How I work/ Confidentiality #01

How I work; therapy for individuals & couples: tips for stress management; confidentiality



PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR INDIVIDUALS

"We cannot heal what we cannot feel" (John Bradshaw)

Feelings
When someone feels consistently unhappy, or finds themselves struggling with volatile feelings or unstable energy levels, or feels cursed with bad luck or pessimism, there are usually underlying unconscious factors which can be addressed in therapy.

Self development
These days, when therapy is widely accepted as an integral part of self development not only for the individual, but also in society, the arts, business and industry, it can be an education in itself, leading to increased self awareness, a more consistent sense of well being and greater personal fulfilment.

The purpose behind a problem
Invariably, difficult, sometimes mystifying emotional problems, signal an inner discord, which heralds the emergence of new, undiscovered qualities and attitudes, to replace outmoded ones; in short, our inner problems often have a purpose, meaning the individual is growing and needing to expand their awareness, and is also needing to learn how to let go of attitudes, habits or patterns that no longer serve them.

"We don't see things as THEY are, we see things as WE are" (Anais Nin)

Conscious and unconscious factors
In my approach, I explore these conscious and unconscious factors to facilitate greater self awareness, through safe, confidential dialogue, and at a pace which suits the individual, providing along the way a diagnosis, a prognosis and also strategies as to the way forward. I heard Dustin Hoffman once describe the therapist's role in therapy as that of being a kind of "soul detective". That describes it very well!

I listen not only to what an individual may bring into the room consciously, but I also look at that individual's presenting symptoms, dreams, fateful patterns and fantasies, to help them understand what might need to be expressed which has been hidden away in the depths.

"The unconscious is not just dark... it is also the source of the highest good" (C.G.Jung)

Being in the moment
The aim of psychotherapy is to help an individual be happier with the HERE AND NOW, by helping them to resolve past difficulties and to cultivate a philosophy they are confident of going forward with. Part of the process lies in building up a picture of a person's WHOLE being; known and unknown, 'light' and 'dark', blocks and potentials. This may include exploring childhood issues and family dynamics, but equally it means looking at the week's events with a keen eye, leaving plenty of space, when required, for reflection and feeling.

Creative therapy
As well as encouraging meaningful focused dialogue, I also work creatively, facilitating visualisations, psychodrama and artwork where appropriate, if it helps an individual gain greater self awareness.

The Transpersonal
My working model is called Transpersonal psychotherapy (Transpersonal, because we go beyond what is already known personally, into what has not yet been brought to light in the unconscious). Transpersonal therapy can stabilise and help contain an individual when they feel fearful or confused, by helping them to face what needs to be faced, and express what needs to be expressed.

Healing the soul
Therapy can, and should, be a thrilling exploration of the mythic realms of the psyche, which is utterly transformative. Transpersonal psychotherapy (which in my training also incorporates cognitive and behavioural techniques) is a modern development of the ancient healing practice of shamanic journeying, which uses an individual's active imagination as a portal into the realms of the unconscious, to facilitate healing and empowerment. Whereas psychology is the science of understanding and interpreting our psyche, shamanism is the art of re-balancing our energy patterns.

"The left brain is a scientist... the right an artist." (Colin Wilson)

Gaining insight and changing energy
One can explore and interpret dreams, for example, to facilitate self-awareness... and this is the more insightful, analytical aspect of therapy... whereas a typical visualisation journey using one's active imagination works more with feeling experience, and without, necessarily, involving interpretation. This technique operates more at the vital energetic level of an individual. Like cleaning a window... you don't need to understand why it was dirty in the first place in order to see more clearly, you just need to clean it! Shamanic journeying of old worked like that; it cleansed, restored and purified, and this is the province of therapeutic visualisation, using one's active imagination, with the therapist as a trained guide or facilitator. In a Mind Body Soul continuum, psychology in therapy, of course, looks at the "why's and wherefore's" to facilitate insight and transformation at the mental level, whereas energy work in therapy works more with the body and soul.

