Zoe Alford MNZAC‎ > ‎

How I Work

My approach to counselling and supervision is underpinned by a fusion of postmodernist and modernist thinking. The primary focus of my counsellor
was narrative therapy - a postmodern approach. However, my undergraduate degree had a major in psychology - a modernist approach. 

During my psychology studies I became fascinated by what the advances in neuroscience have made available to us to explain human behaviour. I'm particularly interested in what our brains get up to when we're anxious, stressed, and depressed. 

I keep up with the news about the latest advances in neuroscience and weave these findings into my work with clients. 

Thanks to neuroscience, we know, for example, that small repetitive movements with our hands release serotonin in our brains - the happy chemical that can lift mood. If these hand movements are creating something meaningful, then we also have a release of dopamine - the reward chemical. 

Sanding down furniture, building a model of something, knitting, sewing, craftwork, kneading bread - all these activities (and many more) can lift our mood, without drugs.

I also use art therapies: 
interactive drawing therapy and sandplay therapy. Children find these art therapies particularly easy to work with. They can show me what is bothering them, without having to find words to explain. 

These therapies are also very useful for adults when we find that we have talked and talked about a problem, but nothing has shifted. Representing the problem in the sandtray, and then physically moving objects around, can sometimes facilitate a subconscious shift. 

Here is a picture of my collection of sandplay therapy figurines,  along with the sandtray in which the  figurines can be placed.

I seek to offer a respectful, non-blaming approach to counselling. I centre people as the experts in their own lives. I view problems as separate from people. 

From my experience I know that people have many skills and abilities that can help them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives. I also have skills, abilities, knowledge and experience that I bring to my work with you, so that my work with you is a collaboration. 

I engage in regular supervision with professional colleagues. This is to support me and to provide accountability.