As an integrative therapist, I have trained in a range of therapeutic approaches which enables me to work with you holistically. I draw upon the principles of Gestalt, Person-Centred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) and Psychodynamic models of theory, Mindfulness Techniques and Creative Therapies.
Underpinning these different approaches are four key aims:
to acknowledge your current challenges (what is it like to be you?), to raise your self-awareness (what can we learn from what is happening right now?), to develop your resilience (what resources do you have?), and to facilitate change (how can things be different?).
Importantly, the most crucial part of any successful therapy is the quality of the relationship and connection between you and your therapist, so we will work collaboratively to establish a foundation of trust to enable awareness, healing, and transformation to begin.
Gestalt therapy is a humanistic and relational approach which focuses on the here-and-now. This approach encourages non-judgmental self-awareness, and promotes personal growth which helps you develop your potential. Gestalt therapy recognises that we can sometimes feel ‘stuck’ in a situation, cycle or pattern of negative thoughts or behaviours. Therefore, I use Gestalt therapy to increase your self-awareness and gain new perspectives on your life.
Gestalt is based on the holistic principle that everyone is made up of body, mind, and soul; that if we are suffering in one area other aspects of our life or functioning might be impacted, too. We can feel whole when we are in good relationship with ourselves, others and our environment. Gestalt therapy is interactive and feedback-driven. It can help with most issues, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and relationship problems.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious processes in your present behaviour. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are self-awareness and an understanding of the influence of the past on present behaviour. It helps you understand how past experiences can shape your current feelings and behaviour.
Psychotherapy aims to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness. By providing space for you to think out loud, I will help you get a better insight into your life and the problems you’re experiencing here and now. Transference, a key concept in psychodynamic therapy, where you redirect the feelings you experienced in previous significant relationships onto someone else, also provides insight. With these insights, you can change negative patterns to help you move forward. Psychodynamic therapy helps with many problems, including anxiety and depression, eating disorders and addictions.
Person-centred therapy harnesses your natural self-healing process. It focuses on maximising your ability to find solutions and supports a therapeutic process that encourages positive change within yourself.
By offering you the core conditions of unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathic understanding I help you become more aware of your internal and external resources. Person-centred therapy enables you to challenge the idea or feeling that you are influenced by forces beyond your control. As you develop your self-awareness and self-esteem, you become better able to use self-direction to make healthy choices.
Person-centred therapy is an effective tool for managing difficult situations such as traumatic events. This type of therapy benefits those dealing with various issues, such as relationship problems, low self-esteem linked to depression, stress management, and trauma recovery.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) works on the concept that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap us in vicious cycles of depression, anxiety or OCD. Using CBT, I can teach you how to improve your negative patterns by changing how you think, behave, and feel. CBT uses many techniques to identify and evaluate unhelpful thinking. It enables you to deal with overwhelming problems more positively by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Through collaborative exercises in the session, as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, I help you develop coping skills, where you learn to challenge and adapt negative automatic thinking, problematic emotions, and unhelpful behaviour. The focus of CBT is primarily on moving forward to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
Mindfulness is often combined with other types of therapy, such as Cognitive-based Therapy (CBT) or Ecotherapy. Mindfulness therapy focuses on increasing awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and actions hindering our progress. When we are better able to do that, we can engage with those aspects of ourselves, learn to tweak our language, and choose how to respond.
A mindfulness approach helps you observe and focus on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It can help you maintain control, especially during emotionally overwhelming experiences. Gentle breathing exercises, focus on posture or walking in mindfulness are used to heighten physical sensations. Verbal cues help you maintain awareness of movement, breathing, and sensations throughout different exercises. It can be a powerful tool to increase your tolerance for painful emotions, enhancing your emotional wellbeing.
Creative therapy uses a range of interventions to explore your inner world. Finding clarity in your thoughts can often be difficult using words alone, so creative therapy can help you share your inner experience and feelings in other ways, such as drawing, writing, sand tray work, or modelling with clay.
This powerful type of therapy accesses the right side of the brain, where our needs, longings and emotions are centred. Working creatively can help you express, explore and process overwhelming, confusing, difficult or distressing emotions or situations. Creative therapy does not require artistic ability; it simply helps you engage with and externalise your thoughts and emotions through creative expression enabling a sense of wellbeing and relaxation; whilst meaning-making is explored to provide helpful insight and bring empowerment where choices feel limited.
Our modern lives often mean that we are disconnected from the natural environment. Air-conditioned offices, artificial lighting and noise-cancelling headphones can all limit our interaction with the sights, sounds, smells and textures of nature. However, being in nature or working with nature can have a profound impact on our wellbeing and resilience.
Green spaces have long been recognised for their therapeutic qualities and this concept is developed further by engaging with nature intentionally using Attention Restoration Theory (ART). Soft fascination promotes opportunities to rest, reflect and restore ourselves, whilst engaging in simple exercises, a walk or working outside will support our physical and mental health. Ecotherapy can boost your mood and increase your positivity, reduce your stress levels, improve your focus and provide a feeling of connection. Ecotherapy sessions are available for individuals or groups.
Supervision provides therapists with regular opportunities to consider all aspects of their practice so that they can work as ethically, effectively and enjoyably as possible. As a qualified supervisor my role is to enable the supervisee gain confidence as an ethical practitioner whilst developing their compassion and creativity so that clients receive a positive and supportive experience.
Time is also invested in supporting the wellbeing of the supervisee, for counselling can be a challenging and isolating profession. The working alliance will be based on a normative, formative, restorative approach and utilise the Double Matrix model, otherwise known as the Seven-eyed model, of supervision.
Supervision sessions are available for individuals, and groups. Professionals from other sectors, such as headteachers, project leaders or coaches, may also benefit from the confidential and collegial space supervision provides.
© Sarah Hobday Counselling and Ecotherapy
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