Approach to Counselling

approach to counselling

My approach is ‘client-centred’ in the sense of being tailored to the issues and needs of the person who presents. It is also attuned to social context. Standard psychological approaches tend to see the problems of clients in individualist terms. This is despite the fact that key aspects of our society and culture do not necessarily support healing, and also contribute to distress. For this reason, I do not see personal problems as solely ‘individual’. Because social factors affect our experience (even when it is hard to recognise this) I am interested in both the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds, and how these intersect to shape client well-being.

In my reading, emotional well-being is not a ‘given’.  It requires active maintenance (an ongoing task which is not assisted by key aspects of our society). Because we are constantly subject to a range of pressures and influences which affect our psychological and physical health, ‘wellness’ is not a fixed end point. While temperament, circumstances and issues vary, many forms of distress in our society are widely shared. Thus while recognising the uniqueness of each person, I do not see ‘personal’ problems as detached from ‘macro’ contexts.

Disruption to well-being takes many forms. But it is significantly influenced by social context. In actively attuning to this dimension, and relating client needs to the contexts which shape them, my approach redresses some long-standing imbalances in approaches to ‘mental health’. It also suggests a range of options for healing.

Ways of working

Problems can be expressed and experienced differently, even when they are widely shared. Thus I draw on specific modalities insofar as they relate to the issue and person concerned. My approach is shaped by client needs rather than determined in advance. While experienced in a range of areas (see below) my way of working is dependent upon client presentation and needs. Deployment of modalities is secondary to the nature of client specifics (hence ‘client-centred’).

The field of counselling and psychotherapy is broad, and includes a vast array of methods and modalities. Research suggests that the quality of the alliance between counsellor and client is more effective than the technique or modality used. This means that no single variety of therapy is superior to others, and that effective counselling is not dependent on the particular modality deployed. But the sheer scope of varieties of psychotherapy on offer can be confusing. Prospective clients often want a broad preliminary sense of how their issue/s will be addressed.

My training is ‘multi-modality’, and because I draw on different approaches, I am integrationist in orientation. Depending on the person, issue and need, we would work ‘in the moment’ and/or ‘reach back’ into the past (dimensions which coexist in any case). My approach is socially attuned, and relational not only in the ‘micro’ sense of seeing people in the context of immediate relationships, but as affected by social factors which impact well-being in often unrecognised ways.

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Issues and areas for which I provide counselling include:

  • Unresolved experiences
  • Complex trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationships
  • Grief and loss
  • Gambling

Sessions can be short or long-term, and preliminary inquiries are welcome.

Pam Stavropoulos

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