What can I expect from Therapy?

Sometimes we need to find a way out of behaviours and thinking patterns that leave us stuck, unable to manage areas of our lives and equally unable to  find a way forward. 

 Therapy gives people the time and space to acknowledge this and find ways of changing their own relationship with themselves and others, and I have a passion for helping people achieve their full potential.

I am a therapist who will converse with you, rather than only repeating back to you what you have said. I believe the relationship in the room is important, you know your ‘inside story’ and you choose what you share with me. I use an integrated approach using different approaches, including psycho education, CBT, Family systems. I also feel humour and laughter is important in the therapeutic relationship.

Looking for a counselor may feel overwhelming ; especially for someone already dealing with troubling symptoms, trauma, or loss. Different  counselling approaches, styles, and specialties are undoubtedly confusing.

What’s right for me? Can you help me? 

Below are some of the counselling approaches that I use, and how they might help with specific challanges  (i.e., trauma, depression, and anxiety) and different people at different stages in thier lives  (i.e. couples and students, older people). I hope these outlines of how the different approaches might be used will help you to feel more informed and prepared to find the right type of counselling approach to contribute to a more balanced, peaceful, and contented life.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

In psychodynamic therapy, therapists help people gain insight into their lives and present-day problems. They also evaluate patterns people develop over time. To do this, therapists review certain life factors with a person in therapy:

  • Emotions
  • Thoughts
  • Early-life experiences
  • Beliefs

The psychodynamic approach is derived from psychoanalysis, but focuses on immediate problems to try to provide a quicker solution. It stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. A therapist will aim to build an accepting and trusting relationship, encouraging you to talk about your childhood relationships with your parents and other significant people. It also uses similar techniques to psychotherapy, including free association, interpretation and especially transference, where feelings you experienced in previous significant relationships are projected onto the therapist.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy involves more than sitting and talking about what comes to mind. This structured approach keeps the therapist and the person in treatment focused on the goals of each session. This ensures the time spent in therapy is productive. The person in therapy benefits from a collaborative relationship. They can reveal personal issues without fear of judgment. The therapist helps them understand the issues at hand. However, they do not tell the person in therapy which choices to make. 

CBT techniques incorporate many different therapeutic tools. These tools help people in therapy evaluate their emotional patterns and states. CBT therapists may employ common techniques such as:

  • Journaling
  • Challenging beliefs
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation
  • Social, physical, and thinking exercises. These may help someone become aware of their emotional and behavioural patterns. 

CBT aims to help you change the way you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour). Rather than looking at past causes, it focuses on current problems and practical solutions to help you feel better now. The way we think about situations affects the way we feel and behave. If we view a situation negatively, we may experience negative emotions and feelings which lead us to behave in an unhelpful way. Your therapist will help you identify and challenge any negative thinking so you can deal with situations better and behave in a more positive way.CBT can be helpful for depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and managing long term conditions.

Family System Therapy

This type of therapy looks at a family system

  • The relationships between people
  • Rather than the individuals.
  • It allows family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, helping them understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs and build on their strengths.
  • It can help with many issues that affect the family unit, helping people make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.

Family systems therapy has been used to treat many mental and behavioural health concerns. In general, it may be considered an effective approach for those concerns that appear to relate to or manifest within the family of origin. Family systems therapy has been shown to be effective with families, couples, and individuals.

This approach may be helpful in addressing conditions such as schizophrenia, alcohol and substance dependency, bipolar, anxiety, personality issues, depression, and eating and food issues. 

Family systems therapy draws on systems thinking in its view of the family as an emotional unit. When systems thinking—which evaluates the parts of a system in relation to the whole—is applied to families, it suggests behaviour is both often informed by and inseparable from the functioning of one’s family of origin.

Families experiencing conflict within the unit and seeking professional assistance to address it may find family systems therapy a helpful approach. 


A genogram, or pictorial representation of a family’s medical history and interpersonal relationships, can be used to highlight psychological factors, hereditary traits, and other significant issues or past events that may impact psychological well-being.  

Bowen used genograms for both assessment and treatment. First, he would interview each member of the family in order to create a detailed family history going back at least three generations. Bowen then used this information to help highlight important information as well as any behavioural or mental health concerns repeating across generations. He initially believed it took three generations for symptoms of schizophrenia to manifest within the family, though he later revised this estimate to ten generations.

Client-Centred (Rogerian)Therapy

Client-centred or person therapy is based on the view that everyone has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change, given the right conditions.

  • Rather than being seen as the expert and directing the therapy,
  • the counsellor offers unconditional positive regard
  • empathy
  • Congruence to help you come to terms with any negative feelings and to change and develop in your own way.

Person-centered therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s. This type of therapy diverged from the traditional model of the therapist as expert and moved instead toward a nondirective, empathic approach that empowers and motivates the client in the therapeutic process. The therapy is based on Rogers’s belief that every human being strives for and has the capacity to fulfil his or her own potential. Person-cantered therapy, also known as Rogerian therapy, has had a tremendous impact on the field of psychotherapy and many other disciplines.

