My training at the University of Edinburgh focussed on two theoretical approaches; ‘person-centred’ and ‘psychodynamic’.
The person-centred approach was developed by Carl Rogers in the USA in the 1940’s and 50’s who believed the client was the expert in their own life. As such he was very much focussed on the client’s current perspective on his or her issues and believed that the client and counsellor should be on more of an equal footing.
The psychodynamic approach has it’s roots in Freud’s psychoanalytical teachings and are of more historic European origin. The theory has been adapted by others over the years but the main beliefs are; in the existence of the ‘unconscious’ to impact on our day to day life and in the idea that ‘unhelpful functioning’ in our current life can be traced back to early life events. The counsellor-client relationship is very important and indeed is a ‘tool’ used in the therapeutic work.
How I work
I work primarily from a psychodynamic perspective, however having trained in both methods I value and incorporate aspects of the person-centred approach in my work, along with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) practices that I have trained in since gaining my diploma.
I believe our early experiences and particularly our early significant relationships have a profound impact on who we are today and how we interact with the world around us. In this way the past can often be dynamically alive in our present, and not always in a good way.
By spending some time talking our issues through we can become aware of unhelpful patterns of behaviour, stemming from our past, which are holding us back in the present. In becoming aware and gaining a level of control over them, it allows us to make fresh and healthy choices. This can be hugely gratifying and empowering.
Whilst that is all theoretical and of interest to me, sometimes just being listened to in a non-judgemental space can make a real difference and be a powerful thing in itself.