How We Work
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy designed to treat a wide range of psychological issues and disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and chronic pain disorders.
CBT is based on the theory that it is not the events themselves that upset us, but the meaning we attach to them. Our cognitions (thoughts, interpretations, expectations and beliefs) greatly influence how we feel, behave and physically react.
In CBT, we focus on identifying problematic or unhelpful patterns of thinking or behaviour that lead to you getting stuck and feeling frustrated. We will help you understand that these problematic patterns make sense given your interpretations, feelings, behaviours and history. We can then work on developing and applying more helpful thoughts and skills to help break the dysfunctional patterns and build new and more healthy routines that are in line with your goals and values.
Systemic Therapy is a scientifically proven psychotherapeutic procedure that seeks to understand problematic behaviour not only on an individual level but also in the context of a person’s social environment. A ‘system’ describes any group of people who care about each other and as systemic therapists we support change in anyone who wants to improve their relationships, whether it be an individual, couple, family, parts of families or step-families.
We help people who are in close relationships to identify and explore positive patterns and behaviours as well as those which may contribute to distress. We will encourage you to adopt new points of view and support you in building on your family’s strengths to foster change.
We do not see ourselves as the ‘experts’ who make a diagnosis and provide the solution. Rather, we would like to enter into a respectful dialogue with you in order to support you in removing stumbling blocks and developing new perspectives and more satisfying ways of living together.
Schema Therapy is an integrative approach that combines the best aspects of of cognitive-behavioural, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model. Schema Therapy has shown remarkable results in helping people change unwanted emotional, behavioural and relationship patterns which they have lived with for a long time, even when other methods they have tried before have been unsuccessful.
A ‘maladaptive schema’ is an emotional and cognitive pattern that is developed early in life as a means to adapt to difficult or even traumatic experiences. It is perpetuated behaviourally through coping mechanisms and leads to a person making the same frustrating experiences over and over again – which is why schemas are also known as «life traps». Some examples of schema beliefs are «I am not good enough» or «People will leave me» or «People do not care about me».
In the first stage of Schema Therapy we will identify your schemas and work to understand them in the context of your childhood experiences. This will help you understand that these patterns – no matter how unreasonable they may seem today – are in fact automatic reactions developed as a means to protect yourself from harm or pain at a young age. The next step is to overcome and heal these injuries and to actively replace the self-defeating patterns with healthy ones which will enable you to lead a fulfilled and self-determined life.
Imagery Rescripting and Reprocessing Therapy
Imagery Rescripting and Reprocessing Therapy (IRRT) is an evidence-based, specialised CBT-treatment designed to alleviate symptoms of emotional, physical and sexual trauma.
It combines imagery and verbal interventions to activate, modify and reprocess the emotional and cognitive effects of the traumatic event. Trauma victims will be enabled to experience themselves as empowered individuals, no longer «frozen» in a state of helplessness or confusion. In addition, the overwhelming, emotional and physical distress that often accompanies trauma is replaced with positive feelings of self-nurturing and self-calm.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced as the word «act») combines acceptance-, mindfulness- and values-oriented techniques to a powerful intervention that has proven effective with a wide range of clinical conditions such as depression, OCD, work stress, chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, anorexia, substance abuse and even schizophrenia.
Its core message is: accept what is out of your personal control and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.
ACT takes the view that most psychological suffering is caused by «experiential avoidance», i.e. the attempt to avoid or get rid of unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories. Unfortunately, experiential avoidance only works in the short term. In the long term, it often fails and is costly and self-destructive. For example, depressed clients will often withdraw from socialising in order to avoid uncomfortable thoughts such as «I am a burden» or «I have nothing to say». In the short term, cancelling a social engagement will provide a sense of relief, but in the long run, the increasing social isolation leads to increased depression.
ACT does not attempt to get rid of «symptoms» or «disorders». It aims at helping clients reduce the influence of unwanted thoughts and feelings and to instead invest their time, energy and money in doing things that are values-oriented and change their life for the better.
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning, of what is helpful and benificial and is a relatively new field of social science. It aims to research topics such as «What make life worth living?», «How do people thrive?» or «How do people find happiness and fulfilment in life?
Positive Psychology will help you build character strengths, increase resilience, enhance well-being and life satisfaction, as well as cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships – which help to prevent and alleviate burnout.
Mindful Self-Compassion involves treating yourself with kindness, concern and support when considering personal inadequacies, mistakes and painful life situations – just as you would a good friend or loved one.
No matter how hard we try – there will always be someone who is better, more successful or more attractive than us. When we do not meet our own expectations, self-confidence can often turn into self-criticism, which weakens us instead of strengthening us. Self-compassion on the other hand, is empirically proven to enhance well-being, promote good relationships, protect against burnout and stress and help cope with difficult situations or misfortune. It enables us to soothe and comfort ourselves through tapping into our body’s self-healing system of releasing oxytocin and reducing cortisol to calm cardiovascular stress.