Welcome to Rivers Edge Counselling Centre. In this section, you will find a list of some of the therapy approaches some of our counsellors employ. This guide is meant to give you some insight into a few of the practical and theoretical approaches taken by our counsellors but is by no means an exhaustive list. It is important to note that all our therapists are trained in multiple approaches and have their own unique styles. Our therapists are always flexible in their methods and will meet with you to decide together on the best plan to achieve your goals and satisfy your needs. Many of these evidence-based practices share common factors that are critical to their efficacy and success. We recognize that the best therapeutic approach is the one that works for you. We find that therapist/client fit is one of the most critical factors in ensuring successful outcomes and we strive to make sure that your fit with your therapist is the best it can be. Learn more about how we do that here. As always, don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all.

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is an evidence-based approach to therapy that seeks to solve problems, boost happiness and reduce or eliminate dysfunctional emotions, behaviours, and thoughts that don't serve you well. One of the goals of CBT is to change the way you think about certain things. It aims to eliminate distorted or untrue "self-talk" that can be causing distress and/or getting in the way of your goals. As the name implies, CBT works on regulating your cognitions (thoughts), your behaviours and your emotions. If you’d like to learn more about CBT you can do so here.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is a type of therapy that focuses on fostering happy adult relationships. EFT is a structured approach that helps to cultivate healthy attachment and promote bonding within relationships. Sometimes couples can get into unhealthy cycles of arguments or behaviours that are destructive to their shared goal of a happy relationship. EFT can be a great tool to help identify break those patterns in order to establish or reestablish secure and loving harmony. If you’d like to learn more about EFT you can do so here.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new but empirically backed and effective type of therapy aimed explicitly at reprogramming trauma in the body and brain. Often, victims of trauma have recurrent and poignant emotions and sensations that come up when they recall the traumatic event. The goal of EMDR is to diminish the negative feelings associated with the memories of the traumatic event through a novel approach that involves an eye movement technique that is thought to help recalibrate the body's response to the traumatic memory through novel physiological and psychological methods. If you'd like to learn more about EMDR you can do so here.


Existential therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the person as a whole and acknowledges each person’s capacity for self-awareness and the ability to make rational choices. As its name implies, this theoretical approach evolved out of the European existential philosophers who theorized that human discontent was inevitable but could be overcome by innate wisdom. One of the goals of existential therapy is to increase self-understanding and to explore issues surrounding freedom, responsibility, death and the meaning of life. These explorations help to deepen a personal sense of purpose and to cultivate well-being. If you’d like to learn more about existential therapy, you can do so here.

Family Systems

Family systems therapy focuses on the family unit as a whole, as well as the individual components that make up a family. Families habits are often ingrained into patterns and form systems that can function (or fail to function) somewhat automatically. Family systems therapy adds a fresh set of eyes of and a neutral third party into the mix to help evaluate what is and isn’t working both on an individual and group level. Family systems theory is founded on the principle that families are emotionally interconnected and thus complex reciprocal changes can radiate throughout a family when some part of that dynamic is changed. One goal of family systems therapy is to examine the behaviours and thoughts of different members of the family and to find ways to work together to repair and strengthen family unity and happiness. If you’d like to learn more about family systems therapy you can do so here. Learn more about different types of family counselling available at Rivers Edge Counselling Centre here.

Gottman Approach

The Gottman method for healthy relationships focuses on couples relationships and fostering the proven elements that make romantic relationships go in the long run. This approach is evidence-based and focuses on breaking through relationship gridlock to reduce negative emotions and increase positive ones. A vital component of the Gottman approach is understanding your partners wants and needs as well as your own in order to build a stable and lasting relationship. If you’d like to learn more about the Gottman approach to therapy you can do so here. Learn further about our couples and relationship counselling here.

Group Therapy

Group therapy involves one or more therapists working with a group of people with a common focus. Group therapy can be very effective for a variety of distinct groups of people and address a multitude of different issues. Some of the benefits of group therapy are that you can learn from and empathize with your fellow group members, and that it can often be more affordable than one-on-one therapy. Often, people seeking therapy can feel isolated, like they are the only person in the world dealing with their particular life issue or situation. While each person's position is unique, group therapy is a great chance to explore the commonality of some problems and circumstances and to form a support system with those who are on a parallel journey. Some examples of common groups for therapy are for those struggling with alcoholism/addiction, those grieving, people in the LGBTQ+ community, those with eating disorders and survivors of attempted suicide. Group therapy can also be an effective tool to use in tandem with individual counselling. If you’d like to learn more about group therapy you can do so here. Learn more about the group therapy sessions we offer at Rivers Edge Counselling Centre here.

