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Therapeutic Approaches

There are many ways of practicing counselling or psychotherapy. However, research suggests that the therapeutic relationship itself is more important than the particular theories your counsellor uses. This means that if your counsellor succeeds in helping you to feel safe, accepted, and treated with respect, you are more likely to be able to make good use of your sessions.
There is a wide range of therapeutic approaches that our counsellors have been trained in and will use in deciding how to work with you. You may find one approach more appealing than another or find that some approaches are more suited to your particular needs than others.
See below for a short list of some of the different types of therapeutic counselling approaches your counsellor may use.


OEI (Observed and Experiential Integration)

Dr. Rick Bradshaw is a Psychologist specializing in the treatment of psychological trauma. For the past 25 years, he has been co-discovering, and co-developing a psychotherapy called Observed & Experiential Integration (OEI) with his colleague, Audrey Cook. The treatment involves “A Shift in Thinking” away from talk therapy and toward neurobiologically-based interventions. He and Audrey have observed relationships between eye positions or movements, physical sensations, and emotional reactions, and for two decades, they have been improving ways to provide relief by directing eye movements.
OEI is useful to identify and unlock traumatic memories stored in areas of the brain that are seldom touched using traditional psychotherapy. Often traumatic memories are stored deep in the mid-brain involving areas such as the Amygdala (emotional centre), Thalamus (sensory processor), Hippocampus (memory processor) and Anterior Cingulate (worry centre). These areas typically can't be unlocked or tapped easily through talking.
The success of OEI lies in its ability to deal with these long-hidden memories and traumas.


Dr. Rick Bradshaw:
Dr. Rick Bradshaw


EMDR (Eye Movement and Reprocessing Therapy)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. EMDR is an effective treatment for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
During EMDR therapy sessions, you relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses, while the therapist directs your eye movements.
EMDR is thought to be effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when your attention is diverted. This allows you to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response. Over time, this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you.
People who are dealing with traumatic memories and those who have PTSD benefit from EMDR therapy.


Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)

EFT was created by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg.
The goal of EFT is to help couples identify, accept, and share their individual needs and emotions with each other and learn to identify when they are starting to feel disconnected in their relationship. While in theory it sounds simple, there can be a lot of ‘programming’ to overcome. The truth is that our culture encourages the belief that feeling lonely or needing the attention of a partner is shameful. Having to ask for attention can cause anger that needs weren’t ‘read’ by a partner.
While other types of couples therapy might suggest it’s simply ‘communication’ that is missing, Dr. Johnson would suggest that it’s more than just communication. What is important is ‘responsiveness’- understanding what people need and fear. She sees this as “much more powerful than teaching people communication skills that they can’t use anyway when hot emotions come up.” EFT ideally helps partners create an environment within their relationship that is safe enough for both to be vulnerable and share. In other words, have a healthy ‘attachment’.
EFT helps couples better identify, understand, explore, manage and transform their emotional experiences.


Dr. Sue Johnson:
Recommended Reading:
Love Sense     Hold Me Tight


Gottman Method Couples Therapy

The Gottman Method is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors.
Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:
• Frequent conflict and arguments
• Poor communication
• Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation
• Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting.
Even couples with “normal” levels of conflict may benefit from the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Gottman-trained therapists aim to help couples build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future.


Dr. John Gottman:
Recommended Reading:
Seven Principles for Marriage