Approaches to Therapy

The Awareness Centre offers many approaches to therapy.
Please click on a link below for details:

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a time-limited therapy which focuses on repeating patterns that were set up in childhood as a way of coping with emotional difficulties. The therapist works together with the client to recognise ineffective patterns and support them to adjust and change.

CAT is particularly helpful for clients recognise relationship patterns that continue throughout life and are difficult to change without help. Features specific to CAT include the therapist writing a reformulation letter to the patient early in therapy, which is the working hypothesis for the therapy and helps promote change. The therapy is usually 16-20 sessions with the ending identified from the start.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act. CBT encourages you to talk about how you think about yourself, the world and other people as well as how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings

By talking about these things, CBT can help you to change how you think (‘cognitive’) and what you do (‘behaviour’), which can help you feel better about life.

Existential Therapy

Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual’s confrontation with the givens of existence. The existential psychotherapist is generally not concerned with the client’s past; instead, the emphasis is on the choices to be made in the present and future.

The therapist and client may reflect on how the client has answered life’s questions in the past, but attention ultimately shifts to searching for a new and increased awareness in the present and enabling a new freedom and responsibility to act.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively recent therapeutic approach to the treatment of traumatic memories in the wake of psychological trauma such as those found in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is based on the theory that bilateral stimulation, mostly in the form of eye movements, allows the processing of traumatic memories. While the patient focuses on specific images, negative sensations and associated cognitions, bilateral stimulation is applied to desensitise the individual to these memories and more positive sensations and cognitions are introduced.

Although there is still uncertainty about the theoretical concepts underlying EMDR and the role of bilateral stimulation, it is an effective and proven treatment for PTSD and traumatic memories. It should form part of treatment approaches offered to individuals with PTSD.

Family and Systemic Therapy

Family and Systemic Therapy is a process whereby Psychotherapists and Family Therapists work with families, couples, individuals and organisations. The work focuses on finding practical ways to support each other by focusing on interpersonal relationships.

Systemic psychotherapists recognise that different viewpoints exist and the work includes working collaboratively sometimes individually and sometimes as part of a team.  A systemic approach supports the family to hear different possibilities about what might be causing the difficulties and offer different solutions to find a resolution.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy focuses more on process (what is happening) than content (what is being discussed). The emphasis is on what is being done, thought and felt at the moment rather than on what was, might be, could be, or should be. It teaches therapists and clients the phenomenological method of awareness, in which perceiving, feeling, and acting are distinguished from interpreting and reshuffling pre-existing attitudes.

Explanations and interpretations are considered less reliable than what is directly perceived and felt. Clients and therapists in Gestalt therapy dialogue communicate their phenomenological perspectives. Differences in perspectives become the focus of experimentation and continued dialogue. The goal is for clients to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, learn to accept and value themselves.

Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy encourages people to think about their feelings and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions. The emphasis is on supporting the client through self-development and achieving their highest potential. A “Client-Centred” or “Non-Directive” approach is often used and the therapy can be described as “holistic” or looking at a person as a whole.  The client’s creative instincts may be used to explore and resolve personal issues.

Integrative Therapy

Integrative therapy draws on several different therapeutic techniques to address a client’s issues. Practitioners who offer integrative therapy have a broad field of knowledge to draw upon. The key idea behind integrative therapy is that each individual person is unique and distinctive, which means that a one size fits all approach to therapy will not be effective. Practitioners who utilise integrative therapy develop ways to work with a client’s unique needs rather than providing a generic approach which may be less effective.

Person Centred Therapy

Person Centred therapy deals with the ways in which people perceive themselves consciously rather than having a therapist try to interpret unconscious thoughts or ideas. There are many different components and tools used in this approach, including active listening, authenticity, paraphrasing, and more.

The real point is that the client already has the answers to the problems and the job of the therapist is to listen without making any judgements, without giving advice, and to simply help the client feel accepted and understand their own feelings.


Psychoanalysis is related to a specific body of theories about the relationships between conscious and unconscious mental processes. The purpose of psychoanalysis is to bring unconscious mental material and processes into full consciousness so that the client can gain more control over his or her life. The goal is the uncovering and resolution of the patient’s internal conflicts.

The treatment focuses on the formation of an intense relationship between the therapist and patient, which is analysed and discussed in order to deepen the patient’s insight into his or her problems.

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy looks at how the unconscious mind influences thoughts and behaviours. Psychoanalytic therapy looks at how the unconscious mind can influence our thoughts and behaviours. This includes looking at early childhood experiences to discover how these events might have shaped the individual and how they contribute to current situations.

People undergoing psychoanalytic therapy often meet with their therapist at least once a week and may remain in therapy for a number of weeks, months or years.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy’s primary focus is to reveal the unconscious content of a client’s psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. In this way, it is similar to psychoanalysis. It also relies on the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist more than other forms of therapy. In terms of approach, this form of therapy also tends to be more eclectic than others, taking techniques from a variety of sources, rather than relying on a single system of intervention.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) encourages the client to focus on their emotional problems in order to understand, challenge and change the irrational beliefs that underpin them. REBT can help clients to strengthen their conviction in alternative rational beliefs by acting in ways that are consistent with them and thus encourage a healthier outlook.

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis is based on a very simple model, in which each person is considered to have three primary personality modes or ‘ego states’: Parent, Adult and Child. And at any given time, one of these modes is likely to be dominant. The significance of the three modes is as follows:

Parent – In Parent mode a person can be nurturing or controlling. And there are positive and negative aspects to each of these. For example, a positive controlling parent sets boundaries and gives people space; a negative controlling parent can be domineering and strongly opinionated.

Adult – In Adult mode a person operates in an objective, rational, logical way.

Child  In Child mode a person can be free or adaptive.

Transpersonal and Psychosynthesis Therapy

Psychosynthesis is a holistic and person-centred approach to therapy. It is a transpersonal psychology which means that as well as addressing life’s problems on a physical, emotional and intellectual level, it holds a spiritual view for those who are interested in exploring or developing this aspect of themselves.

Psychosynthesis brings together and integrates many principles and techniques from classical and contemporary approaches in both Eastern psycho-spiritual and Western psychology. Whilst it adds its own particular models and techniques to this broad base, Psychosynthesis remains an eclectic discipline designed to adapt itself to the uniqueness of each of us as individuals.

Our private counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists are registered or accredited with one or more of the following professional bodies: