The Awareness Centre offers many approaches to therapy.
Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies
Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies are based on the way that you think (cognitive) and/or on the way that you behave. These therapies recognise that it is possible to change or recondition our thoughts and behaviours in order to overcome some issues and impact our emotions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of behavioural therapy that uses various mindfulness strategies to help us accept the difficulties that we face in life. ACT does not aim to directly change or stop unwanted or negative experiences. It, instead, aims to help individuals to accept these as a normal part of life, allowing you to then choose a valued direction in which to take action and make positive changes.
Behavioural therapy is focused on human behaviour and looks to eradicate maladaptive or unwanted behaviours, such as addictions, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Behaviour therapists believe that behaviour is learned and can, therefore, be unlearned. As well as the specific behaviour itself, the behaviour therapist will look at the thoughts and feelings that lead to the behaviour, or occur as a result of the behaviour, to better understand what is going on for you.
Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) is a time-limited therapy that marries together the ideas from analytic psychology and cognitive therapy. It looks at past events and experiences and aims to understand why a person feels, thinks, and behaves the way they do, and then helps them to problem solve and develop new ways of coping. The therapist works together with the client to recognise ineffective patterns and support them to adjust and change.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and behave. 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
Cognitive Therapy is based o the principle that thoughts and perceptions can impact our feelings and behaviour, and looks at ways to reassess negative thoughts so individuals can learn more flexible, positive ways of thinking that will subsequently influence behaviours and emotions.
Based on cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) looks to help those who experience emotions very intensely. The approach was originally created in the late 1980s to help people with borderline personality disorder, however, it is now used to help several mental health challenges.
For some people, when something traumatic happens to them, the memory of this traumatic experience comes crashing back into their mind, forcing them to relive the event with the same intensity. These experiences usually come in the forms of flashbacks or nightmares and are thought to occur because the mind was too occupied with surviving during the event to process what was going on. This means that the sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings of and surrounding this traumatic event are stored in the brain in their rawest form, ready to be accessed when something triggers a recollection of the original event.
Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytical Therapies
Psychodynamic and psychoanalytical therapies look at how your unconscious thoughts and perceptions developed throughout your childhood, and how these may impact your current thoughts and behaviours.
These therapies aim at creating deep-seated change in your emotional development, helping you to understand and resolve your problems by increasing your awareness of yourself and your relationships.
Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) is a type of interpersonal therapy, meaning that it looks at the way that we relate to others and how this impacts the way we see ourselves. This approach aims to help you understand the links between what you’re struggling with and what is happening in your relationships. One of the core beliefs of DIT is that when we can deal with relationship problems more effectively, our psychological symptoms tend to improve.
Also known as Jungian analysis, Jungian therapy is a psychoanalytic approach that was developed by Carl Jung who is considered, alongside Freud, to be one of the pioneers of modern depth psychology, particularly of the unconscious mind.
Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic process that focuses on an individual’s unconscious and deep-rooted thoughts. Developed by Sigmund Freud, it takes the view that our current behaviour, thoughts, and feelings are directly influenced by our childhood and past experiences. Over time these can become repressed and may manifest themselves as depression or other negative symptoms.
Psychoanalytic therapy is a form of talking therapy based on the theories of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic therapy explores how the unconscious mind influences thoughts and behaviours, intending to offer insight and resolution to the person seeking therapy.
Psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic approach that embraces the work of all analytic therapies. While the roots of psychodynamic therapy lie predominantly in Freud’s approach of psychoanalysis, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, and Melanie Klein are all widely recognised for their involvement in further developing the concept and application of psychodynamics.
Humanistic therapies focus on self-development, growth, and responsibilities. They seek to help you find your strengths, creativity, and choice in any situation.
These approaches are based on the belief that we all naturally gravitate towards what is good for us, only being temporarily blocked by difficult life experiences. It believes that with the right support we will all self-actualise (reach our best potential).
Existential therapy looks to explore difficulties from a philosophical point of view, focusing on the human condition holistically, highlighting our capacities, and encouraging us to take responsibility for our successes.
Gestalt therapy is guided by the relational theory principle, that every individual is whole (mind, body, and soul), and that they are best understood in relation to their current situation. The approach combines this relational theory with the present state, focusing strongly on self-awareness and the ‘here and now’
Human Givens therapy is based on the premise that humans have a set of innate needs (or ‘givens’), which determine our sense of wellbeing. It is believed that these needs have been refined over thousands of years and that we have in-built resources to help fill these needs.
Also known as client-centred therapy, the person-centred approach is a humanistic approach to therapy that deals with ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously, rather than how a counsellor can interpreter their unconscious thoughts or ideas.
