Counselling Theory & Practice

Men and Emotions: From Repression to Expression

In our previous article (read it here), we asked why men do not seem to express emotion as easily as women do. Was there some pathology, or should we just put the differences down to male-female tendencies? We identified Dr Ron Levant’s notion of “normative male alexithymia” as representative of one side of the controversy: namely, that, yes, men do have a restricted range of emotional expres... »

Men, Emotions and Alexithymia

She sends him little “I love you” texts during the day, and wonders why he doesn’t even whisper the three magic words in romantic moments anymore. In fact, he often seems to miss cues to respond with emotional empathy; is he emotionally stunted, she wonders? »

The Fine Art of Compassion

Imagine this scenario: you are keen to get a particular job and an opportunity for it comes up. You prepare meticulously for the interview, but somehow, it doesn’t go well. The interviewers don’t seem to warm to you, and you know in your heart that you will not be chosen: a gut feeling confirmed a week later by a polite rejection letter. What is your reaction? More specifically, how willing are yo... »

The Benefits of Intentional Daydreaming

Your fitness tracker reminds you to walk away from your computer every hour to get needed movement – and then counts how many steps you do all day. In conjunction with the app on your phone, it tells you how well you’ve slept – or not, and whether you’ve gotten your heart rate up enough on your daily run. Other apps on your computer remind you when it’s time for meetings, help you focus to meet de... »

Solution-focused Techniques in Counselling

When using solution-focused techniques, counsellors are encouraged to be flexible in their approach. The primary consideration is to always work within the client’s frame of reference in a solution-focused manner. The use of appropriate language is an important factor in the success of solution-focused therapy. In particular, counsellors should remain enthusiastic about their clients’ ... »

Revisiting Subpersonalities for Internal Conflict

Peter is 32, with a wife and three young children. Living in a medium-sized town in Western Australia, Peter has had jobs in the field of social work since gaining his social work degree in Perth. He has a sensitive personality and has always found some aspects of the work difficult to face emotionally, but in the last year or two, the reality of this work has just been too much for him. Peter rea... »

Procrastination: What Your Client Needs to Know

95% of us procrastinate (Steel, 2010) – accruing negative consequences – despite having recognised for 500 years that we do it! Yet even modern psychological science still does not have definitive answers for why we procrastinate, or ironclad solutions for how to stop. If the client sitting in front of you is lamenting all the negative consequences he’s had for engaging in this habit, what can you... »

Mid-life “Crises”: How Should Therapists Think About Them?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the client confides. “I’m at the top of my game in my job, my marriage is going ok, and I am healthy. I have achieved a lot of my goals, but my life suddenly feels like it doesn’t fit me anymore.” The client continues, describing a wild desire to quit everything and leave town – or maybe take up drinking to excess as a nightly sport. You perceive anxiety, depre... »

Building Shame Resilience in Clients

Jungian analysts have called it the “swampland of the soul”. Other psychotherapy writers have observed how it originally served to keep us safe; the tendency to shame has been a universal one in which our desire to hide our flaws from others has saved us from being kicked out of the group (the society), which evolutionarily would have meant death (Sholl, 2013). So which is it? Is shame totally pat... »

Seven Secrets for a Healthy Microbiome

In the first article of this series we proposed the radical idea (to some) that a new paradigm for mental health helping is emerging: one in which we cannot ignore the burgeoning research showing that the gut affects our psychological health as much as psychological health influences our physical (gut) health. »

Counselling and the Gut Microbiome: An Overview

If you’ve been at the game of counselling for a while, you know the ropes – and the rules. The client comes and you listen to their presenting issues; often those are anxiety and/or depression or unbearable angst at some aspect of life. You work out if it is within your sphere of competence to work with the person, and outline a treatment plan – or at least a suggestion of a modality that would wo... »

Working with the Highly Sensitive Client

Your client fidgets as she tries to explain what’s bothering her, and why she has come to see you. “It’s not that I don’t like my job,” she says hesitantly. “Facilitating groups is fun, but I’m doing it so many days a week, I just feel overwhelmed!” And it’s not just her work. “In my relationship,” she continues, “I’m distressed, because during the upcoming holiday season, we are supposed to go to... »

Counselling Parents: The Early Stages

The counselling of parents, like most counselling and many other endeavours, is likely to be heavily influenced by what happens in the early stages. If parents come to you and feel welcomed, respected, and understood, they are more likely to open up with the vital information that will enable you to help their children change challenging or harmful behaviours. If in addition, you are able to conve... »

Positive Psychology: The Underpinning Notions

Positive psychology, which has recently enjoyed a burgeoning base of research support, is “the scientific study of optimal functioning, performance, and wellbeing” (Langley & Francis, 2016). It asks not what is broken and needing to be fixed, but what is working, what is good in people and life. It wants to know what the positive experiences, characteristics, and practices are that enable indi... »

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