Psychotherapy Approaches that inform my practice

Psychodynamic Counselling / Psychotherapy:

This approach stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. The client is encouraged to talk about childhood relationships with parents and other significant people and the therapist focuses on the client/therapist relationship (the dynamics) and in particular on the transference. Transference is when the client projects onto the therapist feelings experienced in previous significant relationships. The Psychodynamic approach is derived from Psychoanalysis but usually provides a quicker solution to emotional problems.


There are many variations in Systemic Therapy in which a patient's symptoms are seen in the context of their wider family system and community network. By recognising the patterns it is then possible to help the individual, couple or family think differently about their situation, locate and utilise their strengths towards their goals. This approach is also Person Centred in that it pays particular importance to the unique characteristics of each person.

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT)

This combines Cognitive and Behavioural techniques. Clients are taught ways to change thoughts and expectations and relaxation techniques are used. It has been effective for stress-related ailments, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and (at the same time as drug treatment) major depression. See NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence).

Child Psychotherapy:

The aim of Child Psychotherapy is to provide a safe confidential space for the child or young person to explore at their pace and express themselves, a place to be listened to and gain an understanding of their behaviour and relationships.

It is always important to consider the relationships between the child and family members and it can often be more effective to work with the child and parent(s) at the same time.

I will generally meet initially with the child and parents to discuss the child’s needs and gain a background history and following this a number of therapy sessions will be agreed. If the young person prefers to be seen on their own that is fine and limits of confidentiality will be agreed at the outset.

Regular reviews will help to advise on progress. If appropriate and with agreement I can also provide advice and support for school staff.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP):

DDP is a psychotherapeutic treatment method for families that have children with emotional disorders, including Complex Trauma and attachment disorders. It was originally developed by psychologist Daniel Hughes as an intervention for children whose emotional distress resulted from earlier separation from familiar caregivers

Dyadic developmental therapy principally involves creating a "playful, accepting, curious, and empathic" (PACE) environment in which the therapist attunes to the child's experiences and reflects this back to the child by means of eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and movements, voice tone, timing and touch. This process enables the child or young person to feel understood and this leads to greater self regulation and a diminishing of the displayed symptoms. In addition the parent or carer develops their understanding of their child's behaviour and can then reflect their understanding using PACE.

Generally therapy will include the primary caregiver for all of the sessions.