This page is designed to give an introduction to the many approaches and types of therapies that are offered at Wellspring. 

Integrative Therapy

Integrative counselling and psychotherapy is a term used to describe the bringing together of ideas from different schools of psychotherapy or counselling. One of the characteristics of being integrative is looking at ideas in new ways and through different lenses.

The emphasis in integrative counselling and psychotherapy is on a dynamic process rather than a finished product, open to change and constantly reflecting on what is the best way to be with and respond to clients, with changing needs.

Research has shown that it is the therapeutic relationship rather than diagnosis or technique, which promotes beneficial effects of counselling or psychotherapy. The therapeutic relationship is a central feature common to all forms of therapy.

Ref: Integrative and Eclectic Counselling and Psychotherapy – edited by Stephen Plamer and Ray Woolfe. Sage Publications 2000.

Person-centred

The Person-Centred approach developed from the work of the Psychologist Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987). An important part of Roger’s approach is that in a particular psychological environment, the fulfilment of personal potential includes sociability, the desire to be known and to know other people. It involves also being open to experience, being trusting and trustworthy, curious to the world and creative and compassionate.

This approach is rooted on a deep respect for the person, and the belief that the relationship between the counsellor and the client is of primary importance. The environment where a person could feel free of threat would be achieved within the therapeutic relationship with a person who was deeply understanding (empathic), accepting (having unconditional positive regard) and genuine (congruent).

The Person-Centred approach challenges each person to accept responsibility for his or her own life and to trust in the inner resources which are available to all those who are prepared to set out along the path of self-awareness and self-acceptance.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which uses personal image making to help clients discover an outlet for often complex and confusing emotions. Sometimes our most important thoughts and feelings are hard to express in words alone, and the process of personal image making can access parts of ourselves that we need to explore.

In art therapy, art materials are used to play and experiment with. Such materials include paint, drawing materials (pastels, pens, pencils etc), clay, collage and other mixed media/objects. Time is always taken to discuss and reflect on what is important to you. You do not need to have had any experience of making art before and may not wish to make images every session. The art therapist does not impose interpretation – rather you work together to discover what your imagery means to you.

Art therapy is a regulated profession and in the UK, only those who are appropriately qualified and registered by the Health Professional Council (HPC) may legally describe themselves as art therapists or art psychotherapists. Membership of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) is only open to registered art therapists and art psychotherapists.

Humanistic

Humanistic counselling and psychotherapy emphasise human uniqueness; a holistic need to balance intellect, spirit, emotions and the body, individual autonomy and responsibility, fundamental innocence and the importance of the shadow side (unlived, unacknowledged human potential which is not necessarily dark).

Humanistic practitioners also believe that the therapeutic relationship is the main agent of change. Humanistic therapists see the therapeutic relationship as one of shared responsibility and view unconscious processes such as transference and counter-transference as a valuable dimension of communication that takes many forms, including body language and non-verbal communication, and does not necessarily imply pathological aspects.

There are several sources of humanistic psychology, including the phenomenological tradition, the existential tradition, self-actualisation, abundance motivation, the person-centred approach, body-oriented approaches, group dynamics, peak experiences, eastern philosophy and transpersonal perspectives.

Being humanistic is a way of life, in that it includes being committed to one’s work and having an awareness of competence, limitations and contextual awareness of social, political and cultural concerns.

Wellspring acknowledges the Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners for this material which has been modified for our specific use.

Core Process

Core Process psychotherapy has its roots in the psychology, philosophy and contemplative practices developed during two thousand years of Buddhist enquiry. This knowledge base is integrated with western psychotherapy skills and developmental theories.

Core Process is a contemplative approach of exploring how we are in our present experience and the way that one’s past conditioning and relationships act to shape new life events.

The psychotherapeutic relationship is the context within which this exploration is undertaken. Through this mutual enquiry there is the potential for suffering to be transformed, thus allowing greater and more conscious choice in our daily lives. Becoming more fully present in each moment brings us into direct contact with those places where we are fragmented, split and disconnected. Through bringing more of these processes into awareness, we can work with spiritual, physical, psychological and energetic layers of experience, as they emerge in embodiment and come more deeply into contact with the illimitable qualities of compassion, loving kindness, sympathetic joy and equanimity which arise naturally from the core state.

Psychodynamic

In Psychodynamic Counselling the counsellor and client form a working relationship which enables the exploration of the client’s relational patterns. As in other orientations, a psychodynamic counsellor puts great emphasis on forming a good therapeutic relationship, based on acceptance, empathy, and honesty, thus providing a trusting base from which the client can safely explore areas of personal difficulty.

Exploration of issues, memories and everyday experiences occurs through active listening and reflecting back, giving the client an opportunity to experience their own thought processes and the possibility of sharing these, often for the first time, with their therapist.

According to the psychodynamic approach our behaviour, coping mechanisms and ways of relating to people are based on earlier life events which are often held in the unconscious. With increasing insight and awareness and with the help of the therapist, the client becomes conscious of these old patterns and can then choose whether to keep or let go of them.

Transpersonal

A Transpersonal approach to psychotherapy and counselling considers the whole person, honouring the innate capacity of a person to find a way forward in life. It acknowledges that a person may have lost sight of this capacity and/or may never have consciously known it. It is an approach which focuses both on the here-and-now and on the there-and-then, is interested in potential and possibility, and in how an individual creates a meaningful and purposeful life. The approach recognises the importance of a spiritual dimension to life however the individual chooses to define this.

