Types of Counselling

All counselling is geared to relieve distress and to help people understand why they think, feel, and behave in the way they do. The majority are non-directive, helping people to find their own solutions rather than telling them what to do. Most counsellors at BCCS integrate different models of counselling, adapting their skills and knowledge to suit the needs of their clients.

Psychodynamic Therapy

A non-directive model of talking therapy that focuses on helping people understand why certain things are repeatedly difficult and distressing for them, so that they can then manage their situation more effectively. Its core belief is that the difficulties we have in the present have their roots in past experiences and we repeat patterns of behaviour without being able to help it; it is in understanding them that we gain conscious control over our current situation. It suits people who are curious about themselves and want more self-knowledge as well as symptom relief.

Psychological Therapy

An active and collaborative model of talking therapy that focuses on helping people manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is most commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression by changing thoughts and behaviour which can lead to symptom relief. The focus is on what people want to achieve rather than on historical issues and the model maintains that our behaviour is something that has been learned, and so therefore it can be unlearned. This suits people who do not wish to look internally at the reason behind their thoughts and behaviour. CBT is challenging for some people because changing habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour is difficult.

Humanistic Therapy

A non-directive person-centred model of talking therapy which focuses on helping clients to come to terms with past and present difficulties by helping them think things through. One of its central beliefs is that people are able to determine their own future and that real change is possible. Through supportive counselling its aim is to improve wellbeing and facilitate healthy coping mechanisms in clients who experience psychological pain. It suits people who wish to take their time talking through their experiences with an understanding listener.

Gestalt

A non-directive model of talking therapy that focuses strongly on self-awareness and the ‘here-and-now’ (what is happening from one moment to the next), believing that self-awareness is the key to personal growth and developing full potential. The approach recognises that sometimes self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behaviour that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. Therapy sessions focus on helping people learn to become more self-aware and to accept and trust in their feelings and experiences to alleviate distress. It is practised in the form of exercise and experiments in order to increase awareness and help the person understand the “here and now” of the experience.

Transactional Analysis

A non-directive model of talking therapy that helps explain to people how and why they think, feel, and behave in the way they do in their day-to-day lives. Easily understood, this type of therapy will attract people who recognise they react to other people and events in a stereotypical way, obeying orders of their own which guide their steps, especially in moments of stress.

Existential

A model of talking therapy which aims to explore ‘meaning’ in a more philosophical sense. It suits people who wish to take time to understand the meaning they give to their human existence and the human condition. Strongly influenced by philosophy, it takes time to explore reality and how it is experienced by an individual. The therapist’s role is to work alongside people as they explore their values, assumptions and ideals, helping them realise that a person is not necessarily defined by their history and that they are not predestined to have a certain future as a result.