I use an integrative approach to therapy that relies mostly on Psychodynamic techniques, but also includes elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Emotion-Focused Therapy.
In this approach, the goal is to gain a better understanding of your current problems by looking at your emotions, thoughts, early-life experiences, and beliefs and how they influence the patterns you have developed in interacting with others in the present. The therapist listens closely to the experiences and concerns of the client. In this way they are able to gain a more holistic, in-depth understanding of the individual over time. The goal is to help clients understand how and why they react in certain ways. In this more open-ended, less directive approach, clients are encouraged to talk about what ever feels most relevant to them and with the therapist asking questions to gain a better understanding of the emotional processes at play.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
The aim of CBT is to help individuals become more aware of the thoughts and behaviours that drive emotional reactions to situations. Its goal is to provide a new understanding of what causes and maintains problems and to find specific elements that can be changed in order to change the overall patterns. Clients are taught ways to challenge their unhealthy thinking patterns and change behaviours by focussing on new skills and problem solving. Typically, specific treatment goals are set and sessions focus exclusively on goals with the therapist directing much of the work.
In this approach, the therapist uses techniques to help people accept, express, regulate, make sense of, and transform emotions. Emotions tell us what is important to us in a situation and thus act as a guide to what we need or want. This, in turn, helps us to figure out what actions are appropriate. The goal is to become aware of and express emotions, learn how to tolerate and regulate them, and to reflect and make sense of them so that change can occur. Once clients have a better understanding of their emotions, clients are encouraged to experience those emotions in the safety of the therapy session. In this way clients become aware of and make more productive use of their emotions.