I do not believe that one type of therapy is the right fit for everyone. I therefore practice from an integrative therapy approach, which means that I incorporate various evidence based techniques from different schools of psychotherapy and adapt my therapeutic approach for each individual and their particular situation.
My core orientation is humanistic-existential psychotherapy, but I also very often use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in my work with clients.
What is humanistic-existential therapy?
Humanistic-existential therapy addresses tensions around the universal themes of the human condition and investigates the many challenges one encounters in life, while emphasising personal responsibility and choice.
The aims of therapy are to:
- Create a therapeutic relationship that is warm and accepting.
- Increase self-awareness and self-understanding.
- Minimise attempts to control, suppress or ignore reality.
- Develop the ability to tolerate the challenges inherent in human living.
- Help people to live vital, meaningful lives in the face of uncertainty and suffering.
What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based, values-oriented, cognitive-behavioural therapy, that has many parallels to Buddhism, yet is not religious in any way. It is a modern scientific approach, firmly based on cutting-edge research into human behavioural psychology. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.
The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT does this by:
- Teaching psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively, in such a way that they have less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).
- Helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you (i.e your values) then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.
ACT can be delivered in many different ways; it can be long or short term or ultra brief depending on what best suits each person’s individual needs. During therapy, ACT uses three broad categories of mindfulness skills:
- Defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
- Acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle
- Contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity.
Learn more about ACT in this 40 minute interview with one of its founders, Steve Hayes: