To give a sense of how I work, I will very briefly describe the way I use the four main counselling models I integrate in my practice:
Person-centred: This approach is based on the belief that we have a natural tendency to develop into happy, fulfilled individuals, but that many of us adapt and contort to suit the conditions we grow up in. This can lead to inner conflict, unhappiness, trying to be someone we are not, denying our own needs and wishes, and mistrusting our own judgement. These, in turn, often underlie problems such as anxiety, stress, depression, lack of confidence and addiction. However, as adults we can re-evaluate our way of being in the present, and develop the confidence to be ourselves and to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. I help people through this re-evaluation, enabling them to develop a stronger sense of who they really are. (Some of my clients find it helpful to talk about and understand how their past has affected them; others prefer to concentrate on what is going on for them now.)
Gestalt: I use this approach to help clients tune into all aspects of themselves, such as how they feel emotionally, their senses, thinking, actions and words. In doing this they can explore how they really feel, and who they really are.
Existential: This is more of a philosophical approach, which helps my clients find the purpose and meaning of their life.
Brief, solution-focused counselling: I also use this style of therapy when clients prefer to focus tightly on a single issue and find a solution in a short number of sessions. This approach is very useful for helping clients devise their own solution, and their own way of making it work.
I believe this combination offers a flexible approach in which my clients can work on an emotional and/or intellectual level, either short, medium or long-term, depending on their needs.
There are many models of counselling; each counsellor develops their own style; and each client has individual therapeutic needs. If you want to find out more about the various counselling approaches, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's website (www.bacp.co.uk) offers advice on "Seeking a therapist", including an "Explanation of theoretical approaches".