Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City - B.A. (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy, Dip. Gestalt, MIACP
Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog

counselling approaches

What Does it Mean to be a Humanistic Counsellor?

Humanistic Integrative Counselling in Dublin
There are two main types of humanistic psychotherapies that I draw on and they are Gestalt therapy and Person-centred psychotherapy. The main tenet of these therapies is that the counselling or psychotherapy client knows best what is right for them. My job is help you get in touch with your ‘inner expert’.
 
They are respectful therapies in that they take quite an egalitarian approach, believing that the best way to support the client is to be a fellow traveller, a fellow human being (as though that can be avoided!

Beginner's Mind...

Buttercup on a Bray walk
Many mindfulness practitioners talk about a concept called 'beginner's mind', but what is it?
 
Beginner's mind is all about looking at or experiencing something, anything, as though we have never seen it before.
 
Whether it is this buttercup, your morning coffee, the street you live on, your work environment, or your partner, it is all about paying attention anew.
 
I took this picture of the buttercup while on a walk recently. Many of us will remember holding buttercups under our chins as kids.

Attachment in Counselling Part 1 - Secure Attachment...

 
Attachment, relationships and counsellingWhen counsellors talk about ‘attachment’, we are talking about the bond a baby forms with their first caregiver early in life. You may be quite familiar with the term, as it is one of the wider known psychological theories, and its importance is often spoken about. The attachment phase, the period during which the relationship between baby and caregiver is particularly important, begins at birth and continues until a child is about three years of age. During this time, the child is dependent on a ‘good enough’ environment to ensure that they develop what is known as a secure attachment to their caregiver.

The Whole Person in Counselling

Counselling the Whole Person
What does it mean for a humanistic or existential therapist to ‘see the whole person’? When we are in the midst of our suffering, it can be difficult to see beyond the symptom, or the wish for a ‘prescription’ that will heal it. We may want to be rid of it, see it as alien to us, or outside of us. Many therapies work solely with the symptom and work to reduce its impact, which is an important part of the work, but the humanistic therapies also recognise that the meaning of the symptom differs from one person to the next.