Over the past twelve years, I’ve been working to create a new approach to personal change, built on the scientific foundations of the Cognitive Behavioural approach and the storytelling drama of the Psychodynamic approach. As I see it, for people to really understand and use what they learn, what they learn needs to be intuitive, sensible and memorable, rather than filled with jargon and technicalities. Fortunately, humans have already learned to solve problems with metaphors, and the most universal of those metaphors are about journeying and building. Furthermore, coaches, counsellors and therapists have already built those metaphors into all their varied approaches to treatment. So by using the metaphors of journeying and building, we can both make treatment memorable, and combine the expertise of many different approaches into an integrated approach, whilst hiding the jargon and technicalities behind the scenes. I call that approach Journeybuilding™. Here’s how it goes:
Life is a journey. You are the traveller. I am the guide. You keep ending up in one or more bad places, and you want to get somewhere better. When you reach that better place, you want to build something lasting, settle down and have a good life. We meet. First thing I do is get to know you, ask you where you’ve come from, where you think you are now, and where you want to get to. I use surveys like aerial photographs to find out the contours of your inner landscape. Where bits of the surveys that stand out like archaeological sites, we dig down with more questions to find what’s underneath. With my surveyor hat on, I tell you where I think you are, what different routes there are to where you want to get to, what order seems best to me, what you’ll need to do to get there, and how long it’ll take. We talk it through, and let’s say we find that you’re in conflict about where you want to go. I broker the argument between your different sides, until you can decide your itinerary: where you want to go, in what order, and how. Finally, you agree on a particular course, so we set off.
Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to travel directly by the known route, and there are particular skills you want to learn on the way. In which case we use CBT and skills training. Perhaps on the other hand, you’re still not sure exactly where you want to get to, so you want to explore. In which case I put my tracker hat on and we follow our noses in psychodynamic fashion. At some point in therapy, you find yourself somewhere which wasn’t on our chosen course, so we do some more surveying and adjust our plans.
By now you’ve got a map of your life and a diagram of how your problems fit together. So you’re beginning to know the landscape of your mind better. You’ve also got some skills on paper, but you haven’t learned them yet. Perhaps the surveying process together with all this travelling is beginning to get boring. And you still haven’t got to where you want to go, nor have you uncovered the all hidden resources that you need to set you up for life in the place you want to be.
It’s at this point that we need to focus on tracking down the mother lode, the point of pain. In spite of your fear you force yourself to face the most unpleasant problem in your life to get to the hidden resources within. With my help, and using all the skills you’ve learned, you manage to unearth them. Now all you need to do is to use them to get to where you want to go.
We have planned your course ahead. You have the vision. You need my help less now. Step by step you get out of the bad place you were in and reach somewhere so much higher in terms of quality of life, that you’re unlikely ever to fall back to where you were before.
Now you can make something lastingly good of your life. You can build a relationship to share with a partner. You can cultivate your garden. You can plow your field of work and reap the benefits. You can make a place from where you can explore new challenges. And you can turn your mind to scaling the peaks of life’s experience.
Looking back, you can see your path to this place from childhood, and you recognise that whatever the difficulties you had to overcome, you now have the skills and knowledge to put the worst behind you. You know that your path may not be smooth in the future, and you may need help again if you get into trouble, but that’s OK, because you recognise that life is a journey on which we encounter new things, and need to learn new skills. It’s time for us to say goodbye.
If you think that this kind of therapy might suit you, why not get in touch with me using the form at the right of the page. Or click on the Journey if you’d like to find out more about it.