Though primarily a conversational therapy, when appropriate a range of creative methods may be used, for example working with a dream, making a visual image, working with clay, playing with objects in sand, working with physical symptoms. There is no specific formula, and each course of therapy is unique to the individual.

The term “trans” means “beyond”, so “transpersonal” means “beyond the personal”. Practically speaking this means that the therapist is interested in more than the biographical narrative and related issues which concern a person, and aims to help a person recognise unlived potentials. Transpersonal psychotherapy and counselling has its roots in humanistic, Jungian, archetypal, existential and Buddhist psychologies, as well as other traditions, and is sometimes described as a psychology with a soul.

Gestalt

Gestalt is a holistic, client centred approach that acknowledges the unity of mind, body, emotions and spirit. Gestalt takes a positive view of human potential, acknowledging the natural tendency of individuals towards growth and development. It is a practical and creative approach to therapy and emphasises that people cannot be understood in isolation but only as part of the environment in which they live. It underlines the importance of the connection between psychological events and the settings in which the events occur. This involves assisting people to get a fuller sense of the ways they feel, think and act in different situations and at different times.

The focus may be on past experiences, current relationships or working in the here and now attending to body posture and breath or where emotions might be held in the body. Gestalt emphasises awareness, and can offer a contemplative and transpersonal approach through the use of image and metaphor, and by exploring the relationship between inner and outer worlds or different aspects of self.

Gaining information about how people live and relate to the world in which they live, as well as their own internal world, in turn helps increase choices about how to live in the world and interact with other people.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is where several individuals come together to explore personal and interpersonal issues with one or more therapists as a facilitator.

Humans are social beings, therefore, interacting with others is deep-rooted in our psyche and hardwired in our brain. Everyone belongs to a group: family, social network, organisation, workplace, etc. Even though people in a therapy group may not personally know each other, they share a common interest, trait, or concern which binds them together. Just like individual therapy, group therapy has benefits that are unique to it. In a group, one can learn and grow in ways that their original group (which is their family) was unable to do. A therapy group offers an opportunity to embark on a shared journey, enhance awareness, learn more about how you relate to others and a way to experiment with being and behaving differently.

The feeling of being heard and recognised in therapy can be liberating, empowering and lead to feeling less isolated. The group experience enables this to take place in a different context to individual therapy. A therapy group can sit alongside individual therapy and offer a complementary experience. It may be that you have experienced individual therapy for a while and want to explore sharing and connecting with others. A group may also be your first choice of trying out therapy.

Groups tend to develop a set of guidelines that each member agrees to respect. Generally, confidentiality is held by agreeing not to share any personal or identifying information about the other members, though they can share experiences about themselves.

Prior to the first session, the therapist will offer an individual counselling session to become familiar with the person and see if group therapy is appropriate. During group sessions, members may be asked to track or take note of their feelings, thoughts and reactions to what is happening within the group, or towards other members.

Group leaders seldom introduce topics but help the members form trust and to share openly with others.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies The focus of EMDR treatment is the resolution of emotional distress arising from PTSD, difficult childhood experiences or the recovery from the effects of trauma and critical incidents such as road traffic accidents, assault and natural disasters. Other problems treated with EMDR are phobias, panic attacks and anxiety.

EMDR is recognised as being one of the most effective forms of therapy for those suffering from trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).

“All people with PTSD should be offered a course of trauma-focused pyschological treatment… eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)….” (Nice Guidelines CG26, 2005)

Another innovative focus of EMDR is performance enhancement which aims to improve the functioning of people at work, in sports and in the performing arts.

EMDR can be helpful for adults and children.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) was developed in the early 1980s as a collaborative method of looking at how we think, feel and act and at the events underlying these experiences. It is fundamentally relational, based on empathy, genuineness and respect, combining ideas and understanding from different therapies, neuroscience, developmental and attachment theory.

It is cognitive because it draws on and enhances our capacity to stand back and look at what we are doing and experiment creatively with revising our choices.

It is analytic because it helps us to understand how past experiences have shaped those choices.

It is person-centred because it focuses on our way of being in the world, learning styles, use of language and values. It helps us bring compassion and understanding to our different states of mind and celebrates our survival strategies and resources.

Exploring our patterns of relating often brings about beneficial change for those around us as well as for ourselves. This means that CAT is also effective for couples and families working together.

CAT provides a therapeutic structure within which a whole variety of tools can be tailored to individual needs and learning styles and to realistic and manageable goals for change. After a few sessions of initial exploration, the client and therapist agree together how long they might work and what the work will focus on. It is a time-limited therapy – often between 8 and 24 weeks, but it can also be used over a longer period.

Psychodrama

Psychodrama is a creative action group therapy that can help individuals and groups explore the complexity of thoughts and emotions present within any life situation.

Central to the approach is creativity and spontaneity of action, which can reveal aspects of ourselves we have been unaware of, to help us to express ourselves more clearly and re-assess the focus and direction of our life.

The approach is based on Jacob Moreno’s Role Theory. From an early age we tend to adopt roles to match the expectations of those around us. Some roles can become overdeveloped, leaving other potential roles undeveloped. By exploring actively and embodying roles, psychodrama can help us expand our role repertoire thus creating the opportunity for more balance, personal fulfilment and the ability to form healthier relationships.

The symbolic language of dreams, a significant story or metaphor or objects and images can be rich material to explore through these methods.

The role of the psychodrama group and its facilitator is to create a safe environment in which feelings can be acknowledged, expressed and contained. The work is done at whatever level of self-disclosure or depth each individual is comfortable with. An important aspect of the culture of the group is freedom of choice and the support to say no or stop at any time.