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Individual and Family Counselling

Therapeutic counselling is the skilful and principled use of relationship that provides a safe and respectful environment for people to explore the things that limit the ability to be happy, hopeful, and content in life and relationships.

Therapeutic counselling addresses issues such as: general dissatisfaction with life and relationships,history of emotional hurt and painful experiences, depression, parenting concerns, self-harm, peer relationships, coping with school & coping with change.

Counselling Techniques Offered:

The Hakomi Method

Hakomi is a very respectful and effective approach to personal counselling and therapy. The Hakomi method believes that change happens through our body and mind. The Hakomi method and brain research supports, that the body holds a different kind of memory than our brain. Hakomi Therapy utilizes the process of Mindfulness; helping the client study their experience, find meaning to that experience, and then to create the kind of change that brings about a greater ability to choose what we believe and how we want to be in the world. Kirsti Giacobbo, an Individual/Family Therapist at Gaia, is certified to offer this effective method of therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment is a cognitive-behavioral approach created by the psychologist and researcher, Marsha Linehan, that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment for survivors of trauma and has also been shown to be a very effective therapy for other challenges to mental wellness. The theory behind the approach is that some people are more prone to experience intense suffering and take great actions to attempt to soothe this suffering toward certain emotional situations in romantic partnerships, family and friend relationships. DBT theory and intervention accounts for the psychosocial impacts of environmental trauma while taking into account an individual’s unique biology and focuses on building skills in core mindfulness (how to remain present), emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness to learn how to develop, maintain or repair relationships, reduce emotional pain and meet life goals.

Narrative Therapy

Our lives are defined by the stories we tell about ourselves. In narrative therapy, the counsellor asks you to describe events from your life that highlight your values, relationships, knowledge, and skills. This type of therapy helps you to see that your life is more than the problem you are facing, and the counsellor collaborates with you to find solutions. Together, we discover how the problem has influenced you, your relationships, and your views of the world while being clear that the problem is not who you are. Through telling our stories we change our relationship to the problems we face so we can move forward in change.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

This is a scientifically tested form of therapy that focuses on the interrelationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. It is based on the theory that the way people feel and what they do because of the way they perceive and think about a situation. For example, if you spill a cup of coffee and think “I am so stupid” this will have a different emotional and behavioural outcome than if you think “Mistakes happen”. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on the faulty beliefs and thoughts we have about ourselves and situations. It is often short-term, focused on present situations, and has been proven to be very effective in treating anxiety and depression. Your counsellor will teach you skills that you can apply for the rest of your life.

Bibliotherapy

This type of therapy is the use of the written word to help people heal. There are several different methods. The therapist can recommend fiction or non-fiction books about those who have been through similar situations to help you feel like you are not alone but connected to a history of those who have come before you. This can also help instill hope. Books can also be recommended that teach particular skills or solutions in greater detail. Finally, journaling can be an important component of therapy to help you discover your strengths and re-write your own story.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

This a well-researched evidence-based therapy that is used to help resolve symptoms of trauma, including disturbing memories. The basic idea is that when trauma is experienced, memories can interfere with healthy ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving. This can lead to other mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and addictions. EMDR is considered the industry standard for treating trauma and numerous studies have shown it is as effective or more so than anti-depressant medication and exposure Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Therapy is time-limited and involves 8 stages to resolve the issues that may keep you from moving forward.

Mindfulness

Inspired by the practice of Buddhist meditation, mindfulness is the process of becoming aware of and accepting your emotions, thoughts, and sensations in the present moment. Mindfulness skills can be incorporated into many other therapies. This compassionate and non-judgmental focus on the present moment is effective in alleviating many kinds of suffering from anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive thoughts.

(AEDP) Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

AEDP therapists work with clients to build a secure base so the client can work through overwhelming experiences – while undoing aloneness with such experiences. Client’s emotional experiences, (be they painful or joyful, or in the past absent of optimal care giving) are processed in the here-and-now working towards having a corrective emotional experience. Informed by attachment studies, the secure base is effectively established through the therapist’s moment-to-moment tracking of the dyadic affective attunement, disruption, and repair. It is in the attunement, relationship, and experience of emotion with a safe other that the brain can engage in creating corrective neurological pathways to heal from trauma. (adapted from AEDP institute website)

(EFT) Emotion Focussed Therapy for Individuals

Emotions are adaptive, guide attachment, and have a tendency toward growth. EFT focuses on helping people:

  • become aware of and express their emotions;
  • learn to tolerate and regulate emotions;
  • reflect on emotions to make sense of them, and transform them.

Learning about emotions is not enough; in EFT clients experience emotions in the safety of the therapy session. EFT helps clients become aware of and make productive use of their emotions in their daily lives. Clients learn which of their emotions they can trust and rely on; and which are residues of painful memories and are problematic to their current life, and need to be changed.

(EFT) Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples

image010(EFT) Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples is a strengths-based approach developed by Dr. Sue Johnson.

“The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship.” (Taken from Dr. Sue Johnson’s website).

EFT therapists work with couples to build new cycles of bonding interactions and replace negative cycles such as pursue-withdraw or criticize-defend. These new cycles then become self-reinforcing and can create permanent change. The relationship can evolve to become a safe haven and a healing environment for both partners. This approach to therapy is helpful for any relationships intimate, parent-child, sibling and/or family therapy.

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