Counselling approach

Some of the main influences informing my counselling approach include Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT, also known as Process-Experiential Emotion-Focused Therapy) , Narrative  perspectives and Mindfulness.

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based treatment with its roots in the humanistic tradition of psychotherapies. As such, it values respect for the person and sees the counselling process as a collaboration. It is also an integrative approach, incorporating elements of person-centred, Gestalt, interpersonal and existential therapies.

As a person-centred therapy, EFT works from an assumption that each of us has a basic tendency to move towards a more expansive and satisfying way of being in the world.

This tendency toward growth is not always apparent - to say the least. Part of the work of counselling is to engage this potential, using your intelligence and life experience as we work with your concerns and symptoms.

Engaging the fundamental intelligence of your emotions (including unwanted patterns and reactions) is also central to EFT. What is going on ‘underneath’ some of these emotional patterns, out of awareness? How can the patterns be transformed? What do we do with emotions? When is it useful to express or act on them, and when not? How can we learn to tell the difference?

Close attention to the body and emotions can lead to a new experience and knowing of ourselves that is then expressed in changed perspectives and actions. This is facilitated by working with experience as it comes alive in the session.


Mindfulness can be a helpful complement to EFT. Practicing mindfulness can assist in developing an overall sense of safety and stability, as well as increasing the capacity to accept the full range of inner experience.

Mindfulness-based therapy approaches help us become aware of and tolerate difficult  feelings or unhelpful thoughts - a great accomplishment in itself. EFT can then help in going one step further: knowing what to do with all of this. EFT has developed a nuanced  set of tasks and modes of working to skilfully differentiate and process experiences, once we are aware of them.

© Meg Irwin

© Meg Irwin

Narrative perspectives

We use stories to make sense of our lives- for better and worse. In the words of psychologist James Hillman:

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives

What kind of stories are we telling about ourselves? How are we telling them? And how does our social world help create and constrain our stories?

Social context always figures in how at how we feel in our lives.  At any point in time, there will be people who are suffering because the dominant and preferred stories of our culture do not give adequate expression to their reality.

Counselling can be part of an empowering process of re-imagining and validating your unique path and way of being a person in the world.