Never been to counselling before?
What to expect...
Counselling is a collaborative process of exploring the difficulties (stress, emotions, experiences) that the client brings forward in session. The counsellor strives to build a sense of safety in the counselling session and therapeutic relationship through modeling trust, respect, and empathy. Counsellors help add a different perspective that can expand understanding, generate new ideas/strategies, and increase empowerment/well-being. Counsellors promote change through helping the client to focus on the feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and experiences that are maintaining barriers to attaining goals. Counsellors are non-judgemental and refrain from bringing their own agenda into the process.
Counsellors keep up-to-date on research into the most effective tools for change and continually build their skills, so as to provide support in ways that are known to work. It is important to note, though, that counsellors are there to “do with” not “do for” which means that the client is the one that does “the work” while the counsellor acts as a guide or support.
Here's a fabulous article on selecting a therapist and what to expect:
My foundational training is in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. My approach, however incorporates a variety of other modalities that allow me to adapt my practice to fit the individual needs of my clients.
I believe that people develop strategies that help them get through stressful times, some of those strategies may be effective and others may be only partially effective. Those that are partially effective may be things that were previously effective but now no longer are or things that were short-term solutions that may cause long-term harm. Some strategies are thoughts we hold on to, others are emotionally based, others physically based, and others are behaviours. At one point in time they provided some sense of relief. However, people grow, situations change, life evolves and sometimes we struggle to adjust our thoughts, feelings, sensations, or behaviours to fit the progression. We get stuck.
So how do we get “unstuck”?
A large part of becoming unstuck is understanding that meaningfulness is fluid and ever changing. We heal by learning what works and does not work for us as we grow and develop or as the situation evolves. To support clients towards sustainable change counsellors facilitate client mastery of self-awareness, interpersonal skills, coping skills, interpretation, and application of logic.
To create lasting change, it is important to honour prior knowledge, understand things within a larger context, (re)organize resources for easy recollection and use, as well as, bring awareness to individual thought processes or learning styles. The goal is to support clients to being able to independently navigate life's ups and downs.
EMDR in counselling
What is EMDR and how is it used in counselling by Thea?
EMDR therapy involves eight-phases but most people who are aware of EMDR are mostly familiar with the Eye Movement phase. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used after the clinician has determined which memory to target first, the client is asked to focus on aspects of that event or thought in their mind and to use their eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision (this is slightly different when using other forms of bi-lateral stimulation but I mostly use eye movements). During this phase, it is believed to replicate the processing that the brain does during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. If done successfully, the target memory will become less visceral or raw.
I view EMDR as a tool for shifting the way one is carrying their experiences, however, it is my experience that for the changes to really stick, other forms of therapy may be needed to reinforce the new sense of self and support sustainable change. I find CBT and EMDR go well together because when one has a history of using coping mechanisms that worked to protect oneself from memories/experiences/ thoughts/feelings the EMDR alone does not prepare us for rebuilding our way of moving through the world without the weight and responsibility of keeping one's past in check. So I often encourage a hybrid approach to establish a solid foundation for change.