“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up
and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come”
Anne Lamott, Public Speaker & Novelist
My model is designed to help you identify the areas in your life which are out of balance and to help you re-align so as to re-address the imbalance for a successful life. However, in many cases, there may be a deep rooted problem or a medical diagnosis which prevents you from moving on. As a self-help model, this is where it becomes limited and you need to seek professional help. Whilst we have made leeps and bounds with physical health, there is still room to help remove the sigma attached to emotional and mental ill health. I myself have come a long way from hiding under the duvet in between picking the children up from school, wishing the day would end, yet fearing the night and the terror and worries that bought. But there is hope. And there are lots of people who want to and can help.
The following is a guide to help you find the help you need. First and foremost, discuss any problems that you have with your GP. They are there to help. But also take it upon yourself to seek professional counsellors. I recommend that you look at the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) website www.BACP.co.uk for more details. The information I am giving here is directly from their website.
WHAT IS COUNSELLING?
Counselling therapy provides a safe and confidential space for you to talk to a trained professional about your issues and concerns. Your therapist will help you explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviours so you can develop a better understanding of yourself and of others. A counsellor will not give you their opinions or advice or prescribe medication. They will help you find your own solutions, whether that is making effective changes in your life or finding ways of coping with your problems.
Counselling can take different forms depending on your needs and what type of therapy may be suitable. Most therapy takes place in planned, regular sessions which last for around 50 minutes. How often you see your therapist and how many appointments you have will depend on your individual circumstances, and will be agreed between you and your therapist. During a session, your therapist may take you through specific exercises designed to help with your problem, or you might have more general discussions about how you’re feeling. What you talk about will vary depend on what you want help with and the therapist’s approach. It could include: your relationships, your childhood, your feelings, emotions or thoughts, your behaviour, past and present life events, or situations you find difficult.
Your therapist will be impartial but understanding. They will listen to you without judgment and help you explore your thoughts and emotions. They may offer information, but they won’t tell you what you should think or do.
WHICH THERAPY IS BEST FOR ME?
Having researched and studied the different types of therapy, I have pulled out the main ones which I suggest are the most effective and grouped them based I what I believe would help you dependent on your greatest area of need.
PHYSICAL BODY IMBALANCE
Adlerian therapy is an approach developed by Alfred Adler, who worked with Sigmund Freud. It is also known as individual psychology. Adlerian counsellors believe our experiences in early life, particularly within our families, affect the way we see the world and react to events. Even if we are not aware of them, the logic and goals we develop as children still govern our behaviour when we are adults. Your counsellor will help you to understand why you behave in the way you do so you can find ways to act more effectively.
COGNITIVE ANALYTIC THERAPY (CAT)
CAT looks at your past experiences and relationships to understand why you think, feel and act as you do. It relies on forming a trusting relationship with your therapist, who will help you make sense of your situation and find new, healthier ways to cope with your problems. CAT is a time-limited therapy, typically lasting around 16 weeks.
Primal Therapy is based on the theory that distress which has occurred at birth or during infancy can resurface as a phobia, obsession or other issue. The therapist takes you back to the ‘primal scene’ where the trauma can be re-experienced as an emotional cleansing. Therapists using this approach will usually have had core training in another therapy.
These are therapies which aim to change the transactional pattern of members of a system. Systemic therapy focuses on the interactions and relationships between the group to help them address any problems and to move on. It gives all the members of the group the chance to explore their feelings and say what they think in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Therapy seeks to identify deeply entrenched patterns within an individual’s relationships and also with group members. The process helps to uncover the ways in which members communicate and behave within a system, based on beliefs about their respective roles.
Transactional analysis is a comprehensive approach which incorporates aspects of humanistic, cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic therapy. It categorises the human personality into three states – Parent, Adult and Child – which can help you understand how you interact with others. Therapists also look at how your beliefs and the way you interpret the world around you can create recurrent and problematic patterns of behaviour, and will work with you to help you to change.
SOCIAL DRIVE (BEHAVIOUR) IMBALANCE
Also called Jungian Therapy, this is a psychoanalytic approach developed by Carl Jung. It aims to bring the conscious and unconscious into balance to help individuals become more balanced and whole. It looks at both the personal unconscious and the collective human unconscious, and can involve dream analysis, word associations and creative activities. It can be of benefit for a wide range of personal, emotional and behavioural issues. It can give you a better understanding of yourself and help you develop the skills and behaviours to manage your difficulties more effectively.
