Impact Therapy

Impact therapy is effective because it uses not only verbal, but also visual and kinesthetic (carrying out a physical activity) exchanges, resulting in clear, concrete and thought-provoking therapy, rather than vague, abstract, and emotional therapy.

This approach is action and insight oriented and it gets clients thinking for themselves by using props and concrete objects when challenging negative self-talk.

Impact therapy and creative counselling techniques

This course teaches therapists and counsellors the basic steps to follow for speeding up the counselling process and having a better impact on their clients. It is designed to enrich the therapist’s intervention strategies by making them more concrete and more effective, providing therapists with the necessary tools to help them cope with a wide variety of problems. Participants are taught to use the symbolic power of simple objects to transform abstract ideas and complex difficulties into clear, concrete, easily intelligible metaphors. This course creates a solid bridge between theory and technique and provides a clear way to understand the process and progress of a therapy session.

Addressing negative self-talk with Impact Therapy

A little self-criticism is a good thing because it can be a reality check that motivates someone to be a better person. Negative self-talk however tends to backfire, because it focuses on “failures” instead of the "small ways that one could improve”. Studies show that over the long term, negative self-talk is associated with higher stress levels and even depression. This course teaches therapists and counsellors ways to identify and guide the inner critic for good using Impact Therapy.

Much is drawn from the theories of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, and Reality Therapy.

Therapists and counsellors are taught the basic steps to identify irrational ideas in a client’s self-talk and dispute it using Impact Therapy.Participants are taught how to combine REBT and ego states from TA with creative props, drawings, analogies, and Gestalt therapy in a different manner than the way this theory is traditionally taught resulting in clear, concrete, and effective methods.

Impact Therapy and Depression
Depression, the most common psychiatric disorder in the world, is an epidemic which has reached explosive proportions. It is said that one in every four people will suffer from major depression at least once in their lives. Feeling sad is a normal part of stress or grief, but when the feeling persists over a long period of time and it becomes disabling and distressing, it gets the clinical diagnosis of major depressive episode. Depression not only causes profound mental anguish. It also affects the core biological processes which regulate immunity, hormones, sleep, appetite, neurotransmitters, glucose control and metabolic activity. The result could be premature aging, heart disease, Alzheimer's, stroke or diabetes. Depression continues to be a major healthcare burden.

But depression also includes a way of viewing yourself, others and the future in such a way that could be categorized as faulty thinking patterns. These cognitive distortions could be challenged and replaced by more adaptive responses. It is a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Was the person depressed and therefore developed faulty thinking patterns or did the person develop depression because he already had faulty thinking patterns, as one doesn't have to be depressed to be guilty of invoking faulty thinking patterns. Whichever came first, the fact is that before long this person will create a feedback loop or vicious cycle of negative thoughts. As human beings we are the creators of our thoughts and therefore it is possible to break this cycle.

Impact Therapy offers tools to help clients suffering from depression. This approach specializes in simplifying the problems - and the solutions - for the clients, presenting a step by step intervention to meet the client where he is, give him some concrete tools to understand his state and help him progress through the higher steps. By examining the symptoms and behaviours typical of depression, effective Impact strategies could be devised to stop the downward spiral and begin the assent toward a healthy, balanced life. This hierarchical process allows both clients and therapists to experience little victories at each step and makes it clear what to do and what to avoid at each level.

In this course the focus falls on new ways to identify faulty thinking patterns using Impact Therapy props and metaphors. It is designed to help therapists and clients interrupt the endless feedback loop of faulty thinking patterns by making intervention strategies more concrete and effective.

Impact Therapy and Anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US. It affects 40 million adults in the US, which is 18% of their population. Though anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only about one-third of those suffering from it receive treatment. It was found that people suffering from an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to visit the doctor and six times more likely to be admitted to hospital for psychiatric disorders than those who don't. Genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events are among the complex set of risk factors that anxiety disorders develop from.

Human survival depends on fear and stress reactions because they enable people to pursue important goals and respond appropriately to danger. In healthy individuals, a genuine challenge or threat provoke the fight or flight reaction, which then triggers an appropriate action. However, anxiety disorders involve an inappropriate or excessive state of arousal and the person experiences feelings of uncertainty, fear or apprehension. Once the threat is removed an appropriate response to the threat resolves while an anxiety disorder persists.

Worrying could be very useful when it helps a person to work toward important goals in life or remember appointments. In this way a person is rewarded for worrying. It serves one well when worrying leads to effective planning and making positive, healthy choices. When one is able to change a potentially negative outcome into a positive outcome, it makes sense to worry.

While concern and worry commonly affect people and could be helpful in a person's life, anxiety presents itself as much more intrusive to daily life. It has a crippling effect on a person's entire life as this emotion invades every aspect of life. Without appropriate and effective intervention, this emotion could invade one's entire life and have some very debilitating effects.

However, anxiety also offers an excellent momentum as it contains a rich source of information and could serve as a powerful agent for change. Impact Therapy strategies and creative impact techniques could be used with anxious clients to make sure anxiety will help them grow, become stronger and contribute to their self-awareness.

This course is designed to add novel ideas to the therapist's anxiety repertoire to be more effective in dealing with anxiety by making their intervention strategies more action, insight and resolution oriented.

Impact Therapy and Anger

Anger is one of the most powerful emotions all of us love to judge but also to ignore. Because we don’t like to deal with anger, our subconscious minds developed subtle and creative ways to cope with it. Therefore, it doesn’t always show up as familiar short bursts of rage. It could also be much more subtle or insidious. No wonder it is said that anger is only one letter short of danger as anger comes from the Latin word "angere", which means "to strangle".

Although anger might be an unpleasant emotion to deal with, it is a normal, healthy part of being human. If expressed in a healthy way anger serves as a powerful motivating force. But chronic anger could increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

In this course the CBT model is used to explain how anger grows from irrational thoughts and leads to a difficult-to-break cycle of growing frustration. The Cycle of Anger diagram is taught as a tool to show how anger is triggered, beginning with a trigger which leads to negative thoughts, emotions, physical symptoms and a behavioural response. The course starts by defining anger (especially, how anger differs from aggression), and then move through topics such as triggers, the expression of anger, and consequences of anger.
Impact therapy tools are demonstrated to teach clients how to recognize and understand their anger.

In this course the focus falls on anger management with children, teens and adults using Impact therapy props and metaphors. It is designed to help therapists be more effective when doing anger management by making their intervention strategies more concrete and effective.
Dr Lorna Geer
Copyright 2018
Last updated on 15 Jan 2018
Counselling Psychologist
Centurion, Pretoria