How I Work
Maren Ronne, RCC
Broadly speaking, we can work together in one of two ways: shorter term counselling (to tackle an immediate problem), or longer-term (more personal growth focussed) counselling.
As I say, that is broadly speaking—now let me break it down a little further:
I work in two different ways, and for clarity I have separated them here. In reality, these ways of working infuse and inform each other in a natural and organic way. In an Adlerian* way of thinking about this, let’s call one way of counselling putting our focus on the ‘here and now’ (i.e., present) issues. And let’s call the other way of working putting our focus on the ‘there and then’ (i.e., originating in the near or distant past) issues. A third way of working is also presented below.
Most people, once comfortable in therapy, slowly allow all facets of their being to come into our sessions, and the sessions become a mixture of all ways of working.
* My theoretical orientation is Adlerian. Please see the Alfred Alder page.
A ‘Here and Now’ Focus
Individuals may be bothered by unpleasant emotions or behaviours like panic, anxious feelings, depressed feelings, troubled relationships, anger, addictions, grief, compulsive behaviours, etc. and want to focus first and foremost on the ‘right now’ issues to be explored— and changed, and preferably quickly!
With clients in this category I first focus our work to the issue at hand: For example, “I hate my job and I am having panic attacks at work”. Or, “I dislike the way I act when people push my buttons”, or “I am really down or anxious right now and I can barely get out of bed in the morning”.
We can immediately begin work to help you become more in control of your actions, and more accepting of your emotions. In your therapy sessions, we may use wisdom from mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), brief solutions therapy, narrative therapy etc. There are things we can employ to help you feel, and get, better!
The important thing is to get you functioning and feeling in a way that is more aligned to what you wish it could be.
I recommend a commitment to at least 10 sessions in order for the work to yield benefits. Current research strongly suggests that weekly sessions are the most efficacious way to proceed in counselling. By that I mean that results are seen faster. On an ongoing basis we will evaluate together whether weekly sessions are still required, and perhaps will decide that bi–weekly sessions will be sufficient to your needs. Once enough progress has been made, perhaps a break from therapy is warranted. Some people take a break for weeks or even months, and return to our sessions when they feel that they are needed again.
Working this way can take the “Are these therapy sessions going to go on forever?” anxiety out of therapy.
A ‘There and Then’ Focus
This therapeutic focus, as the name suggests, has a historical lens. The theory is that by looking backwards in time we may find the wisdom that we require today. Our early relationships with parents or parental figures, siblings etc. may be explored. Family history and genealogy may also be significant.
This (often longer-term) therapy focus is for people whose symptoms (i.e. negative feelings and behaviours) are for the most part in a safe zone: they want ongoing personal exploration now. This is sometimes called ‘depth-work’ and is more overtly psychoanalytic in its orientation. We may explore your dreams and early recollections as a way to bring what is unconscious into conscious awareness.
Again, the caveat that these areas of our lives (i.e., the past and the present, and the conscious and the unconscious) inform and infuse each other applies—and our work together will reflect that.
The Third Way: With a Conscious Integration of Your Spirituality
Clients who fall into this category may well have the same day-to-day anxieties as everyone else, but the way they understand, or ground them, is more from a consciously existential perspective. They often consider themselves religious or spiritual, and desire to work in therapy in a way that intentionally integrates and explores their religious worldview.
Please note that I am not a Spiritual Director—that is a different area of study and certification. What I can do, however, is easily receive your spiritual worldview into our counselling sessions. You need not feel uncomfortable because of your religious beliefs. They will be held with respect and openness, and I would be pleased to incorporate this aspect of your being into your therapy.
Although I have worked with people from many religious traditions, I am most knowledgeable and grounded within the Judeo-Christian tradition; my particular orientation leans into the contemplative Christian lineage. But again, all are welcome: I am available to help you to integrate, engage with, and deepen what is spiritually important to you.