Behavioural therapies are based on the belief that your unwanted or unhealthy behaviours are a learned response to your past experiences. They focus on current problems and aim to help you learn new, more positive behaviours without having to analyse the past. Behavioural therapy often works well for compulsive and obsessive behaviours, fears, phobias and addictions.
COGNATIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
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.
The name Gestalt is derived from the German for ‘whole’ or ‘pattern’. It looks at the individual as a whole, and within their surroundings, rather than breaking things into parts. Practitioners help you to focus on the here and now and your immediate thoughts, feelings and behaviour to better understand how you relate to others and to situations. This can help you find a new, positive perspective on problems and bring about changes in your life. Gestalt therapy often includes acting out scenarios and dream recall, and is effective in treating issues such as anxiety, stress, addiction, tension and depression.
Person or client-centred 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 and congruence to help you come to terms with any negative feelings and to change and develop in your own way.
EMOTIONAL COMMUNICATION IMBALANCE
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which uses the creative process of making art to explore and communicate issues, feelings and emotions which may be too difficult or distressing to express in words. It can also be used to relieve stress, improve your mental well-being and increase self-awareness or cope. Visual art therapy can include drawing, painting, photography and modelling and is used with individuals and groups of all ages. Arts therapists are psychological therapists who have arts-based experience and training in psychological interventions using drama, music or art to help clients communicate feelings and emotions. They are regulated under the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Creative therapy includes a wide range of techniques which can help you find a way of expressing yourself beyond words or traditional talking therapies. It can include visual arts therapy, writing, sand play, dance movement therapy, drama therapy and music therapy. Therapists may use different approaches at different times to suit the needs of the client. Creative therapists are psychological therapists who have arts-based experience and training in psychological interventions using drama, music or art to help clients communicate feelings and emotions. They are regulated under the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY
Emotionally focused therapy is an approach for working with couples, families and individuals that helps to create and reinforce secure, resilient relationships. Therapists will help you understand your own and others’ emotions, address any insecurities and conflicts, and learn to interact in a more responsive and emotionally-connected way.
INTERPERSONAL THERAPY (IPT)
Interpersonal therapy 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.
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.
MINDFUL CLARITY IMBALANCE
EMDR – EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION AND REPROCESSING
EMDR was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and traumatic life experiences. It is particularly used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. EMDR is thought to imitate the psychological state that we enter when in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Studies show that when in REM sleep we are able to make new associations between things very rapidly. EMDR is designed to tap into this high-speed processing mode that we all have, helping the brain to process the unresolved memories and make them less distressing.
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.
NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP)
NLP combines cognitive behavioural and humanistic therapies with hypnotherapy. It works on the theory that life experiences, from birth onwards, programme the way you see the world. Practitioners help you to discover how you have learnt to think or feel so that you can take control of your actions. They will also look at your successes, so you can use these to develop further successful skills and behaviours. NLP is generally used as an additional way of working with other types of therapy rather than on its own.
This is based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who believed that psychological problems are rooted in the unconscious mind. Experiences from a person’s past can influence thoughts, emotions and behaviour in later life. The analyst will encourage you to talk about your experiences and use techniques such as free association or dream analysis to identify repressed feelings or conflicts that are affecting you now. Bringing these to the front of your mind allows any negative feelings to be dealt with. This can be a lengthy and intensive process and is often used by clients suffering high levels of distress.
Sometimes described as ‘psychology of the soul’, this approach seeks to bring together your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual attributes to encourage personal development. Psychosynthesis is useful for people seeking a new, more spiritually oriented vision of themselves to enable change and growth.
AND FINALLY, CUTTING EDGE
Sensorimotor-Focused EMDR combines two hugely influential and effective therapies, EMDR therapy and sensorimotor psychotherapy, to provide a new approach. Psychotherapists view that in trauma the primary store of neurological information is somatic rather than cognitive. Sensorimotor-Focused EMDR takes a body-based and bottom-up approach that seeks to resolve trauma by reprocessing information at multiple levels – in the gut-brain, the heart-brain and the head-brain, as well as in the endocrine, immune and nervous systems. This has been developed by Dr Art O’Malley, and I have had the great pleasure of working with him to overcome my trauma. As a result, my life, holistically, is infinitely much better, balanced and happier. Visit Dr Art O’Malley’s website www.artomalley.com for more details and to undertake therapy with him. You can purchase his books for more information: Sensorimotor-Focused EMDR: A New Paradigm for Psychotherapy and Peak Performance and The Art of BART