Benefits of My Therapeutic Approach
In the late 1970's, a famous researcher named Gene Gendlin asked an important
question, "What makes therapy successful?" After studying thousands
of therapy sessions on tape, his research team came to an astonishing conclusion
- that it wasn't the therapist or the type of therapy, it was something the
client was doing naturally! What successful clients did in therapy was
different from what other clients did. He uncovered what it was they were doing, and called it "focusing". Gendlin reasoned that
if it could be taught, other clients could be more successful in therapy
too. Since then, focusing has spread worldwide. Many people have learned how to do focusing on their own
for personal growth and awareness; focusing can be involved in many applications. When focusing is used in therapy it is called "focusing-oriented therapy" and
it's success and efficiency is ground-breaking.
In 2000, I met a Canadian Metis therapist named Shirley Turcotte. For
years, she had been effectively treating countless survivors of childhood
trauma using an approach based on her Aboriginal heritage. She later discovered that her method was similar to something called
"focusing-oriented therapy". Her therapy included many
additional elements, important pieces that increased the safety and
effectiveness of the technique, especially for survivors of complex trauma. This
group of people traditionally had trouble getting treatment that would help them to move beyond surviving to thriving. Understanding
flashbacks, silences, vicarious/multigenerational experience, the inner critic and other pieces, Shirley's trauma-sensitive approach worked exceptionally well.
Unsurprisingly, using the same methods that helped survivors most efficiently
also appeared to be very effective for many other issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, conflict, etc and not just for trauma. Shirley's approach is now called Aboriginal Psychotherapy (Aboriginal Focusing–Oriented Therapy)
and it is becoming internationally recognized as an effective and efficient treatment for a wide variety of issues, including trauma.
Training and working with this approach for 10 years, I am certified to train and certify other counselors. Although I use
frequently, I do not use it exclusively. Each person is
different and the techniques I use reflect their needs. However, in many instances Aboriginal focusing-oriented therapy deepens and enriches other treatment
modalities, providing the bodily-felt experiential piece critical for real and
is a difficult process to describe and can really only be understood by
experience; it makes use of a type of
knowledge we might refer to as “whole-brain, whole body, whole
felt-experience”. Accessing our issues in this way creates shifts in our
experience, shifts we can feel as a sense of relief/release even if the content
is challenging. Focusing-oriented therapists see clients as
essentially capable and in process rather than sick (we see post traumatic
stress disorder as post traumatic stress response – something anyone would get
if they were exposed to similar conditions), and promote an attitude of
acceptance and respect within oneself and without.
Long-term research studies have
identified exactly what successful couples do differently than couples whose
marriages eventually fail. There are fundamental habits that are so
beneficial that relationships can last 90% of the time if these behaviors are
used (Gottman, 1999).
A Couples Counselling Approach that Works
the difficulty comes not so much in learning these successful behavior habits,
but in maintaining a state of mind calm and caring enough to use them!
Brain research has helped us to understand why people repeatedly act in ways
that undermine their relationships; our brains are hard wired to produce
negative emotional states when threats are perceived, either withdrawing or
attacking. This of course makes it hard for us to think rationally and to
behave in pro-social ways when we perceive a threat. In the end, getting into
the right frame of mind becomes very important in allowing us to use the
behaviors that work best. This is where focusing-oriented therapy can be
very beneficial in couple’s therapy, as it helps you to shift your state of
mind. Shifting from a defensive state to a connective
state allows partners to use new behaviors and to form new habits. I use techniques that not only change awareness and thought, but facilitate transformation at the source of an issue..
Sometimes it is important to look at how core differences affect a couple as these may be causing a lot of discomfort and conflict on a daily basis. Research has shown, however, that the way a couple handles conflict may often be the most important part. The biggest trouble-maker may
be the use of key behaviors known to cause trouble in relationships.
My work is client centered, non-judgmental and multiculturally sensitive.
would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have, or you may wish to visit my website.