Counselling as a means for self-discovery and self-transformation

The objective here is to overcome challenges in your life including Anxiety & Depression, Relationship difficulties, Grief & Loss, poor Self-concept, unhelpful Habits (drug and alcohol), Obsessive behaviours, Loneliness, behavioural challenges and / or strong Emotions.

As a counsellor & psychotherapist, I utilise the interpersonal relationship between the two of us to work collaboratively on various areas that are having an impact on your life.

These include, but are not exclusive, relationship difficulties, psychological vulnerabilities, anxiety and depression, grief and loss, trauma, eating disorders, addictive behaviours, adoption & abandonment and self-esteem needs.

As your individual’s story is unpacked, what generally happens is, the discovery of the presenting problem is not the problem. As layers of the core root of the problem are uncovered, underlying stories begin to emerge.

These stories may include attachment insecurities, loss of self, poor self integration, power and control difficulties, low self concept, gendered messages, unhelpful beliefs and past redundant coping mechanisms. What generally happens is, when a problem is left unresolved this has a cascading affect. Other manifestations begin to arise that are often inter-related.

I work holistically on several levels to facilitate the process of self-discovery. Reducing symptoms and changing ones behaviour has an immediate effect. Notwithstanding, any behavioural change requires some level of conscious control and vigilance.

Unless you begin to work on the underlying cause, unwanted behaviours will continue to arise or, it may take expression in other forms.

Thus, we begin the work by gradually moving into deeper areas of the unknown. We may need to tap into areas of the unconscious or examine deeper areas of the self. I work to examine strong emotions that may arise in certain situations in your life.

I may use the power of symbols, metaphors and sandtray or, I may work with cushions / chairwork to explore and process areas that are unknown, or to uncover areas that were once known.

I may use the immediacy of the here and now, or utilise the relational process to further our work. Together, we will examine defense mechanisms and automatic reactions that now have become unhelpful.

At times I may need to process past painful memories or, work with parts of the self. As various parts of self are uncovered, I facilitate a process to help you make meaning and, gain understanding, comprehension and insight.

When you begin to see that certain entrenched beliefs, feelings and reactions form the schematic framework as to how you live your life, we begin to reflect on other ways of `being’ in the world that is more conducive to, `who you truly are.’

As a consequence of this discovery, you will begin to have greater insight to your own inner gifts in life. As we continue the process of self-discovery, what transpires is a more purposeful and meaningful life that ultimately leads to self-fulfillment.

A new frame of reference begins to emerge that aligns more with your true inner self.

As I walk with you through this journey of self-discovery the process initiates a gradual transformation of the self to a more integrated person.

Anxiety and Depression

If you have the following symptoms, you may be experiencing anxiety and depression:

  • Difficulties functioning in daily living
  • Lost of appetite
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Over reliance of substances
  • Mood changes
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sick and rundown
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of enjoyment in life
  • Impaired concentration
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Overly self critical

We begin the work by identifying and alleviating the symptoms. Together, we will discuss how these symptoms have been affecting your relationship with others and your daily living. We examine the origins of your symptoms and their associated circumstances and feelings that arise with them.

I begin the process by working somatically and examining parts of the self; I may need to delve into past painful memories or tap into parts of the self that were not made aware of.

Together, we will process certain entrenched beliefs, feelings and reactions that have formed the schematic framework as to how you have lived your life. It is here that we begin to reflect on other ways of `being’ in the world that is more conducive to, `who you truly are’. A new frame of reference begins to emerge that aligns more with your true inner self.

Grief and Loss

Losing someone or something we love can be a significant and painful experience. The experience of a loss can occur due to a relationship breakdown (as in divorce), death of someone, loss of years due to ill health or trauma, death of a pet, losing your home, miscarriage, loss of youth, deterioration in health, loss of a job or career, retirement and so on.

A natural response to loss is to grieve. Whilst there is no predetermined pattern, Kubler Ross identified five stages of the grieving process. These include:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Melancholy
  • Acceptance

The more significant is the loss, the more intense is the grief. Complex grief occurs when the loss becomes so intense that we may get stuck in that state that finally, it begins to affect many areas of our life.

Although long-term grief has similar symptoms to depression, there are also marked differences. If you are experiencing the following you may be finding it difficult to process the loss.

  • Intense feelings of loneliness or emptiness:
  • Mood changes
  • Self-blame
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • A slowing down of motor movement and speech
  • Disturbance of daily living
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • A sense of meaningless to your life
  • Feelings of numbness
  • An intense longing and yearning for the loss

When counseling grief and loss I act as your guide through the process of hearing your story, processing strong emotions, examining perceptions and belief systems, processing parts of self, making meaning of the loss and facilitating integration and transformation of the self.

The healing of loss invokes for many, a quest to find meaning and purpose in your life. Hence, as you begin to make sense of your loss, you may like to further your personal growth to examine spiritual or existential concerns.

Trauma

Trauma can occur as a result of an isolated incident/s or from ongoing abuse. When a person has experienced trauma it is distressing and debilitating. This is because trauma is held in the body and manifests as Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) or complex PTS. Complex trauma affects many areas of your life.

Depending on the complexity of the trauma, therapeutic intervention can be relatively short (ranging from 3 to 10 sessions), or it can extend over periods of months to years. I have found that childhood trauma particularly, where sexual or physical abuse is involved, requires a longer therapeutic process. Many experience the loss of years of their life as a result of long-term abuse.

Therapeutic intervention is complex and involves several levels. Ensuring a safe and trusting environment for the story to unfold is the first important aspect of this work. Reducing the symptoms associated with trauma has a profound affect. I begin the process by working somatically and examining parts of the self; I may need to delve into past painful memories or tap into parts of the self that were not made aware of. For this to happen I may need to tap into untouched areas of the unconscious, examine certain entrenched beliefs and perceptions and, process hidden core emotions.

As the process of understanding, comprehension and insight begins, healing of parts of the self takes place. The process of grief from the loss of what could have been is an important aspect of this therapeutic intervention. It is here that you begin the journey in the restructuring of the self to a more integrated being.

Existential

Therapeutic sessions can be used to explore existential capacities. It is here that you may like to deepen your work to explore the following:

  • Life’s Purpose and Meaning
  • Gaining Self-Fulfillment
  • Accessing Creativity
  • Engaging in more Meaningful Relationships
    Spirituality
  • Self-Differentiation
  • Self-Identity
  • Self Esteem
  • Supporting Optimal Health and Life-Style Changes
  • Exploring your Inherent Gifts and Inner Essence.

These quests move us to look at the inner part of the self more closely so that now you begin to have a greater sense of:

Who you are
Where you belong
Where your future aspirations and direction lye

What arises is the integration of body-mind and heart. Transformation of the self emerges as you begin your journey to the path of self-actualisation and self-realisation.