Megan’s approach to therapy is family systems based and informed by psychodynamic and attachment based theories. In choosing appropriate treatment options she is also guided by other evidence based therapies and models including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Family Therapy, and is informed by professional best practice guidelines and outcome research.
ACT is described as an empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.
The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life; to cultivate health, vitality and well-being through mindful values-based living.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, structured therapy, whereby client and therapist work collaboratively to identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving. CBT has a strong evidence-base and is the treatment of choice for a wide range of difficulties. CBT seeks to affect improvement by changing the ways in which we think and behave, gradually replacing maladaptive thoughts and behaviours with adaptive, positive alternatives.
This is a modified form of cognitive therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises. Using these tools, clients are taught how to break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a downward spiral into depression or anxiety. Clients are taught meditation and relaxation techniques as well as basic principles of cognition such as the relationship between they way you think, and the way you feel.
This approach regards the family as a whole (system) with its own characteristics, rules and particular norms. It emphasises factors such as relationships and communication patterns rather than traits or symptoms in the individual. The assumption of therapy, therefore is that problems cannot be successfully addressed or solved without understanding the dynamics of the family group, and the important role family plays in our emotional, physical and behavioural development, since each individual in the family system impacts, and is impacted by the others.
Family therapy (also referred to as “systemic therapy”), therefore, is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to reduce distress and conflict, improve communication and deepen relationships, by improving the ‘systems’ of interactions between family members.
Family therapy helps members make positive changes to the health and functioning of the family, to develop and strengthen attachment relationships; building on existing individual, and family, strengths.
A family therapy approach may involve seeing children and their parents individually and/or in family member groups. Sometimes it only takes a few sessions to help a family find their way. Sometimes difficulties are more longstanding and complicated and may need a longer period to find solutions to move forward.