Providing Therapy

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Amanda Dounis is a Psychotherapist : Professional Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Master and Early Childhood Teacher.  She uses a professional and interpersonal relationship with her clients, in order to develop an understanding about them to help make changes in their lives.

There are many different styles of treatment.  During initial consultation, Amanda will decide what is suitable for the client.

Therapy is usually offered face to face but can also be available by email, telephone, mobile or video conferencing.

Amanda generally focuses on specific problems /patterns or life changes.

Amanda prefers to use brief therapy as it is strategic, exploratory, and solution based rather than problem oriented. It does not look for meaning into the past (so it doesn’t explore WHY).  This therapy assumes the client will change with insight.  Amanda looks for patterns and processes in the “now” (and asks “HOW) and shows the client where different choices can be made so that they can change.

She focuses on the client’s current experience holistically (not just their internal state and thinking, but their external interactions with other people and the world around them).  Sharing elements of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) by looking for ‘triggers’ of thoughts and behaviours, she seeks to challenge and disrupt the client’s usual patterns.

Counselling and Psychotherapy is helpful in treating any crisis situation, management of stress, grief and trauma, relationship or family problems and any emotional or psychological problems.

Therapy sessions may be for an individual, couple, group, family, or as needed.

Consultations are confidential, professional and may take up to an hour or more in duration.  Times and amount of sessions will be discussed with clients.

Following are some tools that the Bachelor of Counselling has equipped Amanda Dounis with:

  • Cognitive skills to review critically, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge;
  • Cognitive and technical skills to demonstrate a broad understanding of knowledge with depth in some areas;
  • Cognitive and creative skills to exercise critical thinking and judgement in identifying and solving problems with intellectual independence;
  • Communication skills to present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of knowledge and ideas;
  • Initiative and judgement in planning, problem-solving and decision making in professional practice;
  • The ability to adapt knowledge and skills in diverse contexts;
  • Responsibility and accountability for their own learning and professional practice and in collaboration with others, within broad parameters.

The Bachelor of Counselling provides a comprehensive grounding in counselling frameworks and skills, ethical practice and cultural diversity.

The Bachelor of Counselling provides training with a strong focus on contemporary techniques, counselling and psychology theory, research and practice.

There are a variety of approaches to psychotherapy. Amanda will use integrative method styles to suit the individual needs of each client.

  • Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic therapy focuses on changing problem behaviours, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations. Strategic psychotherapy also looks at the unconscious but looks at how to instead of why.
  • Behaviour Therapy focuses on learning about both normal and abnormal behaviours.  Strategic psychotherapy looks at patterns of thoughts and behaviours and what choices the client can make.
  • Cognitive Therapy emphasises what people think rather than what they do.  Strategic psychotherapy works well with this therapy as it focuses on solutions and encourages cognitive exploration and asks the client what other choices they can make.
  • Humanistic Therapy emphasises peoples capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential.  Concern and respect for others is also important. Types of humanistic therapy include:
    • Client-Centered Therapy where the therapist is not in charge but rather emphasises their concern, care and interest (also known as Person-Centred or Rogerian Counselling);
    • Gestalt Therapy which focuses on the here and now and accepting responsibility for yourself;
    • Transactional Analysis which involves the individual’s growth and development.  It is also related to communication and child development.  It helps clients trust their decisions and think /act as an individual improving the way they feel about themselves.  It also focuses on the here and now.
    • Transpersonal Psychology and Psychosynthesis involves building and expanding on an individual’s qualities, spirituality and self-development.  Techniques such as meditation and visualisation are often used for self-exploration and personal growth.
    • Existential Therapy focuses on exploring meaning of certain issues through a philosophical perspective, instead of a technique-based approach.  It is appropriate for those wishing to increase their self-awareness and broaden their views on their surrounding world.  There is generally no concern with the client’s past, but emphasis is on the choices to be made in the present and the future.

Strategic Psychotherapy looks at the client resources to maximise potential.

  • Integrative or Holistic Therapy consists of a blend of elements from different approaches and tailors treatment according to each client’s needs. This type of personalisation is also what Amanda Dounis finds useful.

Other Therapies

  • Narrative Therapy helps you change the story that you tell about yourself, about the world, and about your relationship with others.
  • Mindfulness is increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on emotions, helping treat depression, distressed relationships and more.  It assists clients implement new strategies and interventions.
  • Solution Focused Therapy (SFBT) focuses on the solutions rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues.  This technique focuses on the present and future.
  • Solution Oriented Therapy includes the elements of SFBT but the overall sense becomes one of inclusion and possibility.  Current suffering is acknowledged and validated while the possibility for a positive solution is introduced and nurtured.
  • Family /Systemic Therapy changes in terms of the systems of interaction between each person in the family.  Issues may involve parenting, child and adolescent behaviour, divorce and separation, adult mental health and changes in family life.
  • Art Therapy /Art Psychotherapy which uses art materials such as paints, clay and paper to communicate issues, emotions and feelings.

