What are the Benefits of Online Sessions?

Prior to lockdown I worked out of a local doctor’s surgery for some years and initially was a bit sceptical about going online. However, many clients now seem to prefer it because of the convenience of being in their own environment, not having to travel, find a parking space or wait in a waiting room. It has proved to be as effective as working face-to-face. As I don’t pay for room rental for these online sessions, I offer them at a reduced rate, compared to the face-to-face sessions I now offer in Marlow.

What do online appointments involve?

In terms of the actual session content, they are generally identical to those conducted face-to-face.

Logistically, you will need access to a computer or mobile telephone that is audio and video enabled. You will also need access to a stable internet connection. I make use of Zoom (https://zoom.us) online conferencing software – if you are using a mobile phone you may need to install the Zoom app, which is free to download from the apple or google play stores. If using a computer, you can join the session via your browser.

It is also important that you find a quiet location where you will not be disturbed so that you get the most benefit from each session.

What is a human givens therapist?

To help people make changes I make use of the 'human givens' approach to psychotherapy and counselling (http://www.hgi.org.uk). This is highly practical approach that uses many different tools and techniques to help a client to move forward as quickly as possible. It is a synthesis of the best and most effective practice in current therapy and is constantly evolving and improving.

It works from the basis that people have 'needs', such as, the need for security, privacy, attention, emotional connection and meaning and the 'resources', such as, having an imagination, being logical and being creative that can help get those 'needs' met. These needs and resources are the human 'givens'. If a person's needs are not met, or are out of balance, or their resources are damaged, missing, used too little or even too much, then people can become increasingly distressed. This straightforward framework allows me to work effectively with a broad range of issues such as anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma and addiction.

I make use of guided imagery, which is sometimes known as visualisation. This can be used to rehearse how you want to be in the future. Most people who see me have been using their imagination negatively and so it's very useful to use that same imagination more positively. By 'practising' wished for skills, behaviours and mental responses in the therapy room the brain is well on the way to taking those positive changes into the real world. It’s a way of starting the ball rolling and embedding success. I use this technique in most sessions.

One technique that is highly effective, swift and can be life-changing, is a process called Rewind. During this the distressing emotions from the upsetting memory are unhooked and this allows the memory to be moved from the fear centre (fight and flight) into long-term memory. After this technique clients find that they still remember the upsetting event, but they are no longer emotionally disturbed by it, and can talk about it calmly if they wish to. If needed this process can be completed without the client needing to divulge what the trauma was, which can be very helpful if there are feelings of shame.

So human givens therapy encompasses lots of different components and this solution-focused brief therapy can be surprisingly simple and effective.