Counselling · Psychotherapy · CBT · Mindfulness · Art Therapy · Compassion
Carbury, Co. Kildare · Tels: 0873977828 / 0862272917
Counselling & Psychotherapy
as long as he moves about
the chaotic currents of life,
is without trouble"
Carl C. Jung
What is counselling and psychotherapy?
There is quite a lot of debate within the field as to whether the terms 'counselling' and 'psychotherapy' mean the same or whether they are something different so, for the sake of simplicity, we will use the term 'therapy' here. Generally speaking, both counselling and psychotherapy are referred to as 'talking therapies', designed to treat or help with psychological, emotional or spiritual distress or difficulties, or also diagnosed mental health issues. In one to one therapy, the client and therapist meet on a regular basis (sometimes it's once a week, sometimes twice a month, or sometimes more sporadically depending on what the client needs) for one-hour sessions, or 50 min. sessions. In our practice, the sessions last one hour. During the sessions, the therapist and client discuss the client's presenting problem and work out a therapeutic goal.
Some people might need to share painful or traumatic parts of their history that they have never revealed before and are still causing them upset, and having their painful stories heard in an environment that is safe and supportive can sometimes be enough. Other people might have been through some sort of trauma (such as child abuse, bullying, a big loss,...), and they feel the trauma of their past is still very much part of their present life. These people might need to release a lot of the emotion that has been pent up, or learn skills to let go of the past and be able to move on more effectively with their present lives. A lot of other people though really want some sort of change, whether it be from the symptoms of depression or anxiety, or from behaviour they feel they cannot change or control themselves (such as with eating distress or OCD or Social Phobias). In these cases, the therapist and the client work together towards a goal, and the therapist helps the client to get there in small achievable steps, through collaborative exercises they can do together in the session, and then exercises the client can do alone in between sessions.
What types of therapies do we offer and what do they actually mean?
We are both eclectic or pluralistic therapists, which means that our training includes several different schools of counselling/psychotherapy, and we will use different therapeutic techniques or other techniques depending on your needs in any given session. There are many therapeutic approaches and working styles, but we believe that each one has valuable things to offer depending on the problem - while one approach might suit one person at a point in time, it might not suit another person, or it might not even suit the same person at a different moment in time. Some of the approaches we use include: Psychodynamic therapy, Humanistic (or Rogerian) therapy, Existential therapy, Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Reality therapy, Mindfulnes-Based Cognitive Therapy, or Gestalt therapy. We have both set as our intention not to stay stagnant in our existing set of skills and, as best we can, continue to keep our practice varied, flexible and up to date by continually training in areas we are not familiar with.
Here are some descriptions of each different therapeutic style:
- Humanistic therapy comes from humanistic philosophy, which argues that each person has the inherently human capacity and drive within to self-develop and to reach his/her potential. We, as humanistic therapists, believe this about not only our clients, but also about ourselves and we endeavor to foster an environment of deep respect for and acceptance of each client. We try to create, in the sessions, an environment of care and gentleness, honesty and acceptance. This approach also means that, as therapists, although we trust in our training and our experience to be able to help you, we do not see ourselves as 'experts' or in a position of authority, somehow knowing better than yourself what you need, and advising you what to do. Instead, the intention is to figure out, through a process of mutual collaboration, what your needs are and to work out together, with our guidance, how to meet those needs, in your own way and in your own time. Hopefully, this means you will feel, if you chose to work with us, that you are meeting an equal, a person who will not judge you or analyse you from a position of power or authority, but who will work with you and guide you to find relief from suffering.
- Existential therapy is based on the belief that all of us human beings face similar 'existential' difficulties: we all might have the experience of being ultimately 'alone' in the world, because of being separate individuals to one another. We all experience suffering. We all struggle with concepts like freedom, responsibility, loss, mortality, existential isolation and meaninglessness. Existential therapy works from the premise that this isolation and pain needs to be transcended in order to find contentment, and that this can be done by creating one's own personal values and meanings. We try, as best we can, to help our clients to find these in order to achieve healing and mental and emotional health.
- Cognitive and Behavioural therapy looks at the client's thinking (cognitive) patterns and how these translate into ways of behaving. So for example, it somebody has depression, they might have negative thoughts that are very engrained and very automatic about oneself, other people and the world in general. And these negative thoughts can affect how a person behaves. So, for example, if someone has a thought (or a belief) that is quite repetitive, such as "I am unlikable and boring", they might then stay very quiet at social occasions, afraid to embarrass themselves by saying something silly. This, then, might result in other people not interacting with them so much because (by behaving so quietly and anxiously) they might appear externally as if they don't want to be spoken to. This, then, means hardly anyone spoke to them, and this reinforces the negative belief that person already had about themselves that they are unlikeable and boring. On close observation though, it is easy to see how that person might have actually caused other people not to approach them. In this type of therapy, we would help the client to see what negative automatic thoughts are present, to see if these can be disputed. We also look at what behaviours reinforce the person's negative beliefs and how these can be changed. This is all done in small achievable steps so the person feels they are actually progressing without having to take risks that are too scary.
- Mindfulness-based therapy integrates mindfulness into the therapy in some way. Mindfulness is defined as "paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally" (Kabat-Zinn). Learning how to practice mindfulness and meditation can be really helpful for many psychological and emotional issues. There has been much research done on the clinical application of mindfulness and the results on its effectiveness are very encouraging. We often include mindfulness exercises and skills into the therapeutic work, but it can also be learned as a separate therapy, through the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programme (MBCT). Please click on the 'Mindfulness' tab on the right to find out more.
- We work in a holistic way: our working style is also holistic in that we attend to the whole person. We believe that all aspects of the person (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) affect our lives and health, and we try to encourage the people we work with to learn to get to know and care for all aspects of themselves. This empowers clients to take full responsibility for their wellbeing. Therapy is only a part of the process, and there are many other things people can do to overcome mental health problems (such as seek support from friends, practice compassion, exercise, eat well, do a workshop on the Life Skills programme, for example, read books about how to deal with your issue, etc.). If you are on medication, or seeing a Psychiatrist, there is no reason why you can't also attend therapy.
We both care deeply for the people we work with and we firmly believe that this is the most important quality we bring to our work. We feel priviledged to do a job that we love, and find it an honour that clients trust us enough to share with us the challenging, painful and often brave and transformative journeys they are on.
We both believe that in 'quality' we are all the same, the only difference being that we are all at different stages of development at different times in our lives. We as therapists might be in a better position emotionally than our clients at certain points in time, but at other points we might be worse off if life throws some difficulties our way. There is no therapist out there that has life 'sorted', as we are also human and suffer and make mistakes like everyone else! This belief that clients are on a journey just like we are, together with our interest in the theories of Buddhist philosophy, helps us to cultivate, as best we can, an accepting, nonjudgmental and loving position towards ourselves and our clients, no matter how awful they might feel they are doing themselves.
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