The Sharing of Wisdom - Holistic Counselling
Servicing areaMont Albert North and Balwyn
Alison’s Personalised Counselling Services
My positive psychology awareness aims to understand and promote factors that allow an individual, a couple, a family or a group to thrive; taking the focus away from suffering, weaknesses, problems, disorders and pathology. My passion is to make the lives of all clients and their families more fulfilling and to develop treatment plans to increase emotional care and wellbeing. Positive psychology enables me to build strengths, positive emotions and optimal conditions.
I address short and long term Counselling needs - with a Focus on
- Ongoing emotional support for all Transitional Stages, and all ages
- Guilt and Anger Management, Conflict Resolution
- Stress, Fears, General and Social Anxiety, Depression
- Relationship Issues; Individual, Couple, Family
- Trauma, Loss and Grief
- Crisis Intervention
- Final Stages, end of life issues
- If you or a family member has any concerns, you do not have to face them alone. With integrity and experience; Alison will fully listen, understand your concerns and offer compassionate, non-judgemental and confidential support.
Early support and a preventative approach increases your coping skills and functioning. So please, talk through your emotional, practical and family issues in confidence, phone Alison today: M 0418 540 789 or E firstname.lastname@example.org
All individuals, couples and families face difficulties and distressing times; sometimes the challenge lies in deciding who to share these experiences with in order to gain understanding and support whilst navigating your way forward.
Deciding to share your concerns with a Registered Counsellor is an act of strength, which in turn increases people’s resources, wisdom and sense of equanimity.
Alison’s Counselling is Holistic in nature as it takes into consideration the whole person; their emotional, mental, psychological, religious/spiritual, cultural, social and physical well being.
Alison’s Person Centred Approach is genuine, compassionate, warm and caring. Her ability to respect, understand and accept people as they are enhances all her therapeutic relationships. Counselling is non-judgmental and highly confidential, except in circumstances where self harm is threatened or another person is at risk.
Alison may support her Counselling with a....
A Genogram illustrates a client’s family membership and structure, relationships and medical history. It’s more appropriate than a family tree because it allows the client to visualise the hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate their relationships. The client is able to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and recognise hereditary tendencies to better understand themselves and those close to them.
Drawing up a Genogram by hand, working directly with a client always proves to be an interesting and stimulating activity. A four-generational Genogram allows a client to understand their family of origins impact on them, and their impact on their family more clearly. It’s a helpful way to explain family dynamics to those who are interested. The client has the opportunity to focus their attention on any specific details or simply enjoy seeing the bigger picture.
Music affects us physically, emotionally and psychologically. It can seep into the unconscious and calm fears and anxieties. It can control pain, regulate breathing, sooth and create sacred surroundings. Music can also unlock memories and feelings.
Background music can be used as a tool to help calm the room, clients may begin to breathe more slowly and often their breath becomes synchronized with the rhythm of the music. During pauses in the conversation it’s easy to let the music take over, easing the tension and calming the mind.
Aromatherapy is another approach to emotional well-being. Sourced from nature, pure essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic plant essences, their application or aroma enhances the mind, mood and emotion. Plant essences have in various ways been used for thousands of years to cheer people up, calm them down and make them feel good about themselves. Essential oils enhance the natural mind, and are therefore all about potentials.
We are all extremely vulnerable to scent and we often react to a smell emotionally before becoming aware of it physically. Like our other senses, smells can affect our moods and invoke pleasant memories. Lovely fragrances lift our spirits - in scientific terms this is because smell sends a direct message to the limbic system, the part of the brain that governs emotions.
The science of Numbers, the science of self-discovery
Human life has an intimate connection with numbers and numerology can help us to understand ourselves and our personal connections with others.
Numerology supports Alison’s Counselling as it enables her to quickly and easily interpret a birth chart, giving a picture of a client’s major strengths and challenges. With the aid of Numerology Alison is able to help clients further understand themselves, especially in times of uncertainty when client’s need support. Numerology is also for anyone who has a fascination for numbers.
Alison’s Counselling framework includes...
Person Centred Care
Alison’s counselling is based on Carl Rogers’s Person-Centred Therapy, as it focuses on the person’s strengths and abilities, not their presenting problems.
My natural and necessary attributes to create growth in my clients are:
Congruence: Being genuine, authentic and real. As clients experience my realness, they drop many of their pretences and are real with both themselves and myself.
Unconditional positive regard: Caring for my clients unconditionally, valuing them for who they are with warm acceptance, as opposed to possessive caring which stems from a therapist’s need to be liked which inhibits constructive change. Being judgemental and having a lack of respect also prevents change.
Accurate empathic understanding: This is my ability to understand a client’s experience and feelings sensitively and accurately as they occur during the session. This is a deep and subjective understanding of the client with the client. It implies that I will sense a client’s feelings as if they were my own without becoming lost in those feelings. This also involves my ability to reflect this understanding, enabling the client to become more reflective, confident and less defensive, thus open to future possibilities.
The Person Centred Approach emphasises:
- The personal relationship between the client and the therapist.
- The personal qualities, attitudes and beliefs of the therapist.
