I am an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor, which means that I draw from a wide base of therapeutic approaches, specifically tailored to the young person in front of me. I believe that the relationship between the counsellor and the client is the key to therapeutic change, and that there is an innate human desire for growth within each of us. I use play and arts based therapies with young people to reach a deeper level of emotional experience that may be less accessible through words alone.
For younger children, I can offer a supportive relationship with parents, alongside a play therapy approach.
Play, stories, symbols and metaphors are the language of the child. Play therapy works on the basis that the medium of play enables a child to express their troubles at their own level, in a way and at a pace that suits them. Through play, they can safely explore painful feelings and memories that may be causing behavioural or emotional difficulties, learn to tolerate and understand different emotions, learn new coping strategies, and improve their emotional literacy. The child may direct their own play, or I may at times steer them toward certain activities in order to help progress the therapy.
For teenagers and “tweens”, I can offer a more integrative approach, which means that I am able to tailor the type of work we do to the individual. Some may enjoy an arts-based approach, where we are able to talk through images about the difficult feelings, memories or behaviours that may be troubling them. Some young people may favour a more traditional talking therapy and this is fine too; I work in whatever way the young person finds more comfortable. I integrate mindfulness, cognitive-behavioural therapy, solution-focused therapy and positive therapy techniques into my approach too, and psycho-education as and when it is appropriate.
For teenagers and those up to the age of 25, I can also offer coaching. Coaching is very different from counselling, and I will assess with the young person (and parents/guardians if appropriate), what kind of approach is best. Coaching is a more goals-orientated and solution focused approach that helps a young person to identify where they are right now, and where they want to be in the future. As a coach, I empower a young person to examine the limiting beliefs that may be holding them back, make the decisions that feel right for them, and to set and meet personal goals.