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Counselling Approach    
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Counselling Approach

Holistic Expressive Therapy, an Integrative Approach

The counselling services offered at the Centre for Expressive Therapy whether for children, youth or adults are based on Holistic Expressive Therapy. This approach to counselling initially evolved out of my struggles to find more effective ways of helping severely abused and traumatized children and adolescents. It has continued to evolve over the last 30 years and proven to be helpful to people of all ages, from young children to the elderly, suffering from a variety of issues.

This approach is based on the view that human beings hold within themselves an innate kernel of wisdom. Just as every seed has within it a germ that holds the capacity and drive to grow toward the light and to become whatever plant is coded within its genes, it is my view that all human beings are born with the possibility and drive to grow into their potential. I call this potential the person's "true nature".

This true nature holds within it a capacity for self-healing—an immune system that flows through and guides each part of our organism: physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual, with each level influencing, interacting, and communicating with all the others.

This approach is holistic as it addresses the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of clients in therapy. It is integrative as it incorporates a wide variety of expressive therapies, pays particular attention to the nurturing, sensory qualities of the healing environment where the therapy takes place. It also takes into account the crucial role of the therapeutic relationship and engages as much as possible the support of whatever family system is available. Whether using verbal counselling or any of the expressive therapies available (art, play, sand play, music, puppets, movement, storytelling etc…), I use a person-centered approach, not in the traditional sense of being nondirective, but by being focused on the unique needs of each individual, according to his physical and emotional age, history, strengths, wounds, and present living situation. My choice and the way I use each expressive therapy always involves starting from where each person is at and is informed by her primary need. A hungry child will not be interested in drawing. When one starts from where the client is, there are no clear-cut, well-defined, step-by-step procedures to follow. No formula guarantees a successful outcome. Instead, the therapist creates the methods needed for this particular person, at that particular moment. The wonder and challenge is that no two people will deal with the combination of nature, nurture, and trauma in the same way, and the therapy will need to be reinvented for each client.

Holistic Expressive Therapy is thus an integration of all the components and methods that are uniquely brought together for each client in order to create a safe place where he can connect to his true nature and access its wisdom and guidance in order to heal. Whether with children, youth or adults, whichever form of expression we may use, the initial emphasis is on helping them connect to their own inner strengths and resources, before engaging in a deeper exploration of the issues that bring them to therapy.

Thus, the resiliency of the seed will be awakened, healing will take place, and growth will resume. Such healing needs to take place on all levels, as each level, at all times, influences the other. The physical level is body-centered and provides soothing and healing for the senses. The emotional level provides repair of attachment and the recovery of the whole range of feelings with the ability to express them creatively. On the cognitive level, the client repairs the mistaken views and faulty understanding that have so far interfered with his healing process. He becomes able to make sense of his life situation and gain a more realistic view of the world. On the spiritual level, he gains a sense of being intact, no matter what, as he remains connected to his true nature and has access to its wisdom and guidance. The result is an increase in confidence, strength, creativity and energy to meet life's challenges and maintain the positive changes that have been made.

Counselling Services

Counselling Services For Adults

Counselling Services For Children

Information and Session Rates

About The Centre For Expressive Therapy

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     Contact the Centre For Expressive Therapy

Marie-Josť Dhaese Ph.D., RCC, ATR, RPT-S, CPT-S
Phone: (250) 248-1290
  Email: mariejosedhaese@gmail.com
846 San Malo Crescent
Parksville, British Columbia
V9P 1S5