31 Oct 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

Couple Counselling / Couples Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Online Skype Counselling / Relationship Counselling / Video Counselling

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Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling

Photo by J Carter.

Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling:

This article, Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling builds on an essay that discusses attachment theory within relationship counselling. Today’s article Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling focuses on the separation-individuation theory (when children learn to separate from parents emotionally) and considers how the family system can cause family members to attain/not-attain personal authority and how it affects relationships.

Relationship counselling involves an exploration of attachment styles and looks at how people develop relationship communication patterns from childhood into adulthood. For example, have you ever wondered why you and your siblings remember events differently?

People experience circumstances within their contexts which influence how they make sense of themselves and their worlds.  The primary consideration in the separation-individuation process is the smooth transition from one stage to the next. Conversely, disruptions or restrictions during the transition process can have life-long effects in the way we respond to our worlds.

The mother is involved in her child’s changes from dependence, individuation to differentiation (discussed below).  At first the child is entirely dependent on the mother, but eventually, he/she struggles for control to achieve autonomy.  At times, parents are uncomfortable with the child finding his/her individuality, and a power struggle may ensue.   Early experiences affect the way people make sense of themselves over a lifetime and influence how they react in relationships.

Dependence

As discussed in Relationship counselling using Skype, attachment styles develop within the first years (zero to three years) when mother and baby are undifferentiated. In other words, the baby can’t discriminate between I / Not-I and believes mother/baby are one (Mahler, 1986). Furthermore, the mother experiences the baby as an extension of herself. Keep in mind, attachment theory is not developmental and is understood as universal individual experiences that form the basis of family dynamics (Blom & Bergman, 2013).

Individuation

From three years onwards, children start developing their own identities.  Failure to individuate means a person cannot create a sense of self and continues to experience the self in the context of the family.  Individuating too early can lead to coping styles where a person relies on self too much, but prolonged dependence can lead to overdependence in adult life.

A teenager generally individuates around the age of 16 by moving more towards their social circles and developing their own identities outside their family units.  At this stage, the young person is still very much part of the family.  Successful individuation is experienced when parents encourage teenagers to follow dreams, encourage open debate and let go (in a healthy way) of their children at the appropriate time.

Differentiation

Successful differentiation means that the young adult (generally by 35) is fully aware of I / Not-I and can function successfully independent of the parent or marriage partner.  However, I have found in therapy that some couples become fused and start viewing the other as an extension of themselves. This can place tremendous pressure on the relationship.  Once the partners accept that they can function independently within a unit, then the relationship can improve.

Can Relationship Counselling using Video Calling be effectively used with attachment problems?

Absolutely, not only can it be effective, but also convenient when avoiding traffic.  However, not all people are comfortable with the electronic medium and prefer face-to-face counselling.

Below please find the references for the article Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling

Inga Blom and Anni Bergman: Observing Development: A Comparative View of Attachment Theory and Separation–Individuation Theory

Mahler, M. S. (1986b). On the first three subphases of the separation-individuation process. In P. Buckley (Ed.), Essential papers on object relations (pp. 222–232). New York: New York University Press.

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29 Oct 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

Couple Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Relationship Counselling / Skype Counselling

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Relationship Counselling using Skype

Relationship counselling using Skype:

Online Therapy provides relationship counselling using Skype or Zoom.  Generally, relationship counselling is initiated by a partner when a couple struggles to deal with issues on their own.  Couples counselling, (sometimes referred to as marriage therapy) deals with problems and conflicts that arise in the relationship.  However, relationship therapy is not only between couples; it could also be with a family member or friend.  It is possible to receive relationship counselling using Skype, provided that the couple has a private place to talk to the therapist.

Theory: Relationship Therapy

From the Online Therapy perspective, our theoretical model mainly focuses on attachment theory and is possible to apply in relationship counselling using Skype. In other words, we believe that emotional and physical attachments to at least one caregiver is required for successful personal development in children. In approximately six to ten sessions, we will explore your childhood attachments to find out how it affects your current relationships.

Attachment Styles

Based on Ainsworth et al., (1978) four main attachment styles affect how adults react to others based on their experiences as a child.  Attachment styles develop when a baby is between zero and three years of age.

Secure (autonomous)

A secure attachment is formed when a baby receives sufficient nurturing and affection.  Furthermore, babies cannot self-soothe, they receive soothing from their parents (mainly the mother), which makes the child feel comfortable and loved.  Hence, a child learns that his/her world is safe.  As an adult, this person can securely attach to a partner, easily form close friendships and is dependable in turn.  This person will not avoid difficult situations (address them maturely without fear of rejection) and will be low on anxiety.

