Introduction

This page sets out a few basic points as to how I work. Why do I do this? Because it is important to choose the right type of therapy for yourself. This is not always easy! There are so many types of therapy and tens of thousands of therapists in the UK alone.

If you are looking for a therapist, I hope the points below will help you decide whether I am the right one for you. Even if I’m not, I hope they give you a few ideas as to questions you can ask any therapist you meet.

If you’re already working with me, then it may help you get more out of your therapy sessions.

Which therapy model do I use?

This is the technical bit. Feel free to skip this part!

I trained first as a person-centred counsellor, then for five years using a contemporary psychodynamic model. (These are the two of the most common models of therapy). At the same time, I completed separate training in trauma-related work. Since then, I have incorporated other ways of working, including cognitive-behaviour therapy and ways of helping you to reduce anxiety and dissociation.

My therapy work comes from a place of compassion and a wish for you to heal whatever is troubling you. I work with all issues, but specialise in in-depth therapy, helping you with feelings, patterns of behaviour and relationships that are more difficult to understand and change.

Some features of how I work

Below, I set out four features of how I work as a therapist:

  1. Addressing underlying issues
  2. Making use of what happens in the counselling room
  3. Finding and healing your hidden feelings and ways of relating
  4. Understanding how your past affects your present

#1 My approach to therapy is to address underlying issues

Many people come to therapy because they are, say, feeling anxious or depressed; or troubled by strong feelings such as anger or jealousy; or unable to manage their addictive behaviours; or struggling with dissociation. If you are facing something similar, then seeking therapy is the right thing to do.

There are many things you can do to help manage these. In fact, you have probably come across a lot of techniques through friends, your doctor, books or internet research. Many of them are popular because they work. Do try them out if you haven’t already and decide for yourself what works for you! (Some of these are on my self-help page, but you can find a lot more by searching online.)

But you may find that managing your feelings works for a while, but they keep coming back. This is very common. Sometimes they are even worse the next time around. That’s why it helps to think about the issues underlying the feelings and behaviours that are bothering you. You will probably get more long term benefit from therapy if you address these. This is central to the therapy I offer, although it is up to you how far you go.

#2 Making use of what happens in the counselling room

Research has repeatedly shown us that the quality of the client’s relationship with the therapist is one of the most important factors in whether they find it helpful. So it is important to ask:

What sort of therapy relationship does/will this counsellor set up with me?

Some therapists will sit as expert observer or analyst of what is going on for you and why it is causing you problems. In trying to help you, they place themselves largely outside of their relationship with you. But is your counsellor willing and able to let themselves be affected and impacted by you as a person? And to let you see this where it could help you to learn to relate more deeply with others? If so, their ability to share the journey of transformation you are on will give you a much more living, valid and valuable experience. It becomes the ‘active ingredient’ that enables you to make some of the changes mentioned below.

Changing yourself by using the therapy relationship

Every moment we are in conversation with someone, we are continually creating a relationship based not just on the words, but many other factors too. These include subtle body language, our reading of each others emotions and our whole experience of the other person. All of this happens moment by moment and mostly outside of our conscious awareness. This is true in counselling sessions too! We are creating a changing relationship in every moment.

There are many ways we can use his relationship to your advantage. Some of these are:

  • Finding, feeling and learning to express your feelings in a safe way without them overwhelming you
  • Learning to manage your anxiety
  • Identifying and changing the hidden patterns of how you relate to people and the world around you. (More on that below!)

Making these changes allows you to go about your day and your life more consciously and confidently. They are some of the most important things you can do in counselling.

How do you imagine other people experience you?

We are also deeply affected by how we imagine the other person sees us. Much of this goes on without us realising it. And it might be roughly right or wildly inaccurate. For example, you might realise that you tend to imagine other people experience you negatively and that this holds you back in all sorts of situations and relationships. So, another way we can use the therapy relationship is to explore how you imagine I experience you as a person. This can tell you a lot about your self-image and your self-esteem.

Understanding how you imagine other people experience you can be transformative. (You might have to read that twice!)

