Mangrove House - Sydney based counsellors

Types of therapy

‘Psychology Today’ provides the following descriptions of the different therapeutic modalities used by our Counsellors at Mangrove House.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy that stems from traditional behaviour therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives. With this understanding, clients begin to accept their hardships and commit to making necessary changes in their behaviour, regardless of what is going on in their lives and how they feel about it.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a short-term form of psychotherapy based on the idea that the way someone thinks and feels affects the way he or she behaves. CBT aims to help clients resolve present-day challenges like depression or anxiety, relationship problems, anger issues, stress, or other common concerns that negatively affect mental health and quality of life. The goal of treatment is to help clients identify, challenge, and change maladaptive thought patterns in order to change their responses to difficult situations.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. The therapist and clients look at patterns in the relationship and take steps to create a secure bond and develop more trust to move into a healthy relationship. Couples in distress can benefit from EFT and learn to improve their relationships. Often, clients are dealing with anger, fear, loss of trust, or sense of betrayal in their relationship. EFT has also been proven effective for couples who are having trouble coping with their own illness or that of a child. In addition to helping the distressed relationship, EFT can also help reduce individual symptoms of depression or trauma.

Gestalt therapy is a client-centred approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience. Instead of simply talking about past situations, clients are encouraged to experience them, perhaps through re-enactment. Through the gestalt process, clients learn to become more aware of how their own negative thought patterns and behaviours are blocking true self-awareness and making them unhappy.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions such as anger and shame, and parts that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts. The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core Self, a concept that describes the confident, compassionate, whole person that is at the core of every individual. IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, (MBCT), is a modified form of cognitive therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices that include present moment awareness, meditation, and breathing exercises. This therapy was formulated to address depression. Using these tools, the mindfulness-based therapist teaches a client to be in the here and now as well as break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a decline into a mood-disordered state; this therapy can help a person fight off a difficult frame of mind before it takes hold.

Motivational interviewing is a counselling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behaviour. It is a practical, empathetic, and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes.

Narrative therapy is a form of counselling that views people as separate from their problems. This allows clients to get some distance from the issue to see how it might actually be helping them, or protecting them, more than it is hurting them. With this new perspective, individuals feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behaviour and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.

Person-centred therapy, also known as Rogerian therapy or client-based therapy, employs a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in sessions such that, in the process, they discover their own solutions. The approach originated in the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers, who believed that every person is unique and, therefore, everyone’s view of his or her own world, and their ability to manage it, should be trusted. Rogers was a proponent of self-actualisation, or the idea that each of us has the power to find the best solutions for ourselves and the ability to make appropriate changes in our lives.

Schema therapy is a type of therapy that targets schemas, a term used clinically to describe maladaptive patterns of thinking that could cause someone to engage in unhealthy behaviour, or to struggle to maintain adult relationships. Schemas are thought to develop during childhood, particularly in children whose emotional and physical needs weren’t met; they may also develop in children who were overindulged or whose parents did not maintain proper boundaries. In adulthood, these schemas are thought to influence an individual’s thoughts and actions in negative ways—leading to behaviours such as avoidance, overcompensation, or excessive self-sacrifice. These behaviours, in turn, can negatively affect relationships and emotional well-being.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) (unlike traditional forms of therapy that take time to analyse problems, pathology and past life events) concentrates on finding solutions in the present time and exploring one’s hope for the future to find quicker resolution of one’s problems. This method takes the approach that you know what you need to do to improve your own life and, with the appropriate coaching and questioning, are capable of finding the best solutions.

Somatic therapy is a form of body-centred therapy that looks at the connection of mind and body and uses both psychotherapy and physical therapies for holistic healing. In addition to talk therapy, somatic therapy practitioners use mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help release the pent-up tension that negatively affects a patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Practitioners of somatic therapy address what they see as a split between the body. Instead, they believe mind and body are intimately connected, though not always in apparent ways. Thought, emotions, and sensations are all believed to be interconnected and influence one another. In somatic therapy there are instances where physical touch is used by a therapist to support a person’s autonomic system regulation. Somatic touch is a considered intervention and is used at the discretion of the counsellor, and in direct response to individual client needs. In no instance does it involve touching between client and counsellor under clothes or any kind of sexual touch.Your counsellor is available to discuss this in your first session together. You are also welcome to raise it at any time with your counsellor if you are concerned or curious about its efficacy. You can also let your counsellor know if you do not want touch as part of your counselling/therapy work. You can change your mind about any of this at any time.

Trauma-informed care understands that expressive, right-brain based modalities must be incorporated into the work for healing to occur. This means moving beyond talk therapy with clients frozen on the sofa. Instead, clients are encouraged to have a greater awareness of body sensations and are supported in incorporating movement as trauma narratives are disclosed. A second feature of trauma informed care relates to the clinician’s ability to help pace the work so clients don’t become emotionally flooded or overwhelmed. It means incorporating good boundaries and making sure that the material that surfaces in session is sufficiently contained so clients can leave the office and function well in the outside world.

  • Bessel van der Kolk
    “We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body."
    Bessel van der Kolk
  • Bessel van der Kolk
    "While trauma keeps us dumbfounded, the path out of it is paved with words, carefully assembled, piece by piece, until the whole story can be revealed."
    Bessel van der Kolk
  • Rumi
    “Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom”
  • Heather Stang
    "Mindfulness lets you expand your view by placing you on the middle ground between denying your pain and overindulging in your suffering... You stay in contact with the entire scope of your existence, and you experience grief without becoming grief itself."
    Heather Stang
  • Carl Jung
    "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
    Carl Jung
  • Russ Harris
    “Psychological flexibility is the ability to adapt to a situation with awareness, openness, and focus and to take effective action, guided by your values.”
    Russ Harris
  • Khalil Gibran
    “Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”
    Khalil Gibran
  • Deepak Chopra
    “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
    Deepak Chopra
  • Fritz Perls
    "We don’t allow ourselves – or we’re not allowed by others – to be entirely ourselves.”
    Fritz Perls
  • Sigmund Freud
    “We are what we are because we have been what we have been, and what is needed for solving the problems of human life and motives is not moral estimates but more knowledge.”
    Sigmund Freud

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