Existential Therapy

Existential psychotherapy is based upon the fundamental belief that all people experience intrapsychic conflict due to their interaction with certain conditions inherent in human existence, which are known as givens. The theories recognize at least four primary existential givens:

  • Freedom and associated responsibility
  • Death
  • Isolation
  • Meaninglessness

Existential psychotherapy explores the inner conflict and anxiety people may experience when confronted with life’s ultimate concerns, such as the inevitability of death, freedom and its responsibilities, isolation and meaninglessness.

Existentialists believe that life has no essential (given) meaning and that you have to make your own sense of the world. Counsellors can help you confront your anxieties and negative thoughts, enabling you to make decisions about how to live life and deal with life problems in your own way.

Interpersonal Therapy

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a structured time-limited approach focused on relationships.
  • It can be useful for clients with depression and mood disorders, particularly around bereavement, conflict and life changes.
  • The IPT therapist will help you identify any patterns or problems in your relationships with other people so you can work out strategies for coping with these.

Interpersonal psychotherapy was initially developed as a brief therapy for depression. Because people with depressive symptoms often experience problems in their interpersonal relationships, IPT is a common treatment option for people experiencing depression. Although the depression itself is not always a direct result of negative relationships, relationship issues tend to be among the most prevalent symptoms during the initial stages of depression. Once addressed, strengthened relationships can serve as an important support network throughout the ensuing recovery process.

In general, interpersonal therapists provide active, non-judgmental treatment in order to help people in therapy successfully handle challenges and improve mental health. Things that might be addressed over the course of treatment can include roles disputes, interpersonal shortcomings, life stage transitions, relational conflict, grief, and other attachment issues. IPT is well researched as an effective treatment for depression and has been modified to treat several other mental health issues. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Disordered eating
  • Dysthymia
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Bipolar
  • Postpartum depression
  • Social phobia
  • Posttraumatic stress

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy is a progressive form of psychotherapy that embraces an attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy that affirms the inherent value of each individual. It is a unifying psychotherapy that responds appropriately and effectively to the person at the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning, and addresses as well the spiritual dimension of life.

  • It combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the needs of the individual client.
  • With an understanding of normal human development, an integrative therapist modifies standard treatments to fill in development gaps that affect each client in different ways.
  • By combining elements drawn from different schools of psychological theory and research, integrative therapy becomes a more flexible and inclusive approach to treatment than more traditional, singular forms of psychotherapy.

Integrative counselling looks at the whole person, taking into account your mental, physical and emotional needs. Your therapist will use techniques and tools from different modalities to tailor an individual approach for you. An integrative counsellor aims to build a trusting and non-judgmental relationship that helps you develop self-awareness. When you understand the causes of your concerns or triggers for your behaviour, you can confidently set goals and develop new behaviours to improve your satisfaction with life.

Solution-focused Therapy

Solution-focused brief therapy places focus on the clients

  • Present circumstances
  • future circumstances
  • Their goals rather than past experiences.
  • It is goal-oriented therapy, the symptoms or issues bringing a person to therapy are typically not targeted.

The therapist encourages the client to develop a vision of the future and offers support as they determine the skills, resources, and abilities needed to achieve that vision successfully.

This therapy promotes positive change rather than dwelling on past problems. Practitioners will encourage you to focus positively on what you do well, set goals and work out how to achieve them. Just three or four sessions may be beneficial.

This approach of therapy places far more importance on discussing solutions than problems. Of course, you must discuss the problem to find a solution, but beyond understanding what the problem is and deciding how to address it, solution-focused therapy will not dwell on every detail of the problem you are experiencing.

Solution-focused therapy doesn’t require a deep dive into your childhood and the ways in which you’re past has influenced your present. Instead, it will root your sessions firmly in the present while working toward a future in which your current problems have less of an impact on your life. SFT is committed to finding realistic, workable solutions for clients as quickly as possible, and the efficacy of this treatment has influenced its spread around the world and use in multiple contexts.

SFT has been successfully applied in individual, couples, and family therapy. The problems it can address are wide-ranging, from the normal stressors of life to high-impact life events.

Relationship/Couples therapy, Marriage Counselling

  • Relationship therapy encourages the parties in a relationship to recognise repeating patterns of distress and to understand and manage troublesome differences that they are experiencing.
  • The relationship involved may be between members of a family, a couple, or even work colleagues.

Couples therapy is for couples who are in a relationship, married or not. It is often referred to as marriage counselling. The goal of couple’s therapy is to improve the couples’ relationship. This type of therapy can also help couples decide whether or not they should continue staying together. Although the focus of couple’s therapy is on the couple, there are times when the individual psychological issues of one or both parties need to be addressed.

Therapy often includes sessions designed to improve problem solving, build communication skills, and identify life goals and relationship responsibilities. Other common issues include infidelity, financial problems, illness and other life changes, and anger.

Depending on the level of distress in the relationship, therapy can be short term or over a period of several months. While a licensed therapist can counsel couples, marriage and family therapists specialize in relationship issues.

Couple therapy uses an educational approach to teach couples and families skills to better communicate feelings to each other and work together to develop coping strategies. This approach to treatment is designed to help couples, individually or in groups, both learn these practical skills and develop the ability to maintain them once therapy has concluded.

People of all ages who are seeking therapy and wish to address relationship concerns or family concerns may find this approach to be helpful.