Dr. Angelia Bryant
My approach to counseling is both pragmatic and multimodal. Having practiced as a counselor/therapist since 1994, I have had to opportunity to work with a broad array of patients/clients in very diverse settings. It was immediately apparent that there was no counseling approach that was a “magic bullet”, appropriate for all patients in all scenarios. To the contrary, given diversities in age, intelligence, sociologic variables, pathology, personality, genetics, race, ethnicity, gender, and others; it would be naive to assume that one counseling approach could be efficacious to all clients.
An alternative approach with which I have connected is Hypnotherapy. In the last 3 years, I have accrued 242 training hours with several hundred practice hours. Hypnotherapy is congruent with counseling interventions including relaxation skills, reintegration of life issues, reframing, anxiety reduction, visualization and guided imagery. Hypnosis works well with many clients although, clinical diagnostics and individual differences to dictate the therapeutic intervention to be employed. Treatment is specialized to patient need. Grateful for my foundational CACREP clinical counseling training, it is incumbent on the counselor to develop an array of best practice clinical skills.
At a minimum, the adequately equipped therapist must possess knowledge and skill in practicing affective therapies, behaviorally based interventions, and cognitive therapies. I have also developed a great appreciation through employing narrative techniques. I have had good success utilizing metaphors to assist clients in finding meaning and to assist in their search for their life path. In order to be effective, the therapist must understand the utility of each of these approaches as they relate to the particular client sitting in front of them.
This is not to discount the foundational skills that are common to most approaches and form the basis of counselors work with their clients. Perhaps most important is the critical role of the therapeutic alliance. I firmly believe that the potential for a healing interaction between the counselor and the client must be based on relationship. Without this therapeutic alliance, the trust and regard necessary for exploration and growth will be impaired. Obviously, building a therapeutic relationship with some clients will be challenging. I have worked with court-ordered clients that were angry and resistant toward being forced into treatment. In all cases, I still believe that the investment of clinical time necessary to develop a therapeutic alliance is critical to future success. Without this effort, attempts to “help the client” will be resisted and sabotaged.
Finally, I believe that as people trust their lives to their therapist, it is ethically obligatory that the clinician commit to a lifestyle of on-going self care, focused personal growth and continued professional development. Quite simply, it is unlikely that you can take clients where you have not been. I continue to seek opportunities to grow, both professionally and personally. I owe my best practice to both my clients and myself.