Avoidant (dismissive)

When a baby’s needs are not met, i.e. trained to sleep alone very early (crying until asleep) without his/her distress being responded to, as an adult this person will be uncomfortable with someone getting too close. For instance, they believe their primary caregivers rejected them, their needs were not met, and they experience the world not trusting others. In the long run, parents who encourage such independence teach the child that it is NOT ok to need someone.  As adults, they are self-contained and become emotionally unavailable (avoidant/dismissive).

Anxious (Preoccupied/ambivalent)

At times, parents are inconsistent in their reaction to children. One moment, they may respond in a nurturing manner, but other times they could be insensitive or intrusive. Consequently, this parenting style confuses children and makes them feel insecure because the child does not know what behaviour to expect from the parent. As adults, they seek extreme emotional closeness and often worry that they are not loved, they may also feel abandoned.

Anxious/Avoidant (Unresolved)

Physically or emotionally abused children are consistently in survival mode.  With this in mind, the world is a terrifying place for this child.  As an adult, they do not feel safe in relationships.  In other words, as much as they crave closeness, they run away when someone gets too close.  For this reason, these adults are uncomfortable with commitment but long for a close relationship.

Conclusion

As has been noted, attachment styles formed in childhood give us a glimpse into how a child will react to adult relationships.  For further reading on attachment styles Ainsworth et al., (1978) provide useful insight into child attachment development.

References

Ainsworth MD, Blehar M, Waters E, Wall S (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

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19 Apr 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

Assessment / Counselling / Couple Counselling / Online Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online therapist / Online Therapy / Treatment

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Therapeutic Relationship Online Therapist
Factors that promote or hinder the therapeutic relationship | Online Therapist:

There are endless factors that could affect the therapeutic relationship. Hill (2014) stresses the importance of understanding one’s own motives for becoming a counsellor and monitoring them. Personal therapy contributes to a counsellor’s own growth and self-understanding which is an important aspect when assisting clients. For instance, issues that a client may raise may stir up helper personal issues. The therapist needs to be able to bracket uncomfortable reactions and attend to the client’s issues in order to promote constructive therapeutic interactions. Furthermore, counsellor and client variables should be considered, these include personalities, belief systems and demographics that could affect the helping relationship. Sometimes people get along, and other times it is a mismatch. As a therapist, it is crucial to understanding your own biases, assumptions and worldview to be open to the norms, values and cultural heritage of helpees (Sue & Sue, 2007).

Therapist’s Intentions

A helper’s intentions are based on everything s/he knows about the client at a particular moment. These motives are not always apparent to the counsellor or client at the time because they discover different layers of feelings, thoughts and emotions as they go on (Hill, 2014).  Cozolino (2004) stresses the importance of focusing on exploring the client’s experiences in the moment. If the counsellor is not with the client moment-by-moment, s/he won’t be able to formulate intentions based on the current situation (Hill, 2014). Therapists should be present to assess the client’s information and decide on specific skills.

Counsellor Skills

Clients react by reevaluating their needs, goals and decisions based on the counsellor’s intervention. Brew and Kottler (2016) are of the opinion that clients believe counsellors have the power to assist them but first, it is important to gain confidence in their counselling skills. That being said, Cozolino ( 2004) highlights the importance of being good enough as a therapist. He states that even though environments are not perfect, it could still be adequate when there exists a good therapeutic relationship. The information gained from the client should be based on the therapist’s skills.  These skills include reflecting on feelings, facilitating self-disclosure and asking open-ended questions. A professional attitude and having the right manner when probing is also conducive to the intervention process (Hill, 2014).

In Conclusion

Self-understanding contributes to a counsellor’s ability to listen to the thoughts and feelings of their clients in a nonjudgmental way (Rogers, 1961).  A professional therapeutic relationship is all about listening empathically and supporting clients through difficult times.  Counsellors facilitate a different perspective on problems and assist clients to take action to improve their lives (Hill, 2014). In order to help clients make sense of ambiguity and confusing stimuli, therapists assist in defining goals. Helpers further assess and reevaluate the client’s goals as a reaction to interventions. The helping relationship is thus an interaction between the helper’s intentions and the client’s reactions. A counsellor’s own awareness guides the selection of effective interventions. By paying attention to the client’s feelings the therapist can develop an appropriate treatment plan.

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References

Brew, L. & Kottler, J.A. (2016). Applied Helping Skills: Transforming Lives (2nd ed). Los Angeles: Sage.
Cozolino, L. (2004). The making of a therapist. New York, USA: W.W. Norton & Company.
Hill, C. E. (2014). Helping skills: Facilitating exploration, insight, and action (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2003). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.
Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person. London, United Kingdom: Constable Publishers. Available online library (2004 ed)

16 Apr 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

Assessment / Couple Counselling / Depression / Online Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online therapist / Online Therapy

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The Process Model of Helping
Introduction:

The Process Model of Helping (PMH) as introduced by Clara Hill (2014), can be defined as three stages of intervention: Exploration, Insight, and Action.  It incorporates client-centred, psychoanalytic, and cognitive–behavioral approaches. The PMH foundation (exploration stage) is based on the client-centred model due to its facilitative aspects of helping (Hill, 2014). People seek help for various reasons, whether it is problems with peers or living with parents. The goal to find therapy is based on difficult situations (Carkhuff, 1987), by addressing sensitive issues clients can understand themselves in new ways.

