My approach is from a client centered perspective. That is, I believe the client is the best expert of themselves. As a therapist, my goal is to treat the client with the utmost respect and regard. And by listening to and understanding things from the client’s point of view, the client is given the opportunity to be heard. Through conversation, the client has the chance to unravel and sort out their stuff. They can discover new things and take courageous steps while having support and guidance throughout the process. My belief is that people tend to move toward growth and healing and have the power to find their own answers. The ultimate goal is for the client to build a strong foundation from which they can go forward. My role as a therapist is that of observer and guide, not expert and judge.
Although a client-centered framework grounds my counselling foundation, in general I take an integrative approach. Different theoretical approaches to treatment are determined by the specific needs of each individual client and I incorporate ideas and techniques from a range of theoretical models.
As a trauma informed counsellor, it is important to understand the impact of life on how a person lives, thinks and acts. This is not to suggest that a person may be experiencing PTSD. However it is a greater awareness of how moments in our lives can and do impact us and how we can change the journey from victim to survivor.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on the cognitive and behavioural aspects of our everyday functioning. Our thoughts for instance, can have a huge influence on our feelings which in turn affect our behaviours. Although we interact with other people, situations and events, it is rather our thoughts attributed to those people and events that influence how we behave and what we believe. In counselling we examine the faulty attributions and unhelpful thoughts and focus on challenging then restructuring and reframining them.
For someone struggling with addictions, we focus on the behaviours that result from the need to use or from triggers in the environment. Through that the individual develops new behaviours that change the cycle of addiction. The end result is a change in one's thinking and behaviour developing more healthy responses to difficult situations.
CBT is a brief and structured therapy based on an educational model. It focuses on the here and now with homework being a part of the process.
Existentialism sees each individual as unique. Moreover each encounter is unique to that person. Existentialism considers that humans exist first and then that individual spends their life changing their nature or the essence of who they are.
In simplier terms it is about finding oneself and the meaning of one's life through free will, choice and personal responsibility. People are searching to find out who and what they are as they move through life making choices based on their beliefs, perspectives and experiences.
In counselling, problems are not seen as something that needs to be overcome. Rather, problems are seen as something that is holding one back from becoming what they were meant to be. It is using life to create one's unique existence.
Underlying concepts of existentialism include human free will, the realization that decisions are not without stress and consequences and the human essence is created through life choices.
Observed Experiential Integration is a neurologically based series of trauma integrative techniques to reduce and resolve the impact of trauma. OEI can be used on its own or in conjunction with other techniques and treatment modalities.
Three basic techniques are used in OEI:
The ultimate goal of OEI is to integrate thoughts, feelings, sensations or traumatic memory bringing a strong connectedness between the two hemispheres of the brain.
OEI has found to be very effective in treating such disorders as PTSD, Dissociative Disorders, Addictions, and Panic Attacks.