Therapy approaches

Maple Tree Counselling therapists and counselling psychologists use a number of different evidence-based therapies to help clients, and we are constantly updating our knowledge and practice according to the latest research.  Goals for treatment are discussed within the first two or three sessions and a treatment plan tailored for each client.  We usually recommend a minimum of 6 – 12 weekly or bi-monthly sessions, depending on these goals, but many clients use therapy for longer-term exploration of deeper-seated issues.  Therapy approaches include:

ACT is a form of psychotherapy that teaches clients to accept what they cannot control and instead focus on committed actions towards a more meaningful existence. Negative thoughts and feelings are inevitable, but clients can create healthy space between themselves and unwanted experiences through targeted cognitive and behaviour strategies including mindfulness. Clients learn to increase psychological flexibility which allows them to stay present during difficult times and shift behaviour toward realising personal values and achieving goals.

CBT focuses on the interconnectedness of thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physical sensations. The client learns to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that contribute to troubling symptoms and emotions. Effective coping strategies and new ways of thinking and behaving are explored. The origins of unhelpful belief systems or thought patterns may be discussed, but the focus of CBT is on making changes in the present and moving forward. CBT is an active form of psychotherapy in which the client is encouraged to practice skills between sessions.

MBCT or mindfulness-based psychotherapy involves a combination of cognitive techniques and mindfulness practices including meditation and breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and relieve overwhelming emotions. Clients learn to focus less on reacting to adverse experiences and instead accepting and observing their surroundings without judgment. MBCT is particularly helpful for interrupting automatic stress responses and breaking cycles of anxiety and depression.

Schema therapy combines elements of CBT and psychodynamic psychotherapy to help clients change long-standing maladaptive thought and behaviour patterns. Schemas refer to deep, self-defeating belief systems often originating in childhood and perpetuating behaviourally throughout one’s life. Initially, sessions focus on identifying and exploring the origins and operation of schemas in the client’s life. The focus ultimately shifts to replacing schemas with healthier patterns to meet emotional needs including nurturing relationships and finding self-worth.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an in-depth exploration of how past experiences and emotions impact current relationships, behaviours and decision making. The client is encouraged to recall childhood events and important relationships in order to uncover conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings. Psychodynamic theory holds that greater understanding of the past will enable more clarity and healthy behaviours for the future. This type of psychotherapy is a good fit for those who are curious about recurring patterns and the inner self.

Narrative therapy helps clients explore their identity and goals both in relation to and separate from their present circumstances. This may involve writing or drawing significant life events in order to detach from them, find new perspectives and challenge old and unhealthy beliefs. Clients work to observe themselves objectively and “rewrite” their narrative with less blame and greater self knowledge of both their past and future goals. This type of psychotherapy is not focused on changing the client but rather the stories they tell themself.

EFT focuses on love, attachment and bonding in family or intimate relationships. It is a deep exploration of the emotions underlying trauma and conflict patterns. Clients learn de-escalation techniques that allow them to identify negative cycles and begin to more openly discuss fears and insecurities. Ways of building trust and restructuring relationship patterns are also discussed and put into action. EFT can be used for couples, individuals or families.

IFS is a framework for exploring every aspect of personality and behaviour in a welcoming, nonjudgmental way. Each part of a client’s personality has value, even the parts that may seem unhelpful or destructive. Through guided exercises, clients learn why each part developed, how the parts work together and where conflict may exist between them. A goal of IFS is an increased understanding of the core or true self underlying the parts, enabling clients to approach situations in their life with greater curiosity, compassion and clarity.

