Counselling focuses on addressing specific issues that are either causing emotional pain, creating an impasse, or are just preventing life’s pleasures. Counselling tends to be more solution focused and short term, usually lasting 6-12 weeks.
Psychotherapy involves a longer, subtler process of ongoing therapy that can last months or years, and explores a deeper knowledge and understanding of one’s self.
I use a variety of models and I have listed those that are most influential in my work in the summary below.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
This combines cognitive and behavioural techniques, where clients are taught ways to change their thoughts and expectations, alongside relaxation techniques such as mindfulness. This type of approach can be effective with stress-related ailments such as depression, phobias, obsessions and eating disorders. CBT is also the basis of Psyshosexual therapy.
Existentialists believe that life has no essential or ‘given’ meaning and that humans can thrive once meaning has been found or created. Existential counselling encourages a willingness to explore one’s life and the problems within it, and then making sense of it through a personal perspective – with a view to giving it meaning.
This approach focuses on self-development, growth and responsibility. Emphasis is on self-development, exploration of personal responsibility for thoughts, feelings and actions, with a focus on achieving one’s highest potential rather than continuing with dysfunctional behaviour.
This approach focuses on early life and how past experiences can influence current thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Clients are encouraged to explore childhood experiences about parents and significant others, thereby illuminating old repetitive and negative relational patterns and creating an impetus for change.
Systemic approaches manage problems more practically rather than analytically. Stagnant and negative patterns of behaviour are identified and explored within small group settings, such as couples or families. Clients are encouraged to collaboratively create ways of enhancing their relationships
Transpersonal therapy focuses on wholeness and discovering who the client really is beyond the persona they present to the world. Emphasis is placed on transformation. All of life’s experiences are viewed as valuable and an opportunity to rediscover the client’s authentic self and enhance their spirituality, human potential or heightened consciousness.