COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY
WHAT IS COUNSELLING? WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?
COUNSELLING is a service for people who are experiencing either specific problems in their lives, or who feel stuck, at a crossroads ( Click here) or general unhappiness, and who want help in looking for the way forward. Many factors in today's world can knock us off balance. Life events such as loss or change, illness or difficulties with relationships can affect us deeply, and at times it's really helpful to have someone to go to outside of our immediate family who is skilled in actively listening and helping us resolve and restore our sense of self-confidence and equilibrium. This is when counselling can help. It is a confidential service and the counsellor should be someone you feel you can trust to support you in expressing your feelings and doing what is 'right' for you.
My counsellor training was as a Relate Counsellor which means that I not only have counselling skills with working one to one, but that I also have extra skills in helping couples/families with the challenging dynamics of relationships.
PSYCHOTHERAPY is very similar to COUNSELLING, in fact Counselling and Psychotherapy are often considered to be interchangeable therapies that overlap in a number of ways. However, the key difference lies in the recommended time required to see benefits. Counselling usually refers to a relatively brief treatment that centres around behaviour patterns, whereas Psychotherapy tends to focus on working with clients longer term and draws from insight into emotional problems and underlying themes. Both approaches provide people with a way of dealing with change psychologically.
WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE ARTS PSYCHOTHERAPY??
INTEGRATIVE ARTS PSYCHOTHERAPY is a unique approach because it combines all the skills of psychotherapy with the added potential of not just one form of art but a whole range of art media that offers the client more than just a verbal form of communication which can often be rather lifeless and end up going round in circles! The arts provide the chance for you to explore your inner world in concrete, symbolic and non-verbal modes of communication in order to promote deeper awareness, insight and motivation for change. Once you have got something out on paper for instance you can literally get more of a handle on it! Try an example of this on my DIY page activity 1. ( Click here)
'Integrative' also refers to the theory behind the practice. A variety of major theoretical concepts act both as reference points and as inspiration for creative ways of responding to your individual needs. The main theoretical sources I look to are Gestalt, Transactional Analysis, Psychoanalytical theory, Attachment theory, and up-to-date research findings in the field of Neurobiology. All of which adds up to a predominantly Humanistic approach, the emphasis being on facilitating each individual in finding their own potential for healing and choosing their way forward.
WHY A MULTI ARTS APPROACH???
We experience the world through all our senses, not just one so why limit therapy to one art form when there are many, each of which provide a different language for human experience and can contribute significantly to the creative growth of an individual. Besides which you may hate the idea of getting your hands 'dirty' with clay but really be attracted to getting in touch with your inner world in the sandtray. All imagery is a potent conveyor of meaning. With permission from one of my adult clients here is a picture of her therapeutic use of the sandtray named 'The Journey' which was very powerful and turned out to be positively transformational for her. Before she did this sandtray scene she had felt very stuck in life but as a result of being facilitated by me to find her own meaning from what she had created - the bears which she had chosen showed her a way forward!
People are often put off by the idea of 'doing art' within a therapeutic context because they believe they are no good at it. However being good at it is definitely NOT a requirement for this way of working, indeed it is central to the belief system of Arts Psychotherapy that everyone can be creative given a non judgemental approach and encouragement to express themselves through the arts. Younger clients tend to take to it like ducks to water because it comes naturally to them to communicate their stories through creative play. There is the added benefit when working with concrete representational forms that you can also get in touch with a sense of mastery over your world.