Louise Rodgers MSc MBACP
Counselling and Psychotherapy
in South-East London
My Therapeutic Approach
My counselling approach is based on the integrative counselling model. This means I can use a spectrum of types of therapy and therapeutic interventions. However, as Carl Jung put it, “learn your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of a living soul.” So it’s your needs which must come first. I adapt my clinical approach to suit the problems you bring and the hopes you have for the work we do together.
To help you assess the many ways in which counselling can help you, here is an overview of some of the ‘counselling modalities’ or approaches to counselling, which I may use in our work together.
The person-centred approach to counselling is founded on the belief that given the right conditions, everybody has the ability to develop, grow and change, to deal better with the problems of day to day life and to achieve their unique potential.
Person-centred counselling honours the individual. Rather than trying to fit you into some psychological box, this approach helps to free you from deep-seated patterns of living according to other people’s expectations or desires, be they your family, parents, or society. The aim is to help you to be more yourself, to be more authentic, which in turn helps you to feel freer and happier.
The great pioneer of the person-centred counselling approach, was Carl Rogers. Rogers broke away from the old psychoanalytic paradigm of Freud and the original founders of psychotherapy. Rogers’ unique contribution is most readily evident in the way today’s counselling session is structured. Gone is the old doctor-patient approach, dry and based on analysis, where a client is told what is best for them by a therapist who supposedly knows better.
Instead today’s counselling – and the kind of counselling session you can expect with me – is characterised by warmth, acceptance and openness. You are seen as the expert on your own life, while I, as you counsellor, bring the therapeutic know-how which can help you. We work together as a team whose purpose is to help you come through your difficulties, be happier and to grow as a person.
Psychodynamic therapy developed out of psychoanalysis and the work of Freud and his followers such as Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank and Melanie Klein. The primary aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. In order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface, many people develop ‘defences’ which will often do more harm than good.
In practice, this counselling approach looks at the influence of the past and particularly of childhood, on where you are today. It helps you see how the destructive patterns you learnt long ago still keep on repeating themselves in your life, causing present-day problems. It helps you unravel past experience and understand your deep-rooted feelings and drives, in order to resolve them.
Existentialist counselling looks at how many of the problems we face are universal, a result of the human condition in which we all find ourselves. It’s precisely because these problems are universal that we’re inclined to overlook them, yet they still profoundly influence us.
These problems are the big issues of life and include:
- bereavement and loss
- individual isolation within our own bodies and minds
- how to find meaning in life
- questions of individual freedom versus our responsibility towards others and our society
- an awareness that life is finite and that one day we will die.
Existentialist counselling believes that by tackling these fundamentals, you can become stronger. You can gain clarity about what you truly value, what’s important for you, and where you want your life to go.
This kind of approach to counselling also helps you deal with the difficult and painful situations which life inevitably throws at you. These range from bereavement, to job losses, relationship breakdown, illness and the inevitability of death. Existential counselling helps you see how anxiety about these difficult events is already influencing you in unconscious ways. Through becoming more conscious of these influences, you become more able to deal with the anxiety.
Although all this soul searching may seem heavy or dark, the end result of existentialist questioning is to help you engage with each moment and grow in your ability to appreciate life. Through owning up to how things are, it becomes possible to find meaning in the simple beauty of loving relationships, work, friends, and creativity. It also can help you to find the solace of being able to grow, learn and come through difficult experiences.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is now the counselling approach of choice for the NHS. It’s an approach that helps you manage your problems by seeing how your thoughts influence how you feel, how thoughts and feelings influence how you behave, and how the way you behave sets up the patterns of your life.
The great plus point about CBT is that it is clear, logical and highly structured. It breaks down problems that may seem overwhelming into bite-size chunks that are easier to cope with. Some people prefer this approach because of its logical clarity and because of the similarity to academic study, where you are given homework after each session.
CBT can also help you to feel less of a victim, since the work you put in to analysing how you think and feel, brings clear rewards of greater self-understanding and awareness. This understanding then helps you see how to make things change and then to take appropriate action.
CBT concentrates on the here and now, rather than on the past. It’s usually short term, giving you with the help you need without making a commitment to long-term therapy, with the price tag that involves.
CBT is proven to be particularly helpful if you are going through certain difficulties, which include:
- Self-esteem problems
- Obsessive Compulsive tendencies
- Post-traumatic Stress
- Eating Problems
Whatever counselling approach or combination of approaches turns out to be best for you, you can be sure that the counselling you receive will be professional but warm. You’ll get the help you really need. Counselling can sometimes be challenging, but you will always be fully supported and never judged or made to feel small.
In our first sessions, I can usually provide you with an awareness of how counselling may be able to help you. It’s also sometimes possible to give an indication of how long I feel we may need to work together – though of course this depends completely on what you want from therapy and may change as the work progresses. You will never feel rushed or pushed out of your depth; we go at the pace which is right for you.
In order that counselling sessions stay on a professional footing and support you best, counselling has strong boundaries. So, for example, I won’t take up your time chatting too much about my own life – though I’m always friendly! I won’t impose my beliefs or opinions on you. What you say in a counselling session will be kept confidential.
Theoretical approach, warmth and genuineness, along with the clear boundaries, work together to ensure that you feel heard, understood, cared for, able to be open and to be yourself. Then through the counselling process, you can freely explore, heal and grow.
To read more about counselling approaches, please see the A-Z of counselling approaches on the BACP ‘It’s Good To Talk’ website. You are also welcome to ask me about the counselling approaches and methodology when we meet.