Therapies Offered

 The jargon of psychotherapy can appear confusing, so what are the differences

between the various therapies and which might suit you best? 

 

 

  

Cognitive Analytic Therapy

CAT involves a therapist and person looking at what has hindered changes in the past, in order to understand better how to move forward. Questions like, "Why do I always end up feeling like this?", and "Why does this always happen to me?" become more answerable. CAT helps with a range of disorders and difficulties - such as depression, anxiety, personal and relationship problems, it is particularly good at dealing with difficulties where other people are implicated or involved; it also works well when the issue is longstanding.
 
CAT focuses its attention on discovering how problems have evolved and how the means devised to cope with them may be ineffective. It is designed to enable people to gain an understanding of how the difficulties they experience may be made worse by inappropriate coping strategies. Problems are understood in the light of people's personal histories and life experiences; then, mobilising the person's own strengths and resources, plans are developed to bring about change.
 
The work is active and shared. Diagrams and written outlines are worked through together to help recognise, challenge and revise old patterns. Agreed insights are noted in documents, which become tools for use within, outside and beyond the duration of therapy. CAT is an evidence based therapy with a proven record of effectiveness, many independent studies have demonstrated its value.

To find out more about CAT peruse the official ACAT website at: www.acat.me.uk/

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Client and Therapist work together to identify and understand problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour. CBT focuses on the here and now, and relies on the therapist and person developing a shared view of the individual's problem. This leads to identification of personalised, therapy goals and strategies which are continually monitored and evaluated. This approach is inherently empowering in nature, the outcome being to focus on specific psychological and practical skills (e.g. in reflecting on and exploring the meaning attributed to events and situations and re-evaluation of those meanings) aimed at enabling the person to tackle their problems by harnessing their own resources. The acquisition and utilisation of such skills is seen as the main goal, and the active component in promoting change with an emphasis on putting what has been learned into practice between sessions, i.e. "homework". Thus the overall aim is for the individual to attribute improvement in their problems to their own efforts, in collaboration with the psychotherapist.


The cognitive component in the cognitive-behavioural psychotherapies refers to how people think about and create meaning about situations, symptoms and events in their lives and develop beliefs about themselves, others and the world. Cognitive therapy uses techniques to help people become more aware of how they reason, and the kinds of automatic thought that spring to mind and give meaning to things. Cognitive interventions use a style of questioning to probe for peoples' meanings and use this to stimulate alternative viewpoints or ideas. This is called 'guided discovery', and involves exploring and reflecting on the style of reasoning and thinking, and possibilities to think differently and more helpfully. On the basis of these alternatives people carry out behavioural experiments to test out the accuracy of these alternatives, and thus adopt new ways of perceiving and acting. Overall the intention is to move away from more extreme and unhelpful ways of seeing things to more helpful and balanced conclusions.


The behavioural component in the cognitive-behavioural psychotherapies refers to the way in which people respond when distressed. Responses such as avoidance, reduced activity and unhelpful behaviours can act to keep the problems going or worsen how the person feels. CBT practice aims to help the person feel safe enough to gradually test out their assumptions and fears and change their behaviours; for example this might include helping people to gradually face feared or avoided situations as a means to reducing anxiety and learning new behavioural skills to tackle problems.


To find out more about CBT it is a good idea to peruse the official BABCT website at:
www.babcp.org.uk/

NLP and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy

 

I studied Ericksonian Hypnosis and Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) at St Anne's Hospital London with British Hypnosis Research and was certificated in 1993. NLP originated during the 1970s out of an academic enquiry into how people excel in various fields. The result was the distillation of certain principles and subtle communications structures that can be taught, learned, and applied in many area of life.

Over the past 30 years NLP has undergone considerable refinement. Many of its techniques and principles have passed into common usage under other names. NLP began with the meeting of John Grinder, a professor of linguistics and Richard Bandler, a student of mathematics. Grinder reputedly said, "if you show me what you are doing, I will explain to you how you are doing it." They collaborated on the idea of making explicit the verbal and behavioural patterns that create excellence in human life. They went on to study Milton Erickson who was the founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and perhaps the greatest influence on medical hypnosis of the 20th century. Often Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP are studied and used together.

I use Hypnosis and NLP together with CAT and CBT. NLP and Hypnosis can be useful when an individual becomes stuck with words, NLP can assist to work directly upon the emotions and also is useful with imagery as an adjunct to 'talking therapy'. Both approaches are sometimes useful for working with specific symptomatic difficulties.

Which Therapy?

A particular approach can be used if requested or required by an individual. For many it is useful to combine methods for the best predicted outcome. I also feel it is useful to remember not to get too caught up in 'technique' or 'model' but to realise that counselling and psychotherapy are essentially human endeavours of exploration and joint understanding - and a search for new meaning and transformation.

Further information concerning the various approaches to psychotherapeutic models can be found at: www.ukcp.org.uk