Hypnotherapy

Modern Clinical Hypnotherapy is a dynamic form of Psychotherapy which combines cognitive therapeutic counselling techniques with unconscious (subconscious) healing techniques.

People are not treated with hypnosis, rather they are treated “in” hypnosis.

Being hypnotised feels just like being very relaxed.  The unconscious (subconscious) mind is accessed, and the therapist’s positive suggestions are taken and applied, to the patient’s psyche in the most efficient way.

The hypnotherapist assists the client to become so deeply relaxed, that with little guidance and strategic suggestions, the client can begin to make changes that he or she wants to make (towards automatic behaviours and /or emotional reactions) leading towards a more positive outcome.

Change occurs when the client is open and accepting and committed to goals.

The critical and judgemental conscious mind will quieten to allow these new behavioural changes to take place.

Clinical Hypnotherapy can assist the client come into conscious awareness of his or her unconscious (subconscious) beliefs thus enabling an understanding and redress of any existing imbalance.  This should result in reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and increased feelings of peace and positive energy.

During hypnosis, the conscious, rational part of the brain is temporarily bypassed, making the unconscious (subconscious) part, which influences mental and physical functions, receptive to suggestive therapy.  During a trance state, there is heightened concentration for the specific purpose of maximising potential, changing limiting beliefs and behaviours, and gaining insight and wisdom.

Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, where the client can become more absorbed in relaxing thoughts, ideas, and feelings, while being distracted from negative or painful ones.  Those who benefit from hypnosis respond well to suggestions about feeling less pain, more comfort, increased energy, better sleep, and rapid healing outcomes.

It is important that the client complies with everything the therapist asks during sessions and between sessions.

Clinical hypnosis is usually considered an aid to strategic psychotherapy because the hypnotic state allows people to become more suggestible and thus listen to the requests /guidance of the therapist who will be strategically looking for and implementing solutions using the persons existing resources, challenging the way they think. Clients are led into a solution focused approach while considering client choices to make changes to the way they think and behave.

By dealing with problems in the emotional mind, we are targeting the problems at their source.  This is done by addressing the conflict between the unconscious and the conscious process, bringing about a positive change.  This is what makes hypnotherapy so effective.

Hypnosis is focused attention.  It has been demonstrated to benefit in areas such as;

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pain management
  • Insomnia
  • Performance /Study skills
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma
  • Phobias
  • Kicking habits (smoking etc)
  • Physical healing
  • And more

When using hypnosis, we are dealing with the unconscious, emotional mind, rather than the analytical, rationalising mind.  Often, peoples problems do not make rational sense, even to themselves – they respond emotionally even though their analytical mind may be aware that their response is to rationalise.

The client has a particular role to play if he or she wishes hypnosis (and any form of treatment) is to be successful.

Client role in Hypnosis

To achieve a successful hypnotic trance;

  • The client must want to achieve this state.
  • The client must be able to concentrate their mind on the instructions, as given by the therapist, and be responsive to these instructions.
  • The client must trust the therapist and have established a good rapport.

THERE ARE HOWEVER LIMITATIONS TO HYPNOTHERAPY

  • Young children may not be able to sit for very long (older children however are better and their ability to use their imagination makes for good candidates). In this case, Amanda is equipped with age /developmentally appropriate techniques.
  • The mentally ill, and in some cases the very elderly who tend to drift in their memories.
  • Someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be able to concentrate well enough for the session.
  • If someone is resistant e.g. “you cannot hypnotise me”. As they have no desire, they will be unable to achieve the trance state.
  • Epilepsy; hypnosis can trigger a seizure and persons with Epilepsy should not be assisted into trance.

It is best to consult with your doctor when contemplating hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis, especially if you are being treated for any mental disorder.

Please note:

  • Hypnosis is not a miracle cure for anything.
  • Hypnosis cannot repair congenital damage or genetic problems.
  • Hypnosis cannot prevent ageing or make you live forever.
  • Hypnosis cannot help you achieve anything that is truly physically impossible.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is an approach that is used for communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. NLP works to change cognitive beliefs and patterns.  It gives us tools to run our own brain and manage our states, emotions and behaviours. Techniques are used to improve how we think, behave and feel.  NLP is used to change thoughts and feelings, to run your own life more successfully, and to communicate with other people more effectively.  Basically, NLP is a way of precisely understanding how you do the things you do – so that you can improve your good methods and replace your not-so-good ones.

The above therapies are effective, safe, & drug free. In todays terms…organic our therapies focus on solutions and the client.