Understanding Therapeutic Approaches in Counselling | A Guide from Shifting Tides Counselling & Mediation

Have you found yourself, going around and around in circle's with arguments and conflict? Understanding the different therapeutic approaches can empower you on your journey to mental and emotional well-being. A 'therapeutic approach' is essentially the lens through which a counsellor views and addresses a client's issues. These approaches generally fall into two main categories: behavioural and psychodynamic.

Let's explore these approaches and how they apply to real-life scenarios, such as relationships and conflict resolution.

Behavioural Approaches

Behavioural approaches are often short-term and concentrate on modifying specific behaviours and thought patterns. For example, in a relationship setting, if one partner has a tendency to react with anger during disagreements, a behavioural approach would involve identifying this reaction as a problem and developing strategies to manage and alter this behaviour. Techniques might include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), where the counsellor works with the individual to recognise negative thought patterns that trigger anger and replace them with more constructive thoughts and behaviours.

Scenario - Managing Conflict in Relationships
Imagine a couple where one partner frequently shuts down during conflicts, leading to unresolved issues and growing resentment. Through a behavioural approach, the counsellor could help this partner recognise the shutdown behaviour, understand its triggers, and develop healthier ways to communicate during conflicts, such as using "I" statements and active listening techniques.

Psychodynamic Approaches

Psychodynamic approaches delve deeper into an individual's personality, family history, and early life experiences. This method seeks to uncover the root causes of a person's problems, addressing the underlying issues for long-term healing and growth. For instance, in the context of relationships, a person who struggles with trust might have unresolved issues from past betrayals or a tumultuous family background. A psychodynamic approach would explore these past experiences to understand how they influence current behaviours and relationship patterns.

Scenario - Understanding Deep-Rooted Issues in Relationships
Consider a situation where one partner exhibits jealousy and distrust, impacting the relationship's harmony. A psychodynamic approach would explore the jealous partner's past, perhaps uncovering childhood experiences of parental infidelity or abandonment that contribute to their current trust issues. By addressing these deep-seated fears and insecurities, the counsellor helps the individual and the couple work towards a more trusting and secure relationship.

How These Approaches Impact Conflict Resolution

Conflict in relationships is often a complex interplay of behaviours and deep-seated emotional patterns. Behavioural approaches can provide immediate, practical tools to manage and resolve conflicts by changing specific behaviours and thought processes. On the other hand, psychodynamic approaches offer a profound understanding of the emotional and psychological roots of conflict, paving the way for deeper, long-lasting change.

Example - Combining Approaches for Effective Resolution
A couple might come to counselling with frequent, intense arguments. The behavioural aspect could involve learning communication techniques to reduce the intensity of arguments and foster more constructive discussions. Concurrently, the psychodynamic aspect might explore each partner's background, revealing how their past influences their current conflict styles. By combining these approaches, the couple can develop immediate strategies for managing conflicts while also working towards resolving underlying issues.

At Shifting Tides Counselling & Mediation, we integrate these therapeutic approaches to tailor our counselling techniques to meet your unique needs. Whether addressing behavioural patterns or delving into the psychodynamic roots of your challenges, our goal is to guide you towards holistic and effective solutions.

Understanding these therapeutic approaches empowers you to engage more fully in the counselling process, ensuring a supportive and transformative journey.

If you’re ready to explore how these methods can help you, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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