My practice is based primarily on the work of Carl Rogers who developed person-centred counselling. I also incorporate into my work, when appropriate, elements of gestalt therapy, transactional analysis (TA) and art therapy.
An important aspect of person-centred counselling is the concept of the actualising tendency – the ability of each one of us to ‘grow towards the light’, and to develop and reach our true potential. However, whether we can access this ability depends to a large extent on how life has treated us, particularly those things that happened in childhood which have affected our sense of self worth.
My role as a counsellor is to have an open and genuine attitude, to try to understand your experiences from your point of view, and to value you and accept you as the unique person that you are. This, in turn, will help you to accept yourself and to reconnect with your own values and sense of self-worth so you can start to deal with your problems and move on.
Gestalt therapy focuses on the ‘here and now’, concentrating on an enhanced self awareness of your whole experience of life including thoughts, feelings and actions. There are some Gestalt ways of working which I will offer in certain circumstances, for example when investigating dreams.
TA is a theory that is related to communication and child development, explaining the connections to our past and how these influence the decisions we make. TA looks at how we communicate with each other and offers ways of recognising unconscious patterns that may be holding us back.
Sometimes when pain is very deep, words may be difficult to find. In such a case, you may find it easier to do a drawing – or even just a scribble – to show how you are feeling. I also use other forms of creative therapy which enable you to express yourself without having to use words. Unlike some forms of art therapy, I don’t put my interpretation on the end result – but, rather, help you to put your own meaning on what you have created. Working in this way can resolve blocks and bring you more insight into your problems.
I may suggest using the sandtray in therapy – this works along the same principle as drawing, but you create your picture in 3D, using miniature models in a tray of sand.
From time to time I use visualisations – either to investigate a particular problem by using symbols, or to help you to relax.