As a therapist, I take an integrated approach, incorporating motivational interviewing (MI), compassion focused therapy (CFT), cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Below you will find brief descriptions of these approaches and how they can be helpful.
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Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Helping People Change
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is often recommended as an evidence-based approach to behaviour change. First developed by Professors Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick, MI is defined as “...a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p. 29). MI is best understood as a type of helpful conversation between two people, often a therapist and a client, that involves the use of particular core skills on the part of the clinician to assist the client to understand their own perspective on change and commit to a next step. MI can be used on its own or combined with other treatment approaches. Whenever there is a decision to be made, an action to to be taken, or a dilemma to be worked through, MI is a very effective approach to take.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Cultivating a Compassionate Mind
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a model of psychotherapy that focuses on the cultivation and application of compassion for both self and others in order to alleviate suffering and promote well-being. Developed by Professor Paul Gilbert, CFT integrates evolutionary theory, the psychological sciences and neuroscience, as well as the spiritual and wisdom traditions into a rich and effective approach to therapy. Originally developed for clients with high-levels of self-criticism and shame, the evidence-based application of CFT has grown extensively over recent years. In CFT, core principles and skills are learned and practiced with body- and imagery-based experiential exercises helping with the development and embodiment of the compassionate mind. CFT has been shown to have powerful effects on physiological, psychological and social processes, specifically in the regulation of threat-system activation and the development of a caring orientation to suffering.
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Helpful Thoughts and Actions
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an established and evidence-based psychological treatment applicable to a range of problems, such as depression, anxiety, stress, addictions, posttraumatic stress and relationship difficulties. In CBT, the therapist and client explore faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving, and discuss strategies to assist people cope better with these thoughts and behaviours and improve psychological well-being. Strategies may include learning to identify and reconstruct unhelpful thoughts, gaining a better understanding of the motives behind behaviour and the contingencies that influence them, learning strategies for coping, problem-solving and communicating more effectively, and building greater self-confidence and self-worth. CBT may also involve facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them, using role playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others, and learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Accept and Commit
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a widespread and evidence-based approach in which the therapist and client work towards cultivating acceptance, mindfulness, and openness to their own experience of life and committing to action that will promote well-being and flourishing. ACT has been found to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress, addiction and posttraumatic stress, among others. In ACT, the therapist and client work together to learn various skills to approach difficult or painful thoughts and feelings effectively and so these personal experiences have less influence and effect. Mindfulness skills are a core part of ACT, and aide in letting thoughts go, letting feelings be there and developing psychological flexibility. From there, ACT involves discussions around values, clarifying just what is most meaningful and important to the person, then using these values to find direction and create the life they truly desire.