Counselling gives you the opportunity to talk about your thoughts and feelings and in doing so find solutions to problems or dilemmas you feel comfortable with.
Many people find that just having the chance to speak freely with somebody who is not personally involved and isn't going to make judgements or give opinions is very helpful.
Working together with a trained counsellor allows you to look at your life in ways you may not have considered before and to gain insight and understanding.
Exploring the assumptions you have about yourself and about life may reveal how they are holding you back and lead you to reassess or challenge those assumptions.
To some extent the terms 'counselling' and 'psychotherapy' are interchangeable. 'Psychotherapy' sometimes implies that the therapy will be longer term and some practioners also use the term to indicate a higher level of academic therapy training. It is not necessarily the case that someone who describes themself as a psychotherapist will be more highly qualified or more experienced than someone who uses the the term counsellor.
Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.
Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood - no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other - hence the need to integrate them.
The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person's personality and needs - integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works - tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.
Benefits of integrated therapy
A key advantage of integrative counselling is its flexibility and focus on the whole of an individual. The integration of different approaches means therapy can be tailored to meet a variety of needs and concerns. It can be particularly beneficial for those who want to overcome negative patterns of behaviour caused by anxieties, fears, phobias or any other mental health issue that is greatly impacting life satisfaction (i.e. addictions, depression, past and current trauma, bereavement and low self-esteem). It has also been found useful in improving daily function in children with autism and learning difficulties. Often these problems can affect the four dimensions of human functioning - affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems.
Anything said in the counselling room is completely confidential. The only exception to this is if a client seems to be at immediate risk of harming themselves or others. Any disclosure would be discussed with the client first.