Therapeutic Approaches

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Although counselling and psychotherapy may be defined as two distinctive approaches theoretically, in practice there is a choreographed dance that happens as the counsellor and person move from the external world of the self-in-situations then moving to the internal world of meaning making and reflecting on the self-in- situations. The clients’ purpose and intentions of seeking assistance would guide the focus of counselling/psychotherapy.

The relational self

‘I’ is known and experienced always in relationship – a constitutional element informed by post modern thinking, social construction, cultural and family therapy perspectives. Who “I” believe myself to be and can become is very much influenced on my relations with various people in various socio-cultural contexts.

Family Therapy

The various approaches with similarities and differences are widely used with individuals, families, couples and in work-place relations and mediation.

Family Therapy views problems and solutions as experienced in relationships between people. It broadens the lens to explore the familial, cultural, historical, social influences on people’s lives.

Family Therapy can be conducted with various family configurations such as having the entire family present, child and parent/s, brother and sister or parent/carers, couples and other family or group configurations.

Narrative Therapy

“…seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counselling which centres people as the experts in their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, competencies, belief, values and commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives” (Alice Morgan 2000).

“…Narrative practice is informed by an ethic of collaboration …” (Freedman & Combes).

A Narrative therapy assumption is that life is multi storied and not single storied; that there are alternative stories that lie in the shadows of the dominant story and no story of a person’s life is free of ambiguities or contradictions. Counselling facilitate reconnecting with alternative stories that may be overshadowed by concerns and problems.

Creative- Self- Expressions

There are different ways of telling a story. For some people talking therapy is the preferred. For others engaging in creative art for self expression may be a preferred or complement to talking.

It is a privilege for me as the counsellor/therapist to engage in Creative Self-Expression with children and enter their world, witnessing the aliveness and magic of the present moment and gently supporting children in meaning making while discovering possible solution knowledge, and co-creating possible new identity stories.

Below are some examples of creative self expressions that children and young people find useful:

  • Concrete ways of experiencing for children and young people to begin discovering or reconnecting with aspects of self: Sensory/Feelings/Language/ Motor/Cognitive/Memory.
  • Music and rhythm; Voice: soft/loud, fast/slow, whisper/shout, singing, humming and miming
  • Drawing, painting and clay sculpting, creating props and directing performances
  • Body awareness of movements/sensations and linking physical sensations, emotions and the body. Physical sensations – how emotions feel in the body; Facial and postural expressions and Behavioural expression.
  • Re-authoring conversations, a Narrative practice-map which uses different forms of questioning and enquiry.

Attachment informed therapy

Is a relational model of exploring the effects of early-formed maps of connecting and relating which have the potential to influence the on-going ways of relating with self and others through life.


Is a parenting programme that can be used with individual parent/s or facilitated as a group parenting programme. COS provides a step-by-step clear map as a guide to parent/child interactions. It is a relational framework informed by Attachment ideas and concepts and family therapy ideas. COS has been developed by Cooper, Hoffman and Powell

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

This form of therapy is an evidence-based, effective treatment for children with complex trauma, reactive attachment disorder (RAD), and other disorders of attachment. It is an approach that is primarily family-focused. The focus of dyadic developmental psychotherapy is on relationships, attunement, intersubjectivty, and sensitive responsiveness by a parent/care-giver. PACE is also a focus of DDP. DDP has been developed by Dr. Daniel Hughes, Clinical

PACE Parenting

Playfulness brings enjoyment to the relationship. Acceptance creates psychological safety. When we curiously explore within a relationship we express a desire to know the other more deeply. Empathy communicates our curiosity and acceptance, as we recognize and respond to the other’s emotional experience. (Dr Dan Hughes

Working with Effects of trauma on the self

The writings and ideas of (D. Hughes, 2006; R. Meares, 2000; B. van der Kolk, 2005; B. Rothschild, 2000; D. Siegel 2009; and M. White, 2004 and 2005) influences Angela Ranallo’s own thinking and therapeutic practice in relation to dissociation or disconnection from self as a manifestation of traumatic memories. Trauma has the potential of bringing about disruptions to personal neurobiological, psychological, emotional and social development, having implications on the many aspects of our lives and relationships.

Working with effects of abuse

Working with effects of experiences of abuse and violence have the potential of creating doubts and disqualify a person’s own beliefs about their capabilities and who s/he is as a person. It increases guilt, shame and sense of worthlessness. It creates vulnerability for people to more easily get recruited into negative stories about their identity.

Please make contact if you wish to know more about the approaches used.

Child & Family Therapy Counselling Service is an independent counselling and family therapy centre operated by Angela Ranallo, a qualified Clinical Social Worker, Child & Family Therapist and accredited Mental Health Social Worker specialising in Children and Young People Counselling - Parenting Support and Family Counselling - Relationships & Couples Counselling - Adult Mental Health - Trauma Therapy and Clinical Supervision and Training.