When the self-concept and ideal-self are similar (congruent) self-actualisation (optimal-self) can be achieved (Chodorkoff, 1954). Through a supportive relationship, the congruent and incongruent perception of the self that stems from interactions with others (previous experiences) can be addressed. People have an innate need for self-actualisation which refers to the need to reach their full potential (Rogers, 1959). Hill (2014) highlights the facilitative and healing aspects of helping in terms of using skills (natural ability and learning), creating facilitative conditions (empathy, warmth and congruence) and self-awareness (knowledge and insight).

Stage 1 | The Exploration Stage

Maslow (1968) was the first to use the term ‘self-actualisation’ when it came to a person’s ability to become what he or she is capable of becoming. According to Hill (2014), the exploration phase is based on the client-centred model, hence the focus is on attending, observing, listening and exploring thoughts and feelings. Rogers (1961) suggested that it was important to focus on building nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships, listening to the clients’ narratives and assisting them to experience feelings. The helper would display skills by observing non-verbal and minimal verbal behaviours, exploring by using restatements, asking open questions and considering feelings through reflections, disclosures and open-ended questions (Hill, 2014).

Stage 2 | Insight Stage

Summarising from Hill (2014), in some instances, stage one may be all a helpee needs to make important changes. However, in other situations, the exploration stage is the foundation on which to build the insight stage. Insights draw on the psychodynamic and attachment models. Psychodynamic theories do not focus on behavioural change, but look deeply into troubling issues such as early relationships, the importance of early childhood experiences and place emphasis on defence mechanisms. During the insights stage, the goals are to foster awareness (challenge), facilitate insights (probe, interpret, disclose insights), and working on the therapeutic relationship (immediacy). This stage set the foundation for the action stage where Hill departs from psychodynamic models and applies behavioural theories.

Stage 3 | Action Stage

According to Hill (2014), the action stage is the practical section of the PMH. There are two reasons action is needed, firstly people seek assistance to feel better or change behaviours. The second, to consolidate new thinking patterns into existing schemas and to ensure old habits do not resurface. This part of the intervention still has a client-centered underpinning, and the helper remains a supporter and coach and does not give advice. Hill (2014) draws on Behavioural and Cognitive theories including learning and treatment strategies. The Goals of the Action stage is to explore new behaviours, deciding on and developing new skills, assisting clients to evaluate and modify action plans and processing feelings about change. Types of action include relaxation for behaviour change, rehearsal, and decision making. Helper skills are displayed through open action questions, providing information and feedback to clients, advising on the process, directing guidance and disclosing strategies.

Conclusion

Hill’s (2014) aim was to provide a helping model, integrating affect cognition and behaviour as a framework for exploring helpee concerns, gaining insight into their issues and enabling them to make desired changes. The Three-Stage Model is based on an eclectic perspective (integrating diverse philosophies), that is grounding practice and theory on the philosophies of Rogers, Erikson, Maheler, Skinner and Ellis & Beck.

Need to know more?  Call us +(64) 9 888 0779  or complete the contact form.

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References

Castonguay, L.G. & Hill, C. (2017). How and why are some therapists better than others?: Understanding therapist effects. Washington: American Psychological Association. 

Corey, M. S. & Corey, G. (2006). Groups: Process and practice (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson Higher Education.

Cozolino, L. (2004). The making of a therapist. New York, USA: W.W. Norton & Company.

Hill, C. E. (2009). Helping skills: Facilitating exploration, insight, and action (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hill, C. E. (2014). Helping skills: Facilitating exploration, insight, and action (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Rogers, C.R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (ed.). Psychology: A study of science. (pp. 84-256). N.Y.: McGraw Hill.

Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person. London, United Kingdom: Constable Publishers. Available online library (2004 ed)

 

01 Nov 2017

BY: Anna Keyter

Couple Counselling / Featured / Online Counselling / Online Therapy

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Online Couples Therapy in New Zealand

Online couples therapy is a concept that New Zealanders are mostly familiar with.  Relationship counselling and interacting with couples in the privacy of their own homes can be useful to help them address deep emotional issues that contributed to resentment, hurt and frustration.  Online therapy is similar to visiting the therapy room, however, some individuals are simply not comfortable with technology and may feel that face to face counselling is part of their healing process.

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