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Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy is a type of therapy that incorporates mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep breathing in order to help with a variety of challenges. MBCT is particularly effective for people with recurrent depression, chronic unhappiness, and addiction. Deep breathing and meditation have long been practiced worldwide but have recently caught the attention of scientists and been proven to be effective instruments for self-control of the body and mind. With MBCT, therapists teach you to use mindfulness tools that use the body’s own powerful abilities to rewire and recalibrate the body and brain in the short and long term. Mindfulness techniques are taught and practiced in conjunction with a more classical style of therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT (link). If you'd like to learn more about MBCT, you can do so here.


Narrative therapy is a type of therapy that views people separately from their problems. It encourages people to rely on their own skills to minimize problems that exist in their lives. Throughout life, our experiences become our own personal stories. We give these stories meaning, and the stories help shape our identities. Narrative therapy uses the power of these stories to help people discover their life purpose. This is often done by assigning that person the role of “narrator” in their own story. If you’d like to learn more about narrative therapy you can do so here.


Person-centered therapy allows the client to take the lead in therapeutic discussions in such a way that they navigate their own solutions. The therapist acts as a sounding board and listens carefully while allowing the client to determine the direction of the conversation. Instead of directly guiding the client, person-centered therapists act as guides on the client's journey of self-discovery. Therapists with a person-centered orientation try to listen without judgment and to limit the amount they interrupt or interfere with the client's journey. If you'd like to learn more about person-centered therapy, you can do so here.

Play therapy

Children and adults experience the world and express themselves in very different ways. An adult’s natural form of expression is language, while children’s natural form of expression is play. Play is important to the development of children in many ways, including facilitating logical memory, abstract thinking, emotional regulation, mastery of language, and physical and motor development.

Play therapy helps children to:

  • explore emotions
  • identify and work through challenging experiences
  • organize thoughts
  • nurture mastery and resilience
  • improve relational abilities
  • make sense of self, other and the world, through the use of metaphor and symbol

Play therapy can help children work through many issues, including:

  • difficult emotions, such as anger, worry and anxiety
  • grief and loss
  • divorce and separation
  • blended family adjustment
  • bullying
  • emotional regulation
  • problems relating to peers or siblings
  • trauma
  • self-identity and self-esteem

Play therapists are trained to work with children from a developmental perspective to identify themes in the children’s play, and then to creatively work with different interventions (puppets, sand, clay, games, books, art) to help the child work towards resolution and healing.

At River's edge Counselling Centre, our child therapists understand the unique ways in which children process experiences and information, and how play can be used to help children to heal and grow.

Our playroom is fully equipped with a sandtray, art materials, therapeutic toys and board games. Our approach is to work with children from a holistic perspective in a safe, respectful environment. Caregivers are always included in the process and are considered essential to a child’s therapeutic success. When required, other helpers (doctors, teachers) may be included in the therapeutic process. Our experience has shown that therapy is most successful on a long term basis when parents and guardians are actively involved in the process.


Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person's present behaviour. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are to increase self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on current behaviour. Psychodynamic therapy works to bring unconscious or deeply buried thoughts and feelings to the surface so they can be discussed and addressed using specific techniques. Somewhat based on psychoanalytic theory from Sigmund Freud, psychodynamic therapy expands on some of Freud’s concepts in a modern way. If you’d like to learn more about psychodynamic therapy you can do so here.

Solution-focused Brief therapy (SFBT)

Solution-focused therapy, as the name implies, is all about finding and implementing a solution to problems. Goal-setting is one of the foundations of solutions focused therapy, and the therapist will help you to identify a specific problem and to elucidate the goals and or solutions to that problem. Rather than diving deep into the individual's feelings around problems, SFBT is goal oriented, future-focused and action based. SFBT might be used on its own to tackle a particular problem or set of problems, or it may be a tool used in conjunction with more traditional styles of talk therapy. If you’d like to learn more about solution-focused therapy you can do so here.

Somatic experiencing

Somatic experiencing is a body-oriented approach focused on the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. This theoretical approach is based on the idea that individuals who have experienced trauma can be "stuck" in a fight, flight or freeze land, physiologically and psychologically. The goal of somatic experiencing is to unstick the person and help them move on with their lives by reprocessing the trauma in a safe and healthy manner. This novel program uses modern insights from neuroscience, ethology, physiology, and psychology to craft an experiential type of therapy that can ease the sometimes debilitating effects of traumatic experiences. If you’d like to learn more about somatic experiencing, you can do so here.

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