My Approach to Counselling
“Throughout the process of therapy, the relationship is our main instrument of cure.” Jeffery A. Kottler (2003)
There is, of course, no single therapeutic counselling approach that could possibly ‘fit’ every person that walks into my office. Despite the fact that many issues being addressed in therapy may, at some level, sound the same, individuals’ experiences – and most importantly, their interpretation of those experiences – are often very different. Nevertheless, the following are some common principles that underlie my approach to counselling with all of my clients:
- For me, the most important part of my work with clients is to develop an effective therapeutic relationship – one where they feel emotionally safe, respected, encouraged, and supported. And, as such, I remain committed to my role as a trustworthy and non-judgmental collaborator in our attempt to find effective resolutions to the challenges they face in their lives.
- I believe our wisest guide lives within us. At some level, we all know what is true for us but often our ability to listen to our ‘inner voice’ is undermined by any number of factors, the most common of which is fear. Consequently, my work with clients often involves helping them to address the fears that block their path to this inner voice so they can be freer to make thoughtful and effective decisions for themselves.
- Becoming aware of the extent to which the issues we struggle with control us is vital if we are to find the path of emotional freedom. I believe awareness is the most important step in the process of change and, therefore, I work with clients to help them become aware of potential areas of ‘self-blindness’. By doing so, they usually find themselves able to move beyond experiences of being stuck in painful and repetitive patterns.
- I believe, as adults, it is important that we take personal responsibility for both our actions and the choices we make in our lives. The belief that our lives are, in large part, controlled by exterior influences robs us of our sense of personal power in our relationships with ourselves, with others, and in life, more generally. On the other hand, taking responsibility permits us to live a significantly more powerful life. As a therapist, I help clients who often feel powerless in their lives recognize that by living by this principle they can experience a far more positive and fulfilling life.
- I believe each of us needs to discover our own creative solutions to the challenges we face in our lives, but there are times when we’re unable to identify these solutions because our vision is sometimes narrowed, or even blocked, by the issues we struggle with on a daily basis. When clients are unsure about what actions to take, we work together to identify potential solutions. Ultimately, clients need to make the best decisions for themselves, and ideally ones that are informed by a growing relationship they’ve developed with their own inner voice.