Below are a list of approaches commonly used in our practice. Each one is carefully selected by each therapist to meet the individual needs of each client, is informed by evidence from scientific and psychotherapeutic research, and is applied using a person-centred, accepting and non-judgemental stance.
Many years of training and experience in multiple forms of therapy can lead to a way of working that incorporates different approaches. It takes time to know when and how to use different theories and techniques, while maintaining a cohesive experience for the client, and ensuring the effectiveness of any given model is not diluted.
We work with each client to meet their individual needs and together we agree on the best approach/combination of approaches to use in treating their particular difficulties and to provide the best results to therapy. Integrative therapy at True North Psychology can include a blend of the following specialisms.
This is a family of talking therapies, all based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how our bodies feel, are all connected. If we change one of these we can alter all the others. It aims to identify unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours that maintain a person’s difficulties and helps the client to implement alternative ways of coping. Evidence has shown effectiveness is treating stress, anxiety-related problem (including panic attacks), depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and chronic medical conditions including but not limited to chronic pain, COPD, and IBS.
Mindfulness teaches people to pay attention to the present moment, rather than ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. This helps to develop an awareness of the body, thoughts and emotions, and aims to enable people to let go of the negative thoughts that can tip them over into depression and maintain anxiety. Treatment includes techniques of meditation, breathing exercises, imagery, body work. Mindfulness, as a practice and as an intervention, has accumulated a growing body of research supporting its effectiveness and benefits.
ACT encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting or feeling guilty for them. Therapy helps to develop psychological flexibility by combining behavioural therapy with mindfulness skills and the practice of self-acceptance. It has been effectively used to treat stress, anxiety, social anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis, and to manage physical conditions such as chronic pain, digestive issues, cancer and diabetes.
CFT aims to help people strengthen their inner resources of wisdom, courage and self-compassion with a view to relieving suffering; the central approach used to achieve this is compassionate mind training, which teaches the skills and attributes of compassion. A CFT approach involves engaging with suffering rather than moving away from it, and helping clients to develop skills so that they can successfully reduce distress. As difficulties with shame and self-criticism are often rooted in histories of abuse, bullying, neglect and/or lack of affection, CFT also focuses on and works with the memories of such early experiences. This approach has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, anger, PTSD, and for people with high levels of shame and self-criticism.
This is a therapeutic approach designed specifically for families and couples or other relationships, where the relationship itself is the specific focus. It emphasises how the quality of these relationships affects all aspects of a person’s wellbeing, psychological and emotional health. In therapy couples/relationships and families can discuss difficulties and differences within their relationships with an aim of improving communication and finding a way forward, together. Systemic therapy has a substantial evidence base supporting its effectiveness for a wide range of mental health concerns.
Existential psychotherapy focuses on people’s strengths and a person’s individual nature, rather than categorising groups of people by characteristics and assuming that they have the same problems (is therefore opposed to diagnosing mental disorders). This in-depth and exploratory approach, focuses on harnessing a person’s free will, self-determination, and a search for meaning. The aim is not to change people, but to help people grow in self-knowledge, evaluate where they would like to be in life, and what is preventing them from getting there. It focuses on helping people to live their lives more authentically with meaning. Meaning-centred psychotherapy, an existential therapy, has strong evidence-base for the treatment of people with terminal illness. There is a growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of existential psychotherapy, however larger-scale studies are necessary to establish a wider evidence-base for this approach.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an in-depth approach, that aims to enable people to examine unconscious thoughts, unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past relationships. In therapy a person can come to a greater understanding of one’s emotional “blind spots” and past and present relationship patterns, which can facilitate change. Psychodynamic psychotherapy has a substantial evidence base supporting its effectiveness for a range of mental health conditions.
Gendlin's Focusing is a therapeutic method that emphasises the importance of bringing awareness to the bodily sensations and feelings associated with a particular issue or concern ("felt bodily sense"), and allowing them to guide the therapeutic process. By engaging in dialogue with the felt sense, individuals can access deeper levels of meaning and facilitate positive change. This approach is often used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities. The evidence base for Focusing is still in its early stages, and further research is needed to establish its efficacy and effectiveness compared to other therapeutic approaches.