Master Counselling and Human Services, Bachelor Social Work, Bachelor Education, Diploma Community Services
Counselling and Psychotherapy
WHO IS CAROLINE
Caroline McDougall is a highly qualified and experienced psychotherapist and emotion-focused counsellor. She specializes in process-experiential emotion focused therapy.
Caroline has almost two decades of therapeutic experience working with people from all walks of life in both the public sector and in private settings. She works in the Bayside of Melbourne where her private practice has been established for 13 years. She has intensive postgraduate (Masters) training in counselling (Latrobe University) where she specialized in process-experiential emotion-focused therapy. In her practice she uses a dedicated approach where her attention to this therapeutic model has been tried and tested over many successful years of practice.
Caroline is well-known to be a caring, competent and approachable person. Her clients express appreciation and gratitude for her patience and kindness. This approach is quite rare in our society where words like ‘clinical’ underpin most therapeutic approaches.
WHAT IS HER APPROACH
Caroline offers, with her dedication and passion for changing the lives of others, a warm and caring therapeutic environment. Her practice is underpinned with a strong and competent approach, which elicits a sense of safety in her clients. She delivers an unflinching recovery-based treatment, taking her clients on a journey of change which is both powerful and ongoing. This approach, drawing on Gendlin’s Focusing, delves deep into the inner workings of the mind, and allows people to work through their painful and sometimes traumatic past or present experiences.
This method of reprocessing emotionally challenging past or present experiences or events is much more than a desensitizing process. It actually works to create a profound sense of freedom from that traumatic experience by stopping old patterns of behaving. This process happens by redesigning the wiring of the brain so that the thinking and the feeling and then the outward behaviours are all working in a much more healthy way. Caroline believes this is the only way to assist individuals through a gentle yet powerful process of change and release from the past. So whatever the traumatic experience was, it is remembered, in that yes, it did occur, but the impact of that event in current everyday life, and the emotional intensity and impact of the event, are greatly reduced.
WHAT IS COUNSELLING
One of the main reasons that people find coming to counselling helpful, is that it can be a positive experience talking through a problem with a skilled counsellor. A skilled counsellor will not judge you. Sometimes talking to friends and family can be difficult, uncomfortable and become complicated. Everyone has their own agenda, so it is difficult for others to talk to you without bringing their own experience into the equation.
A skilled counsellor is trained to step back, and be self-aware, so that they are not bringing their own opinions, agenda, or value system into the counselling space. A skilled counsellor is also highly trained to evoke long-lasting change in your brain, and therefore in your life. Caroline is skilled and highly trained to offer you the right approach in your journey of growth and change.
Think of counselling as the relationship between two human beings (client and counsellor) that work together. This relationship is essentially based on trust, empathy, consideration and unconditional positive regard. With the balanced ideology of this person-centred approach, Caroline will work with you to resolve your problematic thinking/feeling/behavioural experiences.
If your problem is immediate and easily resolved, counselling may last for a few sessions, and may be focused on finding a solution for the presenting issue. This could be a problem that is happening in any aspect of your life. It could be something happening at work or in your relationship. It could be any other difficulty you are having in your life. As each person is unique, so too will be each problem. That also means that the solution to each individual’s issues is highly tailored and individual as well. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to effective counselling. Many approaches today are conventional and are not designed to look at the totally unique make-up of each human being.
Through almost two decades of experience, Caroline will bring her compassion, skills, and her true belief that each person is a new challenge, with layers to be gently peeled away. You will find she will listen to you without judgement, and will bring insight, wisdom and keen intuitive ability to allow you to explore your issues in safety and confidentiality.
Some aspects of your sessions may include psycho-education and coaching to learn valuable skills to improve relationships with others at home or at work. Counselling may also include learning techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation as an adjunct to therapy and a pathway for self-soothing. This can help you to learn positive and calming ways to handle general stress. These techniques also help you to understand and manage the connection between your thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
Learning new patterns on a variety of levels will enhance your general wellbeing and your desire to work deeper into the process of change. Please enquire should you wish to add mindfulness practice into your therapeutic journey. Caroline can recommend individual or group sessions to provide this opportunity to boost your therapeutic transformation. These group sessions are held at her counselling rooms in Bayside Melbourne.
WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY and PEEFT
If, through after exploration with Caroline, you discover that your problem is deeper and possibly the result of previous life changing experiences from your, then psychotherapy will help.
Many people believe that life is about finding meaning, having a sense of direction or purpose, and feeling happy or content. However, many people live their lives struggling with feeling depressed or anxious, and addicted to drugs including alcohol. These all fall under the banner of repeated maladaptive patterns of behaviour. This also includes having an unhealthy relationship with food, known as disordered eating. At the end of the day, all of the above lead to individuals struggling to manage or stabilise their emotions. Depression is a chronic state of negative experiencing, flattened mood, problems experiencing pleasure and ad image of self which is cruel and self-critical. Like depression, anxiety is a state which plagues many people and in fact becomes a bad habit designed by the body’s nervous system to disguise deeper emotional issues.
Trained in a flexible, highly effective approach known as process-experiential emotion-focused therapy, Caroline will strive to get to the root of what lies beneath surface states such as depression and anxiety. The process begins with a concerted diligent approach of empathic attunement. This means Caroline really works hard to understand you, to build rapport and reach an understanding of the inner world of who you are. This will give Caroline a sense of you, the whole person, not just the part you present to the outer world.
Caroline then facilitates a gentle yet complex process of going well beneath the surface to explore your personal experiences. The aim of this process is to guide you into a comprehensive integration of your emotions. Thus you will start to live with more regulated ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. By gradually challenging patterns of behaviour which have caused trouble for you in your life, you will grow in self-understanding, self-awareness and confidence. The positive change intrinsic to this new fresh state of emotional intelligence will positively impact every single aspect of your life. You will attract in more positive experiences and better relationships with others, and more importantly, with yourself.
As a result of this self-exploration and leap into change, you will find a sense of inner harmony, and in general you will feel like a much improved version of yourself, without the baggage of the past, or the fear of an unknown future. Energy and fulfillment will be the gifts you can carry lightly through your everyday life.
Caroline is specially trained in process-experiential emotion focused therapy (PEEFT), a theoretically grounded and empirically supported humanistic psychotherapy which emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship. PEEFT is also underpinned by person-centred therapy, the brain-child of Carl Rogers. Rogers believed that therapeutic change can only occur where there is a strong relationship between client and therapist. Thus the values of empathy, unconditional positive regard and a profound belief that the client can be master of their own change are strong features of this working model.
This model also draws on Gestalt therapy, another psychotherapeutic approach developed by Fritz Perls. This is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy which emphasizes personal responsibility, and focuses on the individual’s experience in the present moment, the relationship between the client and the therapist, the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating people can make as a result of their overall situation.
Working from a PEEFT perspective will allow you and Caroline to identify, explore, process, transform and integrate your experiences. This occurs from an emotional perspective, alongside reflective processing, in order to make deep, effective and most importantly long-lasting change.
PEEFT also employs a task called ‘experiential focusing’ to do this. Created by Gendlin, experiential focusing is a way of directing attention inwards, where the client can allow themselves to ‘go within’ and access their deepest emotions. This intervention works well alongside mindfulness, which only enhances the process. Those individuals who have practiced mindfulness tend to respond even more effectively to the therapeutic journey of change provided by PEEFT. So Caroline uses her facilitation of mindfulness skills in order to enhance this process. The process of focusing with an experienced facilitator will enable you to be open to your current state, and with Alice, be curious about what certain felt-senses and emotions mean for you.
So, you can see from this plethora of information, that Caroline is a dedicated therapist who utilizes a variety of skills to help you change your life. You are the captain of your own ship and the master of your own destiny. You do have choices, and most of all, ultimate responsibility to be the change you would like to see all around you.
Contact Caroline via her email and she will contact you as soon as she is able to.