Counsellors often use language to describe what we do that may not make sense to everyone, this is just to try and summarise what we do without using lots of words, unfortunately these words and phrases can often be less useful in conveying our message than we intend; so to cut through some of this, I have put together a brief guide to explain what I mean by the words that I use:-
Relational: This just means that I focus on building the relationship between myself and my client, believing that the relationship is the most important part of the work.
Integrative: This means that I cherry pick different theories and ways of working to put something together that fits the best for the individual client.
Person Centred: This is a way of working that is core to a lot of therapies – it is very much about creating a safe environment where the client feels comfortable to drive the work forward at their own pace, without feeling rushed or that I, as the counsellor, have an agenda to work to.
Psychodynamic: This is a way of working that focuses on unconscious processes and the impact of past experiences and early relationships on the client’s current situation.
Gestalt: This is a dynamic, fluid way of working that is very much focused on the present, what is happening within the room at any given time and can give rise to working very creatively.
I use a mixture of all of these ways of working with my clients, adapting and shifting to whatever feels the most appropriate. Integrating different ways of working like this gives me a sense of freedom that might not otherwise be available were I to stick solely to a singular way of working or thinking.