What are the reasons someone might seek out individual counselling?
There are many reasons that someone might decide to go for counselling. Counselling is not just for when life seems unbearable. It can also be helpful for decision-making, setting life priorities or developing new behaviours. Whether you are looking for support due to life’s challenges or because you want to move in a different direction, I have therapy methods that can help. Here are some reasons people come in for counselling:
- Emotional pain or distress · Difficulty dealing with emotions
- Behaviours are interfering with daily functioning
- Feeling stuck or lacking direction
- Worrying excessively
- Past experiences are affecting today
- Others suggested counselling was needed
- To talk through a problem
- Anger is interfering with relationships
- Physical pain/ health diagnoses has caused emotional problems
What counselling methods are used?
I see many individuals for anxiety, sexual abuse/ assault, family of origin issues, trauma and loss. I am dedicated to using evidence-based therapeutic methods that have been shown to be effective for the identified problem. I primarily use mindfulness and values-based cognitive and behavioural interventions found in psychotherapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), since there is mounting evidence that ACT supports longer term improvement for people facing a variety of difficulties. I also use a brief trauma method called Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) for many of the concerns that people who see me may be experiencing, such as relationship challenges, losses and traumatic events. However, I can be eclectic in choosing strategies from many other psychological methods as the particular situation requires.
Child & Adolescent Counselling
How can play therapy help?
I am a specialist in play therapy who offers support to children, teens, parents and other caregivers. I am trained to use expressive and creative methods, in addition to some talk therapies, to help young people overcome emotional and behavioural difficulties. I also offer specific skills that help parents and caregivers develop long lasting bonds with their children and teens. The therapeutic choices I can provide make counselling more relevant and interesting for kids and ensures that the methods chosen are developmentally appropriate. Many therapies that are designed for adults feel threatening or frustrating for children and teens preventing them from exploring at their own level and pace. Play and art tools, such as drawing, painting, stories, sand and music, are the natural methods for children to learn, communicate and makes sense of their world. These strategies help young people of all ages to explore thoughts and feelings and find solutions to their struggles. Additionally, the empowerment that comes from these therapeutic methods increases their self-confidence, preparing them to creatively handle situations they may face. Studies are showing more and more the benefit of creative therapy modes even for many adult issues.
What does a Play Therapist do?
Play Therapists complete extensive training in child development, attachment (bonding), and using play interventions as a method for understanding and exploring the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of children.
The first session will consist of meeting with parents or caregivers to carefully collect information about the child’s and family’s history and challenges. The goals and plans for therapy will also be established in the first few sessions once the Play Therapist has completed the assessment process. Usually the second session includes the child. Depending on problem, the parent or caregiver may or may not be included in play therapy room sessions.
Garry Landreth (2002) describes play therapy as a structured approach that builds on the normal communication and learning abilities of children. In play therapy, toys are like words and play is like language for children. The relationship that develops between the Play Therapist and the child can offer a corrective emotional experience needed for healing (Moustakas, 1997).
Family & Parent Counselling
With a balance of compassion and straightforwardness, people seeking relational counselling as a family can feel confident and comfortable to discuss concerns openly within the safe environment that I can create in sessions. I am trained to use advanced Gottman Couples Method strategies as well as attachment techniques such as Attachment-Focused Family Therapy to foster healthy and meaningful relationships. The therapeutic methods I use support improved connection with others while also increasing personal and interpersonal insight that promotes understanding and compassion for others and ourselves. Family counselling can be beneficial for separation or divorce issues, blended families or general communication challenges within a more traditional family unit.
Parenting can be difficult for many reasons – some of these can be related to your child’s behaviour and some of these can be related to your parenting response patterns. Attachment and bonding can be interrupted and damaged by difficulties with the relationship, leaving parents feeling frustrated and hurt by the distance between them and their child. Neuroscientific (brain) research is offering us greater insights into these patterns and how applying specific strategies that promote reconnection can solve them. As an attachment-oriented therapist, who has worked with many parents over the years, I have collected many parenting tools, strategies and techniques for a variety of difficulties parents may be experiencing. Frequently parents suggest to me that simply by focusing on reconnecting with their child has resulted in significant behaviour improvements at home.