Here at Whiteboard we use an integrative approach to therapy. What that means is we don’t use a single set of therapy techniques for every client. Instead we draw from a variety of approaches based upon the specific needs of the client.
Some of these therapies include: Narrative Therapy; Person-Centred Therapy; Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT); Solution-Focused Therapy; Existential Therapy; Family Systems Therapy; Multimodal Therapy; and Motivational Interviewing.
To understand more about our specific approach to client work here at Whiteboard, please check out the video below.
The Whiteboard Counselling Approach
Narrative Therapy is a form of psychotherapy which arose in the 1980s as the result of the work of social scientists Michael White and David Epston. As the name suggests, Narrative Therapy helps clients identify the dominant narratives which shape what they believe about their past, their future, and ultimately, themselves. Far from being mere ‘stories,’ these narratives have been shown to have a tremendous impact on a client’s mental, emotional, and even physical health.
Take the hypothetical case of Ahmed for example. Ahmed is a divorced, 38 year-old, father of two. He is employed as a mechanical engineer and works long hours, often travelling for work. Ahmed has recently begun experiencing panicky feelings and can’t pinpoint a direct cause.
In working with Ahmed using a narrative approach, our team at Whiteboard might start by helping him understand the narratives which form his identity.
- For instance, if Ahmed possesses a narrative where he sees himself a ‘loving husband’, then how might his divorce be confusing that belief?
- Perhaps Ahmed expresses true fatherly love by being a ‘hands-on father’, and now, with the hours he is forced to spend at work, he may feel like he is falling short of living out that value.
- Maybe a look into Ahmed’s family history will reveal that his family have traditionally seen themselves as ‘overachievers,’ and now as Ahmed examines his career trajectory he may not see himself fulfilling that role anymore.
By using a narrative approach, therapists can help clients like Ahmed identify dominant narratives, then support them as they reauthor those narratives in more healthy ways. This counselling process is creative, ever-changing, and can be deeply empowering for clients.
Person-Centred Therapy is a form of psychotherapy which arose in the 1950s as the result of the groundbreaking work of psychologist Carl Rogers. Rogers’ deep interests in psychology, spirituality, and childhood development led him toward a non-directive approach to psychotherapy which placed the client at the centre of the counselling experience.
After exhaustive research, Rogers determined that there were three factors which needed to be present in order for clients to benefit from the counselling experience: Empathy (understanding), Congruence (genuineness), and Unconditional Positive Regard (acceptance).
Let’s look at each of these factors at work in the hypothetical case of Julia, a single, 26 year-old who recently moved out of her parents’ home. She is an energetic, outgoing young woman who works as a customer service representative. Though Julia enjoys a supportive network of friends and family, she has recently begun experiencing gloomy episodes which can last for days . These periods have caused her to miss work, and in response, she has begun counselling to address her issues.
In working with Julia using a person-centred approach, our team at Whiteboard would work to ensure that all three of Carl Rogers’ factors are present within the counselling dynamic.
-First, the therapist would approach Julia from an empathetic viewpoint; meaning that they would seek to understand Julia’s own frame of reference and support her values instead of imposing their own onto the session.
-Next, the therapist would ensure that they are fully congruent within the session; meaning that they would seek to be genuine, authentic, and entirely present in the room with Julia.
-Lastly, the therapist would operate from a framework of unconditional positive regard; meaning that there would be no judgment or preconceived notions brought into the session, only acceptance for Julia as she is given the room to fully express herself and grow at her own pace.
After seeing these factors at work in Julia’s case, you can easily see why Rogers’ approach is referred to as ‘person-centred’ psychotherapy. It is an inherently supportive and empowering approach which often has a life-changing impact on clients.