Not all individual counsellors or marriage counsellors are the same. A professionally trained individual counsellor or marriage counsellor, should, at the very least have a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counselling, Psychology or Social Work. This base line education is fairly uniform across the degrees although there can be a difference in rigor. Mental Health counselling is probably most developed as a profession in terms of research, process and education in the United States. The United States probably has one of the most rigorous and most developed training requirements and programs that include at least 2000 hours of supervision clinical internship followed by the United Kingdom and Australia.
Every expat counsellor also infuses their own personality and style into how they practice therapy. However, what makes each individual counsellor unique and separates great individual counsellors from good or okay individual counsellors are the strength, depth and breadth of the theoretical orientation that they use to run the work they do with a client. It is important to understand how your therapist approaches the work they’ll do with you.
Most individual counsellors and marriage counsellors get training in several theoretical orientations. However, what you as a potential client want to look at is if they have 1 unifying theory to guide the therapy. Usually very good expat counsellors will have a primary counselling theory and then integrate other aspects of theories to help with session. But a good counsellor with a strong theory will be able to assess what you need to help you get better and fully integrate proper clinical interventions for your treatment.
Our expat counsellor is considered directive, which means she will be working with you closely. It is a very interactive process between you and our therapist that takes the form of the therapist asking you questions to evaluate your behavior, choices and beliefs. She may also do some teaching of concepts and help you translate these into behavioral changes. Our therapist’s primary counselling theory is Choice Psychology and integrates Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy, Solution focused and Attachment. She is also trained at level 2 in Gottman’s Couple Relationship Therapy.
Choice Theory and Therapy is an excellent form of therapy to help individuals, parents or couples see change rapidly. Most of what takes so much time in traditional psychotherapy is eliminated in Choice Psychology.
Dr. William Glasser describes below what a Choice Theory Reality Therapy Therapist will focus on (Theory in Choice Theory, 1998 p. 116).
- There is no need to probe at length for the problem. It is always an unsatisfying present relationship with others or self. Usually, the problem is obvious, but even so, sometimes the client denies that it is the case. If I as the therapist accept that denial, I may spend a lot of time probing for something else or someone in the client’s past. I should be able to handle that denial and get to the current relationship in the first session.
- Since the problem is always in the present, there is no need to make a long intensive investigation into the client’s past. For example, if a client never learned to trust people because he was abused as a child, it would be impossible for him to have a satisfying present relationship. However, if too much time is spent on the past, he may be misdirected and believe that he cannot solve his present relationship problem unless he understand what went wrong in the past. A long examination of the past may even lead him to believe that so much happened there that he will never be able to be effective in the present. It is much more important for me to tell him the truth: The past is over; he cannot change what he or anyone else did. All he can do now is, with my help, build a more effective present. The past is relevant only as to how it is still affecting us in the present.
- In traditional counselling, a lot of time is spent both inquiring into and listening to clients complain about their symptoms, the actions of other people, the world they live in and on and on- the list is endless. The more they are encouraged or allowed to do so, the more important the complaints become and the harder it is to get to the real problem, What the client is choosing to do now. Choice theory does not deny that clients have legitimate complaints, but it teaches that the only persons we can control are ourselves. We can’t control anyone else, including our counselors with these complaints. Reality therapy emphasizes what clients can do to help themselves and to improve the present relationship that is the problem. Doing so not only saves a lot of time but focuses the counselling and makes it more effective.
My clients say my therapy is very practical, which I take as a huge compliment. Most people see improvement and change within four to six sessions though therapy may need to continue on a bit longer. Often, after only one session, clients will see new ways and new choices that they didn’t know were available to them. Counselling doesn't have to be a long process to get better. We focus on providing quick and immediate results. The more the client is willing to commit to therapy and work the therapist the faster change will happen.
If you are curious how we can help you give us a call. You can try one session as there is no need to commit up front. Start living the life you want today, by improving the relationships that are important to you.