Ruth Ilson, 112b Osbaldeston Road, London N16 6NJ. Phone: 020 8806 0250. Email:

The psychotherapy model.

In this section I would like to explain in more detail the model of therapy that I use, how it works and the philosophy behind it.

A humanistic model takes a wider and more positive view of the human potential than many other more traditional approaches. It believes in the individual's ability to understand more about themselves and to use this awareness to make choices that are in their own best interests.

Like all living things we are born with an innate desire and ability to grow, thrive and be the best we can. We can see how this happens in plants as they turn towards the light or animals that always find the warmest softest place to sit! For some people this process has been interrupted by their life experiences and they have coped by shutting down part of themselves. The more parts of themselves they shut down the more powerless, frightened and angry they can become. The inability to let go of old patterns is often the main obstacle to growth and development. However, change can feel quite challenging and risky. The therapeutic process helps you to become aware of how you shut yourself down and identify why and when you do it. With increased awareness also comes the understanding that you do have choices and part the therapist’s job is to support the individual in taking the risk to do things differently.

One of the reasons for being drawn to this approach was my clear understanding that the same therapeutic model will not necessarily benefit everyone; as the therapist Maslow once remarked ‘if you only have a hammer than you treat everything like nail.’ An integrated model gave me the opportunity to study several therapeutic methods. Therefore I do not start with a theory or view into which all clients are fitted but I am able discover which approach will help us to make the best contact with each other and discover what might be the essential mechanism of change. An integrative method also enables me to reflect on the clients’ issues from different perspectives. This allows a creative blend of techniques and theories that fit the uniqueness of each individual, to evolve.

Integrated Humanistic Psychotherapy places particular emphasis on the ‘here and now’ and understanding that everything we have ever done or experienced in the past functions and informs how we relate in the present. Recurring negative or destructive patterns of behaviour once had a purpose. Although they are no longer useful to you, they once may have been your only way of keeping safe. It’s as if they now have become the default way of experiencing and interpreting the events in your life. The process of psychotherapy gives you the opportunity to understand and explore how past experiences and present difficulties are linked. It also recognizes that change - the ultimate goal of therapy - can only take place by action in the present.

I choose to study a Humanistic Integrated therapeutic model as I am interested in having a broad client base. This approach has enabled me to build a practice that encompasses wide range of age, cultural and gender related issues.