My core orientation is existential psychotherapy, but I am also an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist and benefit from training as an integrative practitioner.
Traditional CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a short term, structured psychotherapy. According to NICE guidelines it is considered the most effective approach for a variety of problems (including depression, stress and anxiety). It integrates neuroscientific research into therapeutic practice. The premise of CBT is that thoughts, feelings and behaviour are learned, and therefore may be modified, or unlearned.
My experience as an existential psychotherapist allows me to construct a specific, unique approach for each client, supplementing empirical CBT approaches with philosophical exploration. I believe that an individual’s involvement with the world is complex, and cannot be reduced to a simple therapeutic technique.
Existential analysis addresses tensions around the universal themes of the human condition and investigates the many paradoxes one encounters in life, while emphasizing personal responsibility and choice. Basic issues of existence (eg freedom, purpose of life, isolation, meaninglessness, the inevitability of death) often provoke depression and anxiety and are a source of conflict within the individual. Wellness is seen as the ability to tolerate the challenges inherent in human living with psychological flexibility, and not resorting to attempts to control, suppress or ignore reality.
Over your course of therapy, I will assist you in illuminating your assumptions, and underlying belief systems so that you can decide whether you wish to further explore, challenge or leave them. We will work together to formulate new adaptive leaning experiences to challenge old ways of being. The process is designed to guide you in discovering your own answers through the use of thought-provoking questions, shared dialogue and the trying out of alternative behaviours.
My way of integrating CBT and existential psychotherapy utilises evidence based, technical aspects of change whilst supplementing the process with a deeper philosophical discussion, aimed at discovery of the meanings you create, and how they impact how you experience your life.