About the Counselling Approach
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Love is a choice, an action, not a feeling.
What is EFT all about, and how can it help?
EFT is an approach that was developed in 1980s by Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight. It looks through the lens of attachment theory. Helping us understand about how the science of human bonding is vital in developing healthy couple relationships.
EFT helps couples learn about the root cause of the emotional distress that’s threatening their unique bond. EFT creates space for couples to develop new ways of interacting. And by interacting, we can end unhealthy cycles that have been perpetuating conflict in the relationship.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.” ~ Joseph Campbell
Most people have the natural ability to cope with day to day stress and find a variety of ways to manage their stress. Our human systems are very adaptive and resilient.
However, when we experience traumatic events in our life our systems sometimes become overloaded or overwhelmed. This means they are unable to fully process the event in a way that allows us to move forward or adapt. The traumatic event is coded with all the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that we experience during the disturbing event.
Our systems find ways that “make sense” to deal with the trauma (whether it’s a big Trauma or small trauma). Sometimes the systems way of coping leads to anxiety, depression, nightmares, night terrors, self-harming. There may also be other maladaptive ways of protecting the self from further pain and suffering. This is the systems way of dealing with overwhelming stress and trauma.
Although, it seems unhealthy to some, it actually makes good sense. Research studies have identified that trauma or disturbing events affects the neural processes of our brains. These processes can actually be seen on CT and MRI scans of the brain.
Unfortunately (despite the fact that these maladaptive, new coping methods that our systems have adopted, make sense) Mental health challenges are still seen as a system crash/malfunction.
Rest & Liquid
Personally, I think it’s our systems way of staying alive oh oh oh oh staying alive!!! Sometimes it needs to crash in order to protect us. Instead of recognizing the protective nature of what our nervous systems are doing, often people are labeled with disorders. Often, we turn to pharmocoptherapy to solve the problem.
EMDR is like the secret ingredient. Kind of like when your grandma tells you to “rest and drink lots of liquids” to get over a cold. At first you don’t really believe it, but if you spend the whole day in your pajamas on the couch sipping tea. Then, you find you get better quicker than continuing with your normal routine. Well, EMDR is the “rest and liquid” that helps a person get through traumatic and disturbing experiences.
Natural Healing Capacity
EMDR is form of therapy that taps into the human systems natural capacity to heal and recover. Through the use of bilateral stimulation (eye movements or tapping) the brain is able to access its natural ability to heal and to reprocess the traumatic event. It turns this into information that is adaptive and healing. It is similar to the way the body uses the REM cycle or dream state to process difficult and challenging events that occur during the day. The eye movements stimulate the brains neural processes, allowing it to recode the information in ways that are more helpful and healthy.
EMDR can be used with toddlers to seniors to treat a variety of symptoms.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Recurring nightmares
- Night terrors, trauma
- Low-self worth
- Sexual or physical assaults
- Death of a loved one
- Car accidents
Or other disturbing events and life crisis that are keeping you stuck. Exciting right?
Want more information?
I recommend that you read “The EMDR Revolution: Change Your Life One Memory at a Time, The Client’s Guide” if your considering EMDR Therapy..
Relational Systems Perspective
“The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands.” ~ Alexandra Penney
Systems Theory highlights relationships and the interpersonal space between people that characterizes those relationships. This is the cornerstone of my work with couples and families.
I look at the recurring patterns of interactions, and the ways in which these patterns are either healthy or otherwise unhealthy. Collaboratively, we will distinguish negative patterns and then co-construct change towards healing patterns. Sometimes, I may accentuate behaviours being enacted by family members. I do this because certain behaviours can predict other complementary behaviours that become coupled in an ongoing interaction pattern.
A Holistic View
The Family Systems Therapy stance requires a shift away from individual and the individual as problem towards a holistic view of individuals in relationships.
I seek to understand the context of relational interactions and I emphasize patterns of interaction (what is happening versus why it is happening).
I believe that relationships change when the meanings, through which the problem is understood, changes. Meanings (interpretations) about problems are arrived at linguistically. Therefore, change can occur through generative conversations.
Together we will look at meaning making and how you make sense of the challenges you’re facing.
Together We Embrace Life’s Challenges.
Reciprocity is a sacred component of Collaborative Therapy. I see client and counsellor as conversational partners, engaging in a collaborative relationship through dialogical conversations.
As a counsellor, it is a critically reflective stance and an approach to counselling. One that considers the implications of accepted assumptions. In other words, it is a philosophical stance that questions the unquestioned.
It requires the counsellor to take up the position of “not-knowing”. A “listening posture” of curiosity about the client’s reality, beliefs, and experiences. The counsellor is neither a content or outcome expert. Instead, the counsellor is responsible for fostering collaborative relationships and generative conversations. This, in turn, leads to shared inquiry about the issues or tasks the client reveals as important to him or her.
It means that client knowledge is important and valued because the client is the expert on their life and their unique experiences.
What guides, my practice is a set of values and the focus is on generative conversations that develop from both of our questions, wonderings, and curiosities.
Animal Assisted Therapy
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~Anatole France