PCT is a humanistic approach based on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers. Rogers believed that people desire personal growth, and if given the right environment, people can reach their full potential and become their true selves, thereby achieving self-actualisation. The therapist treats clients as experts in their own lives and does not direct but follows clients’ lead. The therapist provides unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness to support clients as they discover their abilities and solutions to overcome problems.
MI is an evidence-based method of communication that empowers clients to change their behaviour. This approach believes people have the innate capabilities and skills to change successfully. In MI, the therapist and client work collaboratively to explore the client’s commitment to an identified goal and the client’s capacity for change. The therapist does not impose change but rather guides and empowers clients to discover their reasons for wanting change and enhance their motivation to change.
SFBT is a practical, evidence-based method that focuses on the future, therapeutic goals and potential solutions rather than the clients’ problems. The therapist utilises goal-oriented, future-focused questions to help the client identify areas for sustainable change and develop efficient solutions for challenges impacting the client’s present and future. The therapist and client collaboratively explore the client’s life experience to find resources and skills the client can use to build pragmatic and sustainable solutions that are straightforward to implement.
Compassionate inquiry is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps clients recognise the unconscious dynamics that impact their lives and develop other ways of living. In compassionate inquiry, the therapist and client work together to explore hidden assumptions, implicit messages and bodily states. This exploration allows the client to identify the unconscious stories and narratives that inform their lives, where these beliefs came from and to explore the possibility of letting go of these stories to gain greater connection with self and others.
Attachment based family therapy is a goal driven and structured approach to processing ruptures in familial relationships. The process is to join and understand the ruptures in the relationships followed by relationally reframing what is happening in the familial dynamics with all parties (separately and together). The responsibility of change is on all family members and perspective shifts from an individual being the problem to an understanding of how the family’s unique composition and connection are key to maintaining desired relationships.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a powerful therapeutic approach designed to strike a harmonious balance between acceptance and change. As its name suggests, DBT revolves around finding that crucial middle ground, offering clients an invaluable framework for self-discovery and growth.

Within the realm of DBT, clients embark on a journey to acquire four fundamental and proven-effective skills:

Mindfulness: This skill empowers individuals to cultivate purposeful awareness of the present moment, enhancing their insight into thoughts and emotions.

Distress Tolerance: Clients master the art of coping with stress in healthy and constructive ways, equipping them with resilience in life’s challenging moments.

Emotion Regulation: Through this skill, clients gain a profound understanding of emotions and learn effective strategies to manage them, ensuring they navigate their emotional landscape with confidence.

Interpersonal Skills: The focus here is on fostering clearer communication, establishing boundaries, and nurturing more enriching relationships.

By embracing DBT, clients unlock innovative approaches to handle intense emotions, gain control over impulsive reactions, and foster stronger, healthier relationships. DBT is known to increase client’s overall wellbeing.

Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) therapy is a specialized pathway towards reducing anxiety and strengthening your ability to navigate life’s pivotal decisions. It centers on unraveling the intricate mental processes and emotions that shape our understanding of ourselves and the professional world.

With the guidance of our dedicated therapists, clients embark on a journey of self-discovery, exploring how past experiences have shaped their present perspectives. The ultimate goal of CIP is to empower clients with awareness and the necessary skills to make well-informed decisions that align with their authentic selves. This is achieved by removing emotional barriers that may cloud their judgment.

The Unified Protocol (UP) is a cutting-edge evidence-based treatment firmly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s a streamlined, comprehensive program specifically designed to address a wide spectrum of mental health concerns, from depression to anxiety and more.

What sets UP apart is its transdiagnostic nature, making it effective for anyone grappling with emotional challenges, irrespective of their specific diagnosis. Under the guidance of our professionals, clients embark on a structured journey to master vital skills that empower them to manage intense emotions and reduce distress.

Key elements of UP include closely monitoring feelings and identifying patterns that trigger heightened emotions. The skills acquired, which include relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and strategies for challenging unhelpful thoughts, furnish clients with practical tools to calm their nervous systems and think more rationally, even when emotions run high.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a standardized treatment which helps to accelerate the brain’s healing from a traumatic memory or distressing life event using bilateral stimulation (BLS). BLS can be in the form of eye movements, sounds or tapping which help to generate the brain’s “Adaptive Information Processing System”.

The possible benefits of EMDR treatment include the following: 

  1. The memory or event is remembered, but the painful emotions and physical sensations, disturbing images and thoughts are no longer present.
  2. EMDR helps the brain reintegrate the memory or event and store it in a more appropriate place in the brain. The client’s own brain reintegrates the memory or event and does the healing.

This modality is practiced by 3 therapists based out of Maple Tree Counselling Hong Kong

Counselling & Therapy Boutique in Hong Kong | Maple Tree Counselling

These therapies are delivered by our diverse, multicultural team with rich life experience and international professional qualifications and accreditation.  We deliver therapy in person or online via video call.

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