Do you have the feeling that life is meant to be more fulfilling, or easier or more vital than it has been lately? Many people find their way to this site because in some important way, life is not delivering what they had hoped for.
Depression. Anxiety. Grief and loss. Relationship conflict. Indecision. Stress. Addiction and impulsive behaviour. Overwork. Loss of direction or motivation. Low self-esteem or confidence. These can all interfere with living the life you were meant to have.
Counselling can help you find your way through these challenges. I am a counselling psychologist experienced in helping people deal with and overcome all of these difficulties. To find out more about how I may be able to help you, click on one of the links below, or click on the “Services” menu above right.
Is counselling effective? Yes, over 80% of people who see a counsellor experience improvement, and generally fewer than 10% will be worse off after counselling. I measure my effectiveness with each client and publish the aggregate effectiveness [link coming soon - 12/09/2012].
How do you work? I primarily use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT – see more below), but also use other approaches at times, including client-centred counselling, solution-oriented counselling, Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, behavioral activation and motivational interviewing.
How much does it cost? My fee is $150 for a 50 minute session. The Australian Psychological Society’s recommended fee is $222.
How long does it take? That depends on many factors. Most people who see me obtain significant benefit by around 6-10 sessions. The average client who achieves any improvement with me completes therapy in nine sessions. This varies a lot though. To understand some of the factors involved, read more at my ”psychotherapy effectiveness” page [coming soon - 12/09/2012].
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (pronounced ‘ACT’ for short) is a well-researched and theoretically coherent form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). It has been developed and researched over the last 20 years, but has become more widely available only in the last five years or so. The goal of ACT is to help you to make your life ‘workable’. By ‘workable’, I mean that you more consistently act effectively, even when you are experiencing difficult or distressing thoughts or feelings. ACT does not assume that all problems can be solved, but rather that unwanted experiences need not paralyse you or make you incapable of experiencing any contentment or peace.
Here’s how a colleague, Dr Jason Luoma describes ACT:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is about the problem of human suffering, and it’s also about much more than that. It’s about reaching beyond suffering to the larger purpose of people’s lives and helping them get active in really living. ACT is centered on such questions as “What do you really want your life to be about?” or “If you lived in a world where you could have your life be about anything, what would it be?”
ACT (said as one word, not the letters) is a new cognitive-behavior therapy that has gained increasing attention in recent years. ACT emphasizes such processes as mindfulness, acceptance, and values in helping clients overcome obstacles in their lives.
A basic assumption of ACT is that suffering is a normal and unavoidable part of human experience and that it is actually people’s attempts to control or avoid their own painful experiences that leads to much long-term suffering and what doesn’t work in people’s lives. ACT helps people learn ways to let go of the struggle with pain, be more mindful, get clarity on what really matters to them, and to commit to living full, vibrant lives. The goal of therapy is not to eliminate certain parts of one’s experience of life, but rather to learn how to experience life more fully, without as much struggle, and with vitality and commitment.
Further information about ACT can be found at www.contextualpsychology.org and in my blog under the category ACT.
Counselling starts with me listening to you as you relate your concerns. I’ll often ask questions for clarification. I do this because I’m trying not only to understand what has been or is happening to you, but also how you see the world. I’ll often ask questions that are aimed at finding out what resources and strengths you have available in your life. A resource can be anything from a friend to a skill to membership of a religion, club, family or culture.
Once I’ve asked enough questions – and sometimes well before then – we’ll start generating solutions to your problem. A solution can take several forms, depending on the problem, the person and the environment in which the problem shows up. For some people the solution will be that the problem stops showing up. For others it will be that the problem shows up in a different way – it seems to be no longer a problem, or not as distressing. For yet other people the solution may be that they show up in a different way – as more resourceful, skilful, patient, graceful, confident, peaceful or happy.
What counselling isn’t.
Counselling is not teaching, giving advice, coaching, sympathising, psychoanalysing or making someone do what they should do or what is good for them. However, at different times these things may happen in a counselling session. But always in a context of respect and with the intention of reducing suffering. To understand more about my approach to counselling and therapy email or call me, or read more on this site under the tags/categories counselling and therapy.