Debrah draws from a range of focused psychological approaches and evidence based approaches in her counselling practice. These include:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an approach based on the premise that cognitions (thoughts) influence feelings and behaviours, and that in turn behaviours and emotions can influence cognitions. The role of the therapist in this approach is to help individual’s identify unhelpful thoughts, emotions and behaviours. CBT has 2 components: behavior therapy and cognitive therapy. Behaviour therapy is based on the theory that behavior is learned and therefore, can be changed. Examples of behavioral techniques include; activity scheduling, relaxation strategies, behavior modification and exposure. Cognitive therapy is based on the theory that distressing emotions and maladaptive behaviours are the result of patterns of thinking. The intervention focuses on cognitive restructuring and self instructional training in the effort to replace unhelpful or problematic thoughts with more constructive, positive thoughts. CBT includes a focus on skills training, for example; stress management techniques, parenting strategies, anger management skills, interpersonal and social skills.
Psycho education involves the provision of information to clients to explain what is commonly known about characteristics of their condition, diagnosis or situation in order to help them to understand what they are experiencing. Individuals are given specific information about, for example; what are typical symptoms, what is known about causes, effects and possible implications of the problem. Information may also be provided about possible medications, prognosis, factors that may alleviate or aggravate the condition/situation, signs of relapse and how they can be actively monitored and effectively managed. Psycho education can be provided in an individual or group setting.
Strengths Based Approach
The SBA is an approach that is primarily dependent upon a belief in the positive potential of people. Positive attitudes about people’s needs, strengths, abilities, and rights, are upheld and respect shown for the dignity and uniqueness of the individual. The approach views people as their own expert in their life and emphasises people’s ability to change, by creating opportunities to discover and mobilise their strengths and abilities. The approach focuses on the problem, not the person as the problem and seeks to identify and address social, personal, cultural and structural constraints to growth. The client-therapist relationship is one of trust and purposeful partnership. Strategies and resources are provided in ways that complement peoples existing strengths and resources.
Narrative therapy is based on listening to and understanding the stories that people use to describe their lives and the problems they are experiencing. This approach regards problems as being separate from the individual. The therapist assists them to;
1. recognise how the stories they have constructed may be restricting them from overcoming their present difficulties and
2. identify the range of skills, beliefs and abilities that they already have and/or have successfully used, but perhaps not recognised, that they can apply to the problems in their lives. Narrative therapy helps people to reframe the stories people tell about their lives by identifying and emphasising their strengths.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”. (Marcel Proust)
Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
Is a goal focused and resource oriented therapeutic approach that helps individuals change by helping them to identify and construct solutions.
Trauma Informed Approach
This recognises the widespread impact of trauma, understands client behaviours as adaptive attempts to cope and seeks to avoid re-traumatization. The approach focuses on ‘what has happened to the person’ rather than ‘what is wrong with the person’ and emphasises skill building and acquisition. The trauma-informed approach reflects an adherence to key principles rather than a prescribed set of practices or procedures. The principles implemented are; safety, trustworthiness/transparency, choice/control, collaboration and empowerment. The approach believes recovery from trauma is possible and that healing occurs through the experience of positive relationships.
“History is not destiny if you have come to make sense of your life”. (Siegel 2003:16)
Family Therapy/ Family Based Interventions
Family therapy may be defined as any psycho therapeutic endeavour that focuses on altering interactions between or among family members. It seeks to improve the functioning of the unit as a whole, as well the functioning of individual members of the family and also family subsystems. (For example; the marital couple, father and son/s, father and daughter/s, mother and daughter/s, mother and son/s, sibling relationships, etc.) Each family member is given the opportunity to present their opinion openly in a non-judgemental, non accusatorial and respectful environment. Resolution of the problem is achieved through collective input, rather than by singling out individuals as responsible for the problem.
“I love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars”. (Og Mandino)
“Sometimes one has simply to endure a period of darkness for what it may hold of illumination”. (May Souter)