Matt Hancocks

Counselling and Psychotherapy in the Lakes and Dales

I’m often asked to describe my approach to psychotherapy . . so here you are

A Brief Overview of My Therapeutic Approach

I describe myself primarily as an Integrative psychotherapist. My approach has three main theoretical and practice based foundations: I view clients through their developmental past, their unfolding future and the here-and-now as it is experienced by them. Through all three of these perspectives there is a relational aspect, which is about a deeply relational and intersubjective understanding of experience as it emerges within and throughout the therapeutic journey.

My developmental perspective draws the impact of unaddressed developmental deficits, traumas, and conflicts upon the present. Core to this developmental perspective is the belief that we are driven towards relationships in order to achieve safety, security, and intimacy; which in turn supports and nurtures meaningful and nourishing relationships. To this developmental aspect of my model I add aspects of the Humanistic tradition particularly notions around ego states, and the child ego state. Together these perspectives have some sense of causality and show how the past can impact the present.

The unfolding future is informed by transpersonal psychology, which believes that each of us has an organising principle in the depth of our unconscious: namely, the transpersonal Self. This will often be activated to address one-sidedness and can be made known in the the therapeutic space, to address and/or challenge the deficits, trauma, and conflicts of the developmental ego. "Transpersonal psychology addresses the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development - from our deepest wounds and needs, to the existential crisis of being human, to the most transcendent capabilities of our consciousness" (Caplan, 2009: p.231). I also utilise much that is labelled as Buddhist Psychology and Buddhist practice, and the movement towards the cessation of suffering and enlightenment

The third focus of my model draws again upon the humanistic tradition and the core conditions of empathy unconditional positive regard and congruence, which inform my relational presence and responsiveness. To this I add the power of the present moment and how relational engagement at this point can shift a person to engage more authentically in the moment. I also draw upon Buddhist practice again, in relation to mindfulness and its contemporary clinical applications. I do not believe that any of us can go backwards or forwards in time, rather the past and the aspirations of the soul for the future can only be accessed in the here-and-now.

Key to my multidimensional integrative framework is the overarching principle of the therapeutic relationship as a powerful vehicle for healing. I believe that it is the intentional and purposeful use of the therapeutic relationship. Hence, just as relationships can harm so can they heal.

In summary, my integrative framework enables me to work with the unaddressed developmental issues, the challenges of the now and spiritual issues that present themselves in relation to my clients understanding of their world through a relationally focussed and intersubjective meeting.

© Matt Hancocks

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