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My Counselling Style

I mainly work with adults and late adolescents in both English and Afrikaans and I adjust my approach to most effectively deal with the presenting problem. Although I am trained to use a variety of therapeutic styles and techniques, there are 3 primary approaches I like to use – mostly because of the effectivity of these approaches:

Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally focused therapy is a relatively short-term, systematic intervention. It can be effective even if you have not been helped by previous therapy. EFT is effective with couples, individuals and families.

EFT for couples goes beyond creating relationship satisfaction. Its capacity to create secure attachment bonds is also changing partners' responses to threat and is changing attachment orientations from insecure to secure. The benefits of secure attachment include the capacity to retain emotional balance during times of stress and threat, and to seek and receive care an support in ways that constantly renew attachment bonds.

I was trained in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) by ICEEFT (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy) and continue with ongoing training and supervision by this institution. My work includes couples in a same-sex relationship.

EFT is one of the most researched, delineated and empirically validated approaches in the field of couple therapy. The significant role of emotional communication in the development of relationship distress is acknowledged in this approach. Rather than a focus on resolving content issues, EFT structures small steps to create safe emotional engagement so that partners can move from relational distress to a more secure bond between them.

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

I was trained in CBT at the Centre for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in association with the Albert Ellis Institute in New York. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an evidence-based, scientifically driven approach toward the treatment of emotional and behavioural problems. CBT is very practical and has been shown to be highly effective in treating a variety of problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders (panic, phobias, OCD, PTSD, GAD)
  • Dysfunctional anger and aggression
  • Shame, shyness and assertiveness problems
  • Substance abuse

CBT can help you to change how you think ('Cognitive') and what you do ('Behaviour'). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the 'here and now' problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.

Narrative Therapy

In my training to use narrative therapy as a technique, I found that it was possible to discover new ways of living without the problem being the driving force in a person’s life. When I have a narrative conversation with people, we discover together how the person’s strengths, abilities, values and commitments may have taken a backseat to the problem and how beliefs and ideas that the person may have, could be supporting the problem. My approach is one of non-blaming acceptance of the person because I view the problem as separate from the person. To me, the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.

Narrative therapy assumes that the counsellor needs the necessary counselling skills, BUT it also assumes that you the client are the EXPERT in your life! Narrative therapy therefore places your experience in a central position of importance and empowers you to work with your own experiences in a healing way.

Narrative therapy is an approach that uses the stories we tell about our lives as the key to the healing or growth process. In the face of serious problems, the idea of hearing or telling stories may seem a trivial pursuit. It is hard to believe that conversations can shape new realities. But they do. And they help to shape events into narratives/stories of hope.

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WHAT ABOUT RELIGION?

Most people consider their religious beliefs or their spirituality as a very important part of their lives. I have had a broad exposure to various religious viewpoints and I welcome the inclusion of a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs in our conversations, if and when the person chooses to do so. Therapy is ideal for helping people deal with all their relationships, including their relationship with God, in whatever way God is perceived.