Counselling Terms

BehaviouralThis approach focuses on behaviour-changing unwanted behaviours through rewards, reinforcements, and desensitisation. Desensitisation, or Exposure Therapy, is a process of confronting something that arouses anxiety, discomfort, or fear and overcoming the unwanted responses. Behavioural therapy often involves the cooperation of others, especially family and close friends, to reinforce a desired behaviour.
CBTA combination of cognitive and behavioural therapies, this approach helps people change negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviours so they can manage symptoms and enjoy more productive, less stressful lives. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helping the client by exploring the relationships between their thought and feeling, and the way their thought may affect their well being.
CognitiveThis method aims to identify and correct distorted thinking patterns that can lead to feelings and behaviours that may be troublesome, self-defeating, or even self-destructive. The goal is to replace such thinking with a more balanced view that, in turn, leads to more fulfilling and productive behaviour.
ContractA definition of the period that counselling will be initially last for, defining a commitment of the counsellor and the client to finding a solution.
CounsellingCounselling takes place when a counsellor sees a client in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the client is having, distress they may be experiencing as a result of a loss or bereavement or perhaps their dissatisfaction with life, or loss of a sense of direction and purpose.
GestaltThe name is derived from the German for "organized whole". Developed by Fritz Perls, it focuses on the whole of the client's experience, including feelings, thoughts and actions. The client gains self-awareness in the "here and now" by analysing behaviour and body language and talking about bottled up feelings. This approach often includes acting out scenarios and dream recall.
Group therapyThis form of therapy involves groups of usually 4 to 12 people who have similar problems and who meet regularly with a therapist. The therapist uses the emotional interactions of the group's members to help them get relief from distress and possibly modify their behaviour.
HumanisticRelating to the person, person-centred (see below).
IntegrativeThis is when several distinct models of counselling and psychotherapy are used together.
Model of counsellingDistinct method by which a counsellor works. The most common being humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive or behavioural.
Person-centredCounselling adapted to suit the needs of the individual client to provide the most effective approach for them.
Play therapyThis is the use of toys or cards to help both adults and children better express their feelings and anxieties and assist in the communication process, thus raising self-esteem and allowing the client to feel in control.
PsychodynamicThe study of the interrelationship of various parts of the mind, personality, psyche as they relate to mental, emotional, or motivational forces especially at the unconscious level.
Psychological disordersThese can include conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, behavioural problems, impulse control (such as anger management), personality problems, adjustment issues, and family problems.
PsychotherapyA psychotherapist working in a hospital is likely to be more concerned with severe psychological disorders than with the wider range of problems about which it is appropriate to consult a counsellor. In private practice, however, a psychotherapist is more likely to accept clients whose need is less severe. Similarly, in private practice a counsellor's work will overlap with that of a psychotherapist. Those counsellors, however, who work for voluntary agencies or in educational settings such as schools and colleges usually concentrate more on the 'everyday' problems and difficulties of life than on the more severe psychological disorders. Many are qualified to offer therapeutic work which in any other context would be called psychotherapy.
TherapeuticHaving to do with the treatment of a problem and helping the healing process.