The sort of therapy that your counsellor provides makes a difference as to whether they can work with you on how you imagine other people experience you.

#3 My approach is to find and heal hidden feelings and patterns

For me, therapy is not only a technical exercise to ‘fix’ things on the surface and help you feel better, though that is where we often start. To have deeper, longer lasting effects we need to look deeper too.

If we could easily see and address all of our feelings and thinking patterns for ourselves, we would probably need less therapy. But it is often quite difficult! While the surface behaviours are visible, the underlying causes are often hidden.

Let’s start with a surface level problem that can often be put right with the help of friends, family or anyone you trust. Imagine this.

Over a few weeks, employees begin to complain about how harshly you are speaking to them about work issues. You think their work is poor and they deserve to be told. On reflecting further, maybe with help from colleagues, you realise you are super-stressed and scared of losing your job. As a result, you are putting a lot of stress on your team and have become over-critical and unfair.

Using feedback from colleagues, you realise you had a blind spot about how you were treating people. Now you can start to put things right for both your employees and yourself. If you can’t find the help you need from people around you, then helping you with scenarios and relationships like this (home, work, school, etc.) is a basic function of counselling. But counselling can go much further.

What is buried deeper in the mind?

What if you have a pattern that you repeat over and over that makes no sense? For example, every time you start to feel comfortable in a relationship you start an argument or throw a tantrum. Or you are superbly prepared for an interview, but at the last minute order another coffee and don’t show up. This happens repeatedly but you have no idea why. The best advice from family and friends sounds right. But nothing actually works.

Self-sabotage like this is just one type of scenario that suggests there is a hidden emotional or belief pattern driving your actions. Such patterns get pushed out of our awareness because the associated anxiety or emotions are too great to tolerate. Indeed, they are so deeply buried that we don’t know they are there. That makes it hard to find and resolve them like we can with a blind spot. These are called ‘unconscious’ patterns.

Uncovering the unconscious in counselling

Unconscious patterns crop up frequently in counselling. They are often a frustrating or distressing block to personal growth. The same can be said of unconscious emotions or beliefs that you are holding onto but are not aware of.

What sort of therapy approach does your counsellor take? Some counsellors choose to work only with what is visible in the room and what you can tell them about you and your life. My approach is different.

It is central to my approach to help you become consciously aware of your hidden anxieties, emotions and patterns of relating. As they weaken or dissolve, we can work on growth in the areas that felt blocked.

Sometimes these patterns are explained in terms of states, modes, scripts or schemas. What they are called doesn’t matter. The important thing is to be able to find and resolve the ones that are more deeply hidden or unconscious, as well as the ones closer to the surface.

#4 How does your past affect your present?

There is plenty of evidence that the emotional environment we are raised in as children combines with genetics to shape the people we become. That includes our identities; or feelings about ourselves; our ability to identify, manage and communicate our needs and feelings; how well we manage our anxieties; and the complex, overlapping patterns of how we relate to other people.

Certain events may also have a big impact such as being bullied, domestic violence, being left alone, losing a family member, a parent threatening to leave, severe accidents and many other things. The same is true of anything that felt frightening or humiliating, especially if it happened repeatedly. Being neglected, abused or exploited may leave some form of trauma.

What sort of therapy do you need? Would it help to talk about your past history or childhood experiences and how these have affected you? This can feel quite difficult at first, but often turns out to be one of the most healing aspects of therapy. Please feel free to talk to me about any of this at any stage.

You can, if you wish, talk about your past experiences in therapy. We do this only to understand how they have shaped you in the present day. Therapy will help you to release and heal these experiences and patterns. We are aiming for a lasting, inner transformation so that you can live life as you want to.

Next steps

  • For more information about the therapy I offer, go to the Your Questions page.
  • For more about my training and experience, see About Juline
  • To book an initial consultation or make an enquiry, please go to my Contact Page.

You can also check out my policies here.

© Copyright, Julian Mauger 2019, 2020, 2022

Photo by Cata.