Our Therapeutic Approaches
Providing a personal approach
Dr Ackroyd offers an Integrative approach to counselling psychology. Integrative therapy draws upon different schools of therapy at different times in order to find the most appropriate to meet each client's needs. Her practice is centred on the importance of dialogue, the individual’s subjective, personal experiences, and the nature of relationships, combined with clinically approved techniques suited to the client’s presenting problem. Research consistently shows that it is the quality of the therapeutic relationship and the person of the therapist that is of utmost importance.
Dr Ackroyd’s approach to therapy is underpinned by humanist values which means whilst working with clients she values the quality of the relationship and emphasises the importance of being transparent, congruent, non-judgemental, non-diagnostic, authentic and respectful. Her humanistic values allows her to see all individuals as unique, believe all people have essential worth and have the ability for personal development through experience mediated by self-awareness.
Person Centered (Humanistic)
This approach draws on the works of Carl Rogers who believed therapy should be simpler, warmer and more optimistic than other approaches. He believed a therapist should offer empathy to the client, listen with a non-judgemental stance and provide an open and genuine environment to allow them to feel understood.
The approach is thought to help the client to value and accept themselves, empowering them to be the expert of their own lives. Rather than just liberating clients from their past, this approach suggests clients should focus on the present and future with the hope of achieving personal growth and reach their full potential.
Relational Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy tends to be a longer term form of therapy which explores client’s early experiences of relationships with others and their selves. Together, client and therapist create a new in-depth relationship which is strengthening and supportive to the client. Within this secure relationship the client can safely re-experience destructive relationships in the past and present.
This is conducted via exploration of difficult, often unconscious feelings, desires and conflicts and by illuminating destructive defences being used as coping mechanisms. Through the interpersonal process of the therapeutic interaction, relational therapy can adapt an individuals sense of self, in turn enhancing well-being.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is a type of talking therapy which focuses on recognising how thoughts, beliefs and attitudes can influence feelings and behaviours. It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) with behavioural therapy (examining the things you do). Working with a therapist the client can identify and challenge negative thought patterns and associated behaviours which may be causing difficulties.
Structured sessions require the client to be focused and motivated and can include practical exercises such as role play and homework. Working towards specific and realistic goals in shorter time frames can result in the client changing their feelings about situations and enable behavioural changes in the future.
Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT holds the core message: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. This therapeutic approach aims to help clients maximise their potential to live a full and meaningful life by learning psychological skills to cope with painful thoughts and feelings. These are often mindfulness skills (paying attention with flexibility, openness, curiosity and warmth). These skills enable clients to fundamentally change their relationship with painful thoughts and feelings and instead deploy action to change their life for the better, guided by their deepest values.
Mindfulness is a set of psychological skills to help your wellbeing based on paying attention with flexibility, openness, curiosity and warmth to the present moment. Mindfulness has increasingly become recognised as an effective way to increase fulfilment, reduce stress, raise self-awareness and undermine destructive emotive, cognitive and behavioural processes.
Mindfulness involves bringing your awareness to your here-and-now experience, allowing connection with yourself. It has been described as learning to ‘turn off autopilot mode’ which has been found to enhance psychological and emotional resilience and increase life satisfaction.