I like this video for introducing the idea of therapy as I see and understand it, for exploring how therapy can be appropriate for so many of us, as well as for discussing the value it can add to our lives. I see my role as aligned with the understanding that “psychologists help people of all ages live happier, healthier, and more productive lives" (American Psychological Association) and see therapy as involving "the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self-knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth, and the optimal development of personal resources" (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association).
"I believe that a different therapy must be constructed for each patient because each has a unique story."
Irvin D. Yalom
What Informs my Work
In narrative therapy, a therapist listens to the stories a client tells. These stories are seen as ways of constructing meaning. This process helps to differentiate the client from the problems that they are experiencing. Narrative therapy embraces the understanding that the stories we tell ourselves shape our behaviours, that we can become the stories we tell ourselves, and that we have a great power in being able to tell ourselves new and different stories. Narrative therapy honours and empowers clients as having authority over their own narratives, rather than treating a therapist as an expert.
Existential psychologists believe that we have no inherent, internal nature, that the world lacks intrinsic meaning, and that we are all faced with the task of coping with this meaninglessness. An existential lens relates to embracing those themes of death, choice, freedom, and isolation, recognising that these forces are altogether human and shared by all of us. Existential psychotherapy works from the understanding that we all have to find ways to navigate the world with the knowledge that these forces exist.
Attachment-based therapy focuses on building a strong trusting and supportive patient-therapist relationship that helps in rebuilding trust for emotional experience. This approach appreciates the role of experiences of attachment in our lives, especially early experiences with our primary caregivers, and how these impact our ability to form relationships and experience intimacy.
I draw on a number of other therapeutic modalities in my practice, but recognise that my intimate knowledge and familiarity with these models is more limited. For example, Acceptance-Committment (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural (DBT), Feminist, Jungian, Psychodynamic, Psychoanalytic, Solution-Focused (SFT/SFBT), and Person-Centered/Rogerian ways of thinking all inform the integrative approach I bring to therapy. I also aim to bring a trauma-informed lens to my practice.
"It is the relationship that heals"