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Emotion : A distinct kind of feeling, a contributing factor to mental state e.g. sad and sadness, fear and anxiety. A strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. An instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from one based on reasoning or knowledge.

Empathy : imagining experiencing the world, emotions and feelings of a client from their perspective in their situation without ‘becoming’ that person. Empathy may also relevant to relationships and situations as well as people. Trying to understand the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and meanings from another person’s frame of reference.  Empathy is feeling with them, being alongside them whereas sympathy is feeling like them and pity is feeling for them.

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Euphoria : An exaggerated feeling of physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes induced by an external event, or hypnosis, or drugs, or cultural stimulus e.g. prayer, dancing or music.

Family Therapy : Including more than one member of a family in counselling or therapy. Often the problems of one member of a family affect other members too. Observing and interacting with the relationships between family members to clarify, moderate and enable them to improve, particularly where there is dysfunctional behaviour. Careful consideration of the family’s prevailing cultural values and empathy with the family and their individual relationships is an essential part of the therapy.

Feedback : Giving someone the opportunity to be open to the perceptions of others. In a counselling situation it involves a verbal and non verbal process where people let others know of their perceptions and feelings about their behaviours. Feedback can be more effective if it is interactive (a dialog) rather than just a statement. Feedback is essential to improve the quality of communication.

Feeling (noun): The general state of consciousness considered independently of particular sensations, thoughts, etc. Capacity for emotion, especially compassion.

Fight / Flight Response : The built-in hormone driven response to a situation perceived as threatening by the autonomic nervous system i.e. involuntary or unconscious reaction and behaviour. It prepares us to either fight the danger or take flight from it to avoid it. For example if we unexpectedly see something approaching our head we will either try to block its path (fight) or instinctively and instantly ‘duck down’ (flight).  This is a hard-wired (instinctive) pattern built-in to our nervous system for the protection of our physical self. Little or no conscious thought is involved at the time, this improves our reaction time and aids survival.

Flashback : The perception of a past event recurring vividly in the mind. Often associated with traumatic experiences of physical, mental or sexual voilence or abuse.

Focusing : Helping a client to explore a specific area in more detail. Paying particular attention to the subject in hand or of concern.

Genetic Endowment : The traits and characteristics that are inherited by a child from its parents and their forebears. They may be physical, mental, strengths, weaknesses, preferences and aversions. Used when compiling a geneogram.

Geneogram : A technique, and form of diagram, used to map out potential genetically inherited traits and characteristics by a client relative from their forebears.

Genuineness : The degree to which the counsellor or therapist can be freely and deeply themself with the client(s). See also congruence and authenticity.

Goal Setting :  Defining with a client a specific outcome that is desirable either to them or for the progress of the session and inter session work. To be effective a goal has to be well defined, practical and achievable  with resources to hand e.g. time, knowledge, materials, capability, energy.

Grieving Therapy : There is no single approach to grieving for a loss, change of circumstances or bereavement. Grieving is a natural process which tends to go through phases such as : accepting reality, experiencing and coping with the pain, adjusting to the new environment, withdrawing emotional energy from who or what has been lost, learning to build new relationships. Person centred therapy forms an essential part when helping a client come to terms with loss.

Humanistic : The humanistic approach to councelling and therapy emphasises the uniqueness of each individual. It stresses the subjective experience of the client rather than trying to ‘fit’ them into some predetermined model or theory. It involves listening and understanding with empathy. See also Person Centred Therapy.

Hypnotherapy : Hypnosis produces a temporary trance or dream-like state. It can be useful in some cases, with the clients consent, to achieve specific short term goals, e.g. nail biting, bed wetting, smoking, weight loss and  phobias.

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