Jungian psychology and shamanic journeying or guided visualisation complement each other very well, and I am trained in both.


COUNSELLING FOR COUPLES

"For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us..." (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Speaking your truth and being heard
My role in couples counselling is to help each partner to speak and to REALLY be heard. Sometimes I facilitate dialogue by ensuring each partner gets all the space they need, without interruption, and at other times I help to clarify the situation, by checking that what has been said has actually been heard and understood.

Therapeutic overview
Occasionally, I will intervene or summarize with an overview from a psychological perspective, which may help to explain why there is conflict or misunderstanding, or why feelings are running so high.

"The journey's longer than I thought, my love... 'cos so many things get in the way" (Van Morrison)

Untangling...
I proceed from the basis that all couples who come into counselling wanted, originally, to be on each others' side, and not opposed or in conflict, and that a lot of 'stuff' has got in the way. In my experience, nearly all relationship problems stem from misunderstandings, misconceptions and misapprehensions, many of which actually stem from childhood. In my sessions, I offer the space to untangle the 'stuff' and the tools to do it with.

Sessions are usually one and a half hours long, and a batch of 6 works well, spaced according to a couples needs, with options for further sessions if mutually agreed.


TIPS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT

A horse goes to see a therapist:
Horse: "I'm fed up with all the 'why the long face?' gags. Ever since I was a little horse people have been saying that to me."

Therapist: "Well... you seem to be in denial. But tell me, what was it that made you a little hoarse in the first place? Strange that a slight throat condition should lead to depression."


The inner smile
(Courtesy of modern-day Daoist master Mantak Chia. Daoist energy practices form the inner basis of all martial arts at the highest, spiritual level).

"Daoist sages say that when you smile, your organs release a honey-like secretion which nourishes the whole body. When you are angry, fearful or under stress, they produce a poisonous secretion which blocks up the energy channels."

The practice of the inner smile I share here is the way I actually use it to release tension and promote ease and well-being in my own body - for a much more detailed approach see my book "Transform Stress into Vitality" (by Mantak Chia).

1. Sit comfortably - ultimately, you can practice the inner smile anywhere, in any position.

2. Allow a smile to dance into your eyes. If you like, you can raise the corners of your mouth ever so slightly, like someone who knows a really cool secret but doesn't need to tell.

3. Smile into any part of your body that feels tight or uncomfortable, until it begins to ease or relax.

4. Smile into any part of your body that feels especially good. You can increase the smile by expressing gratitude to that part of your body for helping to keep you healthy and strong. Allow the inner smile to reach every corner of your body.

5. Smile into your life as well as your body. Try smiling and expressing gratitude into a relationship, an environment or a project you are currently working on, and notice how the energy around that situation begins to shift.


Tips for anxiety and panic
1. MANTRA... say your name over and over, quietly in an inner way; feel your feet on the ground and become conscious of them. Keep breathing and don't hold your breath. Breathe into any muscles that are tight or tense and relax them. Do this for a few minutes.

2. STONE... if outside, find a stone or pebble and hold it in your hand.Impregnate it with your energy. Feel it become warm; don't hold it too tight. If indoors, find a suitable small object (not sharp or jagged!) and do the same. You could try saying the mantra of your own name (above), as well.

3. 7-11 BREATH... breathe in to the count of 7, and breathe out to the count of 11. Do this several times, slowly and deeply, for a couple of minutes. By changing the ratio between oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies, we engage the parasympathetic nervous system and create an automatic relaxation response.


CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS

Therapy is confidential. In exceptional cases (ie if a client reveals current abuse of children, or intent to cause serious physical harm to him/herself or to others), therapists have a professional and ethical duty to inform clients that they may find it necessary to take this information outside of therapy. Any action is discussed with the client first.

I receive ongoing supervision, but identities are not revealed.

My therapeutic work is conducted in accordance with the Codes of Ethics and Practice of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

For the BACP telephone 0870 443 5252 or email at: bacp@bacp.co.uk





      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

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