here?" may also be a helpful question to reflect upon. From these deeper messages new meanings may emerge, which can also point us towards our purpose, growth. Some of us may also be in touch with existential concerns. Working with our issues also as symptoms, my bi-focal perspective therefore includes the possible causes in our history and social circumstances (for details see Impact Of Our Past), but also wonders what else might be unfolding for us - our Self, as consciousness, our life evolves.
Psychotherapy Approach - Our Potential I see the therapy process as a success when not only what we are going through is resolved or accepted, as if part of our outer journey, but when we are able to shape our destiny and utilise our full potential - exploring our inner journey in relationship with others and the wider world, expanding our awareness, choices, enjoyment and satisfaction.