My counselling approach follows Gestalt theoretical principles:
I emphasise the therapeutic relationship as being the mechanism for change and therefore I spend time to develop a therapeutic relationship with you.
I am interested in your raw experience (phenomenology) and how you perceive your environment and life experiences. I will support you to become actively curious about your raw experiences to facilitate your self-awareness. This increased self-awareness provides you with choices about what to do with your new awareness.
I believe that your behaviour can not be viewed without reference to its context, which is known as field theory. For example, the behaviour of wearing a thick jumper has a very different meaning when worn on a cold day than when worn on a hot summer day. The appropriateness of the wearing of the jumper depends upon the context.
Here and now
I work with you in the here and now by focusing upon the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of your experience. I do not neglect your past or your future, but instead invite you to consider the impact that your past or future has for you within the present.
Gestalt counsellors believe that individuals are driven to complete their experiences. Once an experience has completed it is stored in long term memory, leaving us to be able to move onto the next experience. When we do not complete an experience we are left with an incomplete experience (unfinished business) and it takes energy for us to hold that in our short-term memory whilst we seek to complete that experience. I help you to process and complete your incomplete experiences to help you move forward in your life rather than being ‘stuck’ in the past or anxious about your future.
When appropriate I encourage you beyond your comfort zone within the safety of the counselling setting and invite you to actively explore yourself. I may do this using guided visualisations where you might imagine an experience using all of your senses. Alternatively you may wish to use art materials, photographs or other objects to portray and explore an experience. Creative experimentation is optional and tailored according to your preferences.
The paradoxical theory of change
I do not expect or need a certain outcome to come about from your counselling journey.
Zones of awareness
As a Gestalt counsellor I believe that individuals make sense of their experiences through three zones of awareness. The inner zone involves physiology (e.g. ‘a tingle in my hands’), and emotions (e.g. ‘I feel irritated’), the middle zone involve thoughts (e.g. ‘I think I will say the wrong thing’) and the outer zone involves behaviours (e.g. ‘walking away’). I support clients to move between each zone of awareness dynamically and flexibly.