Psychosynthesis is a therapeutic approach that derives from psychoanalysis. It was developed in the early 20th century by Roberto Assagioli who, unlike Freud, believed in a more inclusive concept of humanity.
Reality therapy is a person-centred approach that focuses on the here and now rather than issues from the past. It promotes problem-solving and making better choices to achieve specific goals.
Also known as solution-focused brief therapy or brief therapy, solution-focused therapy is an approach to therapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. Although it does acknowledge present problems and past causes, it mostly focuses on exploring your current resources and future hopes.
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a widely recognised form of modern psychology, designed to promote personal growth and change. TA is based on the theory that each person has three ego-states: parent, child, and adult. These are used, along with other key TA concepts, tools, and models to analyse how individuals communicate and to identify what interaction is needed for a better outcome.
The core aim of transpersonal psychology is to explore human growth and help people to discover a deep and more enduring essential self that exists beyond the conditioned ego. The methodology behind this therapeutic process is a combination of spiritual traditions from around the world, which are integrated with elements of contemporary psychology.
Creative expression plays an important role in our development and in many cases it has been found to assist in relieving mental distress. Arts therapies use creative arts in a therapeutic setting with a trained therapist in order to encourage individuals to draw on their inner creative resources and express their feelings without necessarily having to use words.
Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses art and other artistic mediums to help you explore and express thoughts and emotions without necessarily using words. Art therapy can be useful If you find it difficult to say what you are feeling, particularly if you are experiencing confusing or distressing emotions. In fact, doing something with your hands, i.e. holding a pen or paintbrush can help you to feel more grounded and connected to the world around you.
Dramatherapy is a type of therapy that allows you to explore emotional difficulties through the medium of drama. This could involve a variety of activities including writing and learning scripts, improvisation exercises, or activities using puppets and masks.
Music therapy is a type of creative therapy that involves listening to and/or playing music. The therapy utilises the social and communicative nature of music to foster self-awareness, communication skills, and self-esteem and aims to facilitate positive changes in behaviour.
Also known as dance movement therapy, dance therapy is based on the theory that a person’s movements reflect their thinking patterns and feelings. The aim of dance therapy, therefore, is to use dance and movement to facilitate emotional, mental, spiritual, and social growth.
Although there are four main categories that psychological therapies usually fall into, there are also several specific therapies that don’t fall into these categories but can be equally as helpful.
Although all talking therapies involve compassion, Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) specifically aims to help those struggling with shame and self-criticism. Often these can be the driving forces behind other conditions such as anxiety and depression.
CFT is considered to be an integrative therapy as it uses tools from other psychotherapies, as well as research and tools from Buddhism, neuroscience, and evolutionary therapy.
Animals have been used in therapy for thousands of years and, while a range of animals is known for being therapeutic, horses are becoming particularly well-known for their ability to foster change.
Family therapy gives families the chance to express and explore their feelings in a safe, non-judgemental environment. Often the aim is to improve communication, discuss and resolve any differences and difficulties, and find a way to move forward together.
While the term ‘group therapy’ can refer to any kind of psychotherapy that is delivered in a group, it is most commonly associated with a specific type of therapy that makes use of the group dynamic. Having therapy in a group dynamic can offer many benefits including the creation of a support network and the opportunity to meet others experiencing similar concerns.
Integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements from different approaches. Integrative therapists believe that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations and that each person needs to be considered as unique. Therefore, counselling techniques need to be tailored to the individual.
Mindfulness aims to alleviate stress, reconnect us with ourselves, feel more attuned with our emotions, and generally more aware of ourselves both mentally and physically. Mindfulness is a specific way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, without judgement. It doesn’t eliminate the stressors of life but, with practice, it can help us take notice of negative habitual reactions to these stressors.
Sometimes, children start to display patterns of behaviour that disrupt their lives and the lives of those around them. These behaviours include excessive anger, fear, or worry that may be impacting their development.
Schema Therapy combines elements of cognitive, behavioural, attachment, psychodynamic, and gestalt models, making it truly integrative. Similarly to CBT, Schema Therapy is structured and specific, however, the time that it takes and the focus of the sessions will vary according to the individual.
Narrative therapy aims to help people to become, and embrace being, an expert in their own lives. There is an emphasis on the stories that we develop and carry around with us. As we experience various events and interactions throughout our lives, we attribute meaning and significance to them which influences how we see the world and ourselves. These stories and narratives can impact our sense of self.
Very few relationships are conflict-free. Whether it is the odd disagreement or repeatedly arguing, it is natural to start questioning the longevity of a relationship. However, when an important relationship starts to falter, our health and happiness can suffer too.