- When a congruent therapist is able to establish with the client an equal and trusting relationship that the client perceives as genuine, warm, accepting and understanding – change will occur.
- The need for a therapist to focus on the here-and-now experience.
- Clients are encouraged to use this therapeutic relationship for their personal growth and become more of the person they choose to become.
- Clients choose their own values and goals - goals are not imposed on clients.
- The person-centred approach is especially applicable in Crisis Intervention (after an accident, illness or relationship upheaval) and Grief and Loss Counselling (loss of independence, lost home, lost loved one, etc.) One of my first steps is to allow the client to fully express themselves, verbalising all their thoughts and feelings. Clients in trouble do not need false reassurances; however being in the presence of a compassionate and caring Counsellor can do much to alleviate the suffering.
My approach aims towards a greater degree of independence and integration of the client by continually focusing on the person and their strengths. My aim is not to solve problems, but to assist clients in better coping with their problems, now and in the future.
Positive Psychology and the Pursuit of Happiness
Positive Psychology was developed by Martin Seligman in 1998, he was aware a great deal of research had been done on treating disorders, but very little research existed on how to build strengths, positive emotions and optimal conditions. Positive Psychology is the study of optimal human functioning, strength and virtue. It aims to understand and promote factors that allow individuals, groups and organisations to thrive; taking focus away from suffering, weaknesses, problems, disorders and pathology.
Positive Psychology is interested in making the lives of normal people fulfilling, and developing interventions to increase wellbeing. Positive Psychology has had a positive effect on my personal counselling style, as I continually concern myself with positive experiences, positive traits, positive relationships and positive institutions. My glass is always half full!
What does happiness mean to you? I associate happiness with high self-esteem, optimism, extraversion and therefore a sense of control over my life, and this is what I have to offer - a sense of control over your life.
What is the highest of all goals achievable by actions? Happiness.
Happiness leads to success:
- Happy people have better mental and physical health
- Happy people are more creative and smarter
- Happy people are healthier and live longer
- Happy people make better decisions.
When working with clients my vision of “A Good Life” addresses:
Past – their contentment and satisfaction with their life as it has been lived
Present – their happiness in the present (savouring, mindfulness, awareness)
Future – hope and optimism for their future, (faith).
I believe Faith, Religion and Spirituality are most important for lasting authentic happiness. I have created a meaningful life for myself by using my Signature Strengths in the service of something greater than myself, by contributing to something bigger and by reflecting my strengths I am able to inspire and uplift others.
Fortunately there is a world view of shifting away from solving and interpreting problems, and instead are becoming interested in collaboration with people to change their lives through enriching their narratives.
There is a key assumption in Narrative therapy that people are selective of the stories they share, and because we make sense through people’s story lines we need to work with our clients to understand the neglected or overlooked stories. Lives are multi-storied, and a therapist needs double listening skills. Narrative therapy can work well with Grief and Loss for example, getting to know their stories of connection, not disconnection.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is helpful when treating Social Anxiety. I ask questions to establish what situations are anxiety provoking and what the client thinks and does in the feared situation. We identify the problematic thoughts and behaviours, and develop new coping strategies.
Both Generalised Anxiety and Social Anxiety sufferers learn how to identify their negative thoughts, challenge them and develop more calming, helpful thoughts. This involves education about the anxiety, learning relaxation techniques such as slow breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, and exposure to feared social situations.
Depression is probably the most experienced but least understood emotion. Depression is frequently the body’s natural response to being overwhelmed, stuck or defeated. We can be “objectively” stuck (abusive family), or “subjectively”, seeing a situation as intolerable, such as “failing” at something. Depression can also occur when clients are under-stimulated, feeling bored, lonely or socially isolated.
The key is to understand that when a client is under stimulated (or overloaded), an automatic “circuit breaker” kicks in, slowing their metabolism down, trying to assist in a defensive way by rationing their reserves of energy. Thus they have no energy available for pleasure, activity or socialising. This automatic metabolic shift creates further problems because the changes in personal functioning are often seen as unacceptable and easily misinterpreted as personality defects. They may even feel guilty about being depressed, seeing it as a sign of personal weakness.
Treatment 1. Empathic Listening: Because there is a strong isolated feeling within depression, along with being ashamed about functioning below par, many clients find it hard to let others know how badly they feel. Therefore I contribute a great deal by acknowledging their feelings and allowing them to talk freely (though gently dealing with the cognitive distortions). I find gentle humour helpful, without devaluing the situation.
2. CBT: Because they think and speak in negative and often unrealistic ways, CBT targets those feelings by encouraging positive and realistic thinking. In a depressed state, clients may also begin avoiding too much and therefore can’t benefit from hearing positive information about themselves. CBT modifies these avoidance patterns.
3. Education: I emphasise that depression is a natural and universal mechanism, not a personality flaw! It’s a disorder because it disorders our lives. We are not to blame. We are suffering because of the actions of a metabolic over-reaction.
“No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage.”
Epictetus, Greek Stoic Philosopher.
For more information or to make an enquiry contact Alison today!!
- Australian Counselling Association (ACA)
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