Counselling techniques are implemented within the context of a supportive and caring therapeutic relationship and are offered as individual counselling, couples counselling (also known as relationship counselling) or family therapy (also known as group therapy).
Being heard in a totally confidential and safe environment and having your thoughts and feelings validated by a professional counsellor, has positive therapeutic outcomes in itself. However, there are a number of other counselling approaches that help to bring about change and resolution to a client’s concerns.
Once the counsellor has an understanding of the immediate and surrounding issues of a client’s problem, with their consent, they may choose to apply one or a combination of different counselling approaches and techniques such as:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) where the counsellor assists the client to look at automatic thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and identify where patterns can be altered and new skills learned to bring about positive change. A goal-oriented approach, CBT is successfully used in counselling to treat depression, anxiety, phobias, fears, panic disorder, addictions and other behaviours.
Behavioural Therapy (BT) applies the principles of learning to help clients achieve their goal in counselling of changing a specific behaviour, in a well-defined, measurable way. Caring, supportive, trustworthy and reassuring, the role of the Counsellor in BT is a multi-faceted one, that of facilitator, advisor, reinforcer, teacher and mentor and is ultimately determined by the individual needs of the client. BT has been successfully used in counselling to help clients lose weight among other things.
Solution-focused therapy (SFT) is often used in counselling to help clients gain clarity in the direction they want to go in and help them to achieve their goals. Here, the counsellor introduces a number of solution-focused questions to lead the client to thinking about their issues differently. In counselling, SFT draws on the clients’ personal strengths, leverages on their past successes and builds on these to resolve their current difficulties.
In counselling, a psychodynamic approach helps us to understand how our early years impact on our development and how our unconscious desires drives our behaviour in order to have our needs met. Through counselling, we can weave the threads of the past into the fabric of our daily life to help complete the picture.
Clients who come to counselling who feel unable to move forward because of past events can find Gestalt Therapy very beneficial and healing. Commonly, it is ‘unfinished business’ from our past that can be projected onto our current situation, which can make it feel all the more painful. Counselling allows us to resolve emotional pain from our past in the ‘here and now’ which can be a freeing experience, allowing individuals to move forward in a positive direction.