Integrative Arts Psychotherapy (IAP)
Not everything is easily expressed in words and using the arts provides a unique way for new insights to emerge. As an integrative arts psychotherapist, I use the creative process to investigate and resolve your issues through increased self-awareness and self-expression. Creativity can help change the way we think and behave, encouraging increased self-awareness and understanding.
IAP uses a range of different art forms. This can include the visual arts, music and drama. You don’t need any particular skill or experience to benefit from this therapy, and some people prefer not to use the arts at all. Either way, the value and the outcomes of the therapy are not compromised.
Integrative psychotherapy encourages the development of the individual, along with their relationship to themselves, to others and to the wider society. Central to achieving this is a safe and trusting working relationship between client and therapist. The discipline also takes into account other established models, such as psychodynamic, client-centred, behaviourist and cognitive therapeutic approaches.
Trauma can result from any experience when an individual perceives themselves, or someone close to them, to be at risk of serious harm or death. This can trigger overwhelming stress and impede an individual’s capacity to cope. Typical causes of trauma include:
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Natural disasters
- Conflict / war
- Road accidents
- Childhood experiences
- Emotional abuse
- Bullying (including cyber-bullying)
- Chronic illness
Sometimes people come to therapy specifically as a result of a single traumatic experience (“single episode trauma”) or after enduring a period of trauma (“complex trauma”). It is also now recognised that being indirectly exposed to traumatic experiences can cause trauma symptoms. This is known as “secondary trauma”, for example, call centre staff dealing with victims of abuse.
Many types of psychotherapy can be invaluable in supporting people in such cases and I use the term trauma counselling where the agreed focus of the work is to help the current trauma symptoms rather than explore past experiences, longer term issues or other aspects of your life that may also need attention.
Trauma counselling can help
- Process traumatic events safely
- Reduce common symptoms such as nightmares and flashbacks
- Reduce anxiety levels and manage mood fluctuations
- Provide coping strategies and practical support
- Help prevent prolonged psychological difficulties
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This helps to solve emotional and behavioural problems using a number of goal-oriented systematic procedures. It focuses on specific issues and involves helping people to choose particular strategies to help address their problems and change their thinking and behaviour.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)
This reduces the effects of disturbing memories caused by traumatic events. EMDR is used within a comprehensive treatment plan to promote your recovery from a relevant problem. It alleviates or reduces the symptoms of
Psychotherapy via telephone or skype
Traditionally psychotherapy is practised face to face. However, many practitioners now offer other ways to connect to their clients. Personally, face to face is still my preferred way of working but I also believe that telephone sessions can be as valuable and that from a client’s perspective, can produce the same level of outcomes.
Therapy sessions via telephone or skype can be particularly useful if:
- You are unable to get to face to face meetings because of your location, schedule or for mobility issues
- You feel less anxious talking to someone from a familiar surrounding such as your own home
- Can be used as an alternative at short notice if something unexpected means you cannot make your planned appointment.
- Can be used in combination with face to face therapy – for example, some people have their initial appointment face to face and then some subsequent skype sessions.
Psychological debriefing is a model used to help people process and resolve traumatic incidents. Typically it has been used by the emergency services following events such as natural disasters, stabbings and other attacks but can effectively be used after other traumatic events.
It is a structured model that allows individuals to debrief their experience and focuses on the facts of the trauma rather than exploring the feelings associated with it. Its goal is to prevent symptoms developing into PTSD or other mental health conditions.
PD can be carried out 1:1 or in groups and the process is covered in one session. Typically, this would last around 1.5 hours with an individual person and around 2.5 hours with a group.
Part of the session allows for psycho-education around the physiological effects of trauma and an assessment of further recommended support.