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APPROACHES

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)

CBT is an evidence-based therapy that has been shown to be effective for a wide range of difficulties including low mood, anxiety and sexual difficulties. It is a collaborative model where we will work together to understand the ways you think and behave, and how this impacts on the way you feel (your emotions). CBT helps people to work towards developing skills and strategies to reduce emotional distress and change less helpful behaviours.

 

You will be asked to complete different tasks and practice using new strategies in between your sessions to enable you to develop these skills so you can continue to use them in the future. The number of sessions for CBT will differ for individuals and their presenting difficulties, but usually lasts between 8 - 16 sessions.

THIRD-WAVE THERAPIES

Mindfulness Based Therapy 

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: to the present moment, on purpose, and without judgement. Mindfulness-based therapies (including Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)) focus on building up skills in mindfulness through daily practice, as a means to develop a greater awareness and understanding of your mind, mood and body, and the relationship between them. This approach helps you to change the relationship you have with unhelpful thoughts and emotions so they have a less distressing impact on you. Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to be particularly helpful for people who experience recurrent depression and anxiety, sexual difficulties, and long-term health conditions.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

As the name suggests, ACT (pronounced "act") has a core message, which is to recognise and accept the things which are outside of our control, and commit to taking action that leads to a richer, more fulfilled life. The main aim of ACT is to create a meaningful life for ourselves, whilst accepting and making room for the pain that life inevitably brings. ACT does this by teaching different psychological skills (including Mindfulness) to handle painful thoughts and uncomfortable feelings effectively, in a way so they have much less impact on our lives.  ACT also helps us to clarify the things in life which are truly important and meaningful to us, and then draws on this knowledge to inspire and motivate us to set goals and take action which leads to a more fulfilling life.

The evidence-base suggests that ACT is particularly helpful for working with long-term physical health conditions (including chronic pain), low mood and anxiety. Like CBT, ACT is a short-term therapy, and is usually delivered across 8 - 16 sessions.

SYSTEMIC THERAPIES

Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapy is an approach which is often used with couples or families, which views problems as occurring between people (rather than 'within' individuals). This approach attempts to understand difficulties in the context of relationships and an individual's wider systems. The systemic approach is interested in the beliefs that each member of the system hold, how these beliefs have formed, and how they influence our behaviour.

The aim of systemic therapy is to introduce different ideas and beliefs around how problems are viewed and overcome. Systemic therapy can be particularly helpful when working with more than one individual (e.g. couples or family work), or when the system surrounding the individual has an important role to play in moving towards change.

The number and frequency of sessions for systemic therapy vary. Sessions are often spaced 4 - 6 weeks apart, and for many people just a handful of sessions are enough to help them move towards change.

 

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a type of systemic therapy, and views problems as separate from individuals (again, that is, problems occur between people and not 'within' individuals). Narrative therapy assumes that when people come to therapy, they already have many skills, competencies, beliefs and abilities that will assist them to make the changes they want to make. Often when people come to therapy, they tell a story about themselves which is negative and problem focused, which has a constraining effect on the person's life, beliefs and behaviour. Narrative therapy aims to uncover new stories which highlight the individual's strengths, skills and abilities which were previously hidden by the dominant, problem-saturated stories. 

PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychodynamic psychotherapy has a focus on the unconscious mind, with the idea that it is here we hold feelings or memories that are too difficult to process in our conscious mind. This approach encourages individuals to explore unresolved difficulties, relationships or conflicts with the aim of bringing the unconscious mind into consciousness. This allows you and your therapist to collaboratively develop an understanding of how your past difficulties may be affecting your present difficulties, mood, behaviour and ways of coping. 

 

The therapy will involve talking about how you felt and behaved during past events and will look to connect the dots between these events and how you interact with others today. Part of this may also involve discussing the relationship between you and your therapist. Psychodynamic therapy is particularly helpful for those who are interested in exploring themselves deeply and in seeking self-knowledge, alongside symptom relief. The overall outcome is increased insight and self understanding, together with improved interactions with others and more authentic, rewarding relationships. Short-term psychodynamic therapies include Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), and are usually delivered across 16-24 sessions.