Tel: 011 3914891 Cell.: 0823016848
8 Cormorant Drive, Glenmarais x22
Kempton Park, Johannesburg
I mainly work with adults and late adolescents in both English and Afrikaans. I adjust my approach to most effectively deal with the presenting problem. Although I am trained to use a variety of therapeutic styles and techniques, there are 2 primary styles I like to use - mostly because of the effectiveness of these styles:
It takes courage to approach someone you do not know for help with the problems that you are struggling with. Together with my clients I have been dealing with life narratives which are problematic in many ways and filled with stories of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive living and addictions. These “problem-saturated” stories tend to take over people’s lives and attempt to stop them from living their lives in the manner they would prefer.
In my training as a narrative therapist I discovered that it is possible to discover new ways of living without the problem being the driving force in a person’s life. When I have a narrative conversation with people, we discover together how the person’s strengths, abilities, values and commitments may have taken a back seat to the problem and how beliefs and ideas that the person may have, could be supporting the problem. My approach is one of non-blaming and acceptance of the person because I view the problem as separate from the person. To me the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
Narrative therapy assumes that the counsellor need the necessary counselling skills, BUT it also assumes that you are the EXPERT in your life! Narrative counselling therefore place your experience in a central position of importance and empowers you to work with your own experiences in a healing way. Some of the assumptions of this style of therapy are:
1. We all create stories of our lives and we tend to live accordingly. These stories become the constituting guidelines for how we live. They shape not only the way we think and act, but also how we make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
2. Our stories about ourselves have been influenced by our experiences, circumstances, environment, community and culture.
3. Our stories are always based on SELECTED events—they are never complete.
4. We all have some key stories about ourselves that we hang onto quite tightly.
5. We try to fit our experiences (new and different) into the stories we already have.
6. When our experience does not fit easily into the stories that have been important to us, our stories act as a filter. Therefore they can blind us to feelings, thoughts and behaviours that don’t fit our stories.
7. We don’t have to passively accept the stories we have created and lived with, or which were imposed upon us. Our stories may not reflect and contain the full spectrum of what we prefer and are capable of. There are always other and richer stories about us, the world and the people around us which might be silenced by the current stories. When we are empowered to access these alternative stories, we might be able not only to create new meanings about ourselves, but also discover new and preferred ways of living.
8. In our lives there are always material for new stories that we have not yet told ourselves or other people. It is these stories that often free and empower us to think and act in new, more helpful, ways.
9. People present for counselling when they get stuck on a problem story and (as a result) become stuck as a person too.
10. Narrative Therapy uses the stories people bring about themselves and their lives, to re-shape new lenses, new stories, new experiences and new futures. It is the role of the counsellor/psychologist to help you look at your stories/life in ways that help you “author” new stories and “re-author” old ones.
11. These new stories can have remarkably healing effects.
Narrative Therapy is therefore an approach that uses the stories we tell about of our lives as the key to the healing or growth process. In the face of serious and sometimes potentially deadly problems, the idea of hearing or telling stories may seem a trivial pursuit. It is hard to believe that conversations can shape new realities. But they do. And they help to shape events into narratives/stories of hope.
Often when people go to see a counsellor, their experiences of life are dominated by problem stories (for example: stories of ‘failure’, self-blame, a deficiency in something etc). Narrative therapists look for exceptions to problem-dominated stories because these exceptions are entry points into alternative stories (for example: stories of survival, of resilience, resistance, coping or managing etc). Although we sometimes find ourselves reducing our experience down to a few words (e.g. ‘I’m a failure at relationships’), other stories can and do exist. Therapeutic conversations can assist us to discover alternative ways of understanding our lives and recover lost or forgotten experiences of ourselves. A narrative therapist has learned and honed particular technical skills that can be used to investigate a range of problems and these kinds of counseling conversations can even be quite enjoyable!
The way we usually talk in psychology, churches, the medical profession, courts, schools, the workplace and the rest of our daily lives tend to glue the person and the problem together. Talk such as: ‘He/she is the depressed spouse’, or ‘They are a dysfunctional family’, or ‘She/he is a problem child’ or ‘He/she is the problem in the organization, is accepted ways of speech as common to kitchens as to the boardrooms in the corporate world.
In the narrative lifestyle we prefer to separate the person and the problem.
This approach not only frees the person victimized by the problem of guilt, but also empowers her/him to take action against the problem. Furthermore it helps the people surrounding the victim to join hands in a collaborating action against the problem.
EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY
I was trained in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) by ICEEFT (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy) and continue with ongoing training under supervision with this institution. My work includes couples in a same-sex relationship.
Emotionally focused couple therapy is a relatively short-term, systematic intervention.
EFT is one of the most researched, delineated and empirically-validated approaches in the field of couples therapy. The significant role of emotional communication in the development of relationship distress is acknowledged in this approach. Rather than a focus on resolving content issues, EFT structures small steps to create safe emotional engagement so that partners can move from relational distress to a more secure bond between them.
My Counseling Style…
Individual counseling is geared towards helping you with your personal struggles. One on one. In an atmosphere of freedom and confidentiality.
To read more about individual psychotherapy, please click the link below:
Couples counselling is all about understanding the dynamics in your personal relationships. Especially with loved ones. And then finding ways to improve these relationships.
To read more about couples and marriage therapy, please click te link below: