One of the most misunderstood terms in current usage, counselling is often referred to as a "talking therapy" and is used as a personal support system in a very wide variety of circumstances. Perhaps one of the better known examples would be "Relate" who, as an organisation, specialise in marital or family oriented issues.

Counselling may take several different forms with perhaps the person / client-centred, or "Rogerian" method, having been the most practised to date with more emphasis being given in more recent times on the psychodynamic methods. Today more advanced practises are tending to move toward a more eclectic approach overall.

To explain those terms and to illustrate the width of potential for use of such therapy, set out below are descriptions taken from Training Directory of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

Person - Centred Counselling

Devised by Carl Rogers and also called "Client-Centred" or "Rogerian" counselling, this is based on the assumption that an individual (client), seeking help in the resolution of a problem he (or she) is experiencing, can enter into a relationship with another individual (counsellor) who is sufficiently accepting and permissive to allow the client to freely express 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 perceive himself as a person with the power and freedom to change, rather than as an object.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy/Counselling

This approach stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in determining 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.

Eclectic Counselling

An eclectic counsellor will select what is applicable to the client from a range of theories, methods and practices. Justification is based on the theory that there is no proof that any one theoretical approach works better than all others for a specific problem. The Paloma Centre is focused on the Eclectic approach including various therapies more particularly detailed within the Psychotherapy section.