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Therapeutic Approach

The Harbour Schools Group believes strongly that all children have the right to education in a provision suited to their needs that will enable their development in the best possible way.

We align that thinking with humanist Carl Rogers who realised that all people, regardless of their backgrounds and biological differences, have the potential to grow and develop rapidly when certain conditions are met and eventually they may reach their full potential (self-actualisation).

This psychological model forms the basis of modern psychotherapy and it is also highly suited as an educational model to enhance the growth and development of vulnerable young students. