Both Counsellors and Psychotherapists work from a variety of Theoretical Approaches with their clients.  These therapies range from the type of Psychoanalysis, originally practiced by Sigmund Freud and later developed into other forms of analytic psychotherapy by his pupils, through Humanistic Psychotherapy (based on personal growth and self-development) to the Behavioural Therapies used for dealing with specific phobias and anxieties. 

When deciding on an appropriate counselor or psychotherapist, it can be useful to understand the different therapies they may use. Although all can be effective, you may find one approach more appealing than another, or find that some approaches are better for a certain area of counseling or psychotherapy than others.

However, there is evidence that the relationship between the counselor and the client is more important than the approach the therapist uses

Behavioural Therapy

This therapy is based on the belief that behavior is learned in response to past experience and can be unlearnt, or reconditioned, without analyzing the past to find the reason for the behavior.  It works well for compulsive and obsessive behavior, fears, phobias, and addictions.

Cognitive Therapy

Uses the power of the mind to influence behaviour. It is based on the theory that previous experiences can damage self image and this can affect attitude, emotions and ability to deal with certain situations. It works by helping the client to identify, question and change poor mental images of themselves, thus altering negative responses and behaviour. It can help pessimistic or depressed people to view things from a more optimistic perspective.

Couples counseling is a type of therapy that looks to aid communication and facilitate change within an intimate relationship. Typically the term couples counseling is applied when the therapy is specifically designed for two people within a relationship. With this in mind, counselors who offer this form of therapy should have the relevant training to help them work with the dynamics of a couple.

Family Therapy

This is used to treat a family system rather than individual members of the family.  A form of Systemic Therapy, it requires specifically trained counselors.

Integrative Therapy

This is when several distinct models of counseling and psychotherapy are used together.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is not generally seen as a model of therapy that is used on its own. It is usually an additional way of working within the more general therapeutic approach in which therapists are trained. NLP sees a world of excellence where people can be helped to create their own choice and flexibility.  Based on a number of operating principles such as ‘Human behaviour is purposeful’; ‘we either already have all the resources we need or we can create them’; ‘Modelling successful performance leads to excellence; if one person can do it, it is possible to model it and teach it to others’, NLP means finding out how someone does something well and then repeating the process with a goal of ‘excellence for all’.

Person-Centred Therapy

Devised by Carl Rogers and also called “Client-Centred” or “Rogerian”  counselling, this is based on the assumption  that  a client  seeking help in the resolution of a problem they are  experiencing, can enter into a relationship with a counsellor  who is sufficiently accepting and permissive to allow the client to freely express any emotions and feelings. This will enable the client to come to terms with negative feelings, which may have caused emotional problems, and develop inner resources. The objective is for the client to become able to see himself as a person, with the power and freedom to change, rather than as an object.


This is based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who believed that the unacceptable thoughts of early childhood are banished to the unconscious mind but continue to influence thoughts, emotions, and behavior.  “Repressed” feelings can surface later as conflicts, depression, etc or through dreams or creative activities.  The analyst seeks to interpret and make acceptable to the client’s conscious mind, troublesome feelings and relationships from the past.   “Transference” onto the analyst, of feelings about figures in the client’s life, is encouraged.  This type of therapy is often used by clients suffering high levels of distress and can be a lengthy and intensive process.

Relationship Therapy

This approach stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour.  The client is encouraged to talk about childhood relationships with parents and other significant people and the therapist focuses on the client/therapist relationship (the dynamics) and in particular on the transference. Transference is when the client projects onto the therapist feelings experienced in previous significant relationships. The Psychodynamic approach is derived from Psychoanalysis but usually, provides a quicker solution to emotional problems.

Relationship counseling enables the parties in a relationship to recognize repeating patterns of distress and to understand and manage troublesome differences that they are experiencing. The relationship involved may be between, for example, members of a family (see also Family Therapy) or a couple, or work colleagues.

Relationship Therapy

When deciding on an appropriate counselor or psychotherapist, it can be useful to understand the different therapies they may use. Although all can be effective, you may find one approach more appealing than another, or find that some approaches are better for a certain area of counseling or psychotherapy than others.

Psychological therapies generally fall into the following categories: behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, humanistic therapies, which focus on self-development in the ‘here and now’,  and couples counselling, which looks to resolve issues experienced by couples.

This is a generalization though and counseling or psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these techniques. Some counselors or psychotherapists practice a form of ‘integrative’ therapy, which means they draw on and blend specific types of techniques. Other practitioners work in an ‘eclectic’ way, which means they take elements of several different models and combine them when working with clients.



Farnham Natural Therapy Clinic
Carlton Yard, Victoria Road
Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7RD


Monday - Friday: 08:00AM - 21:00PM

Saturday: 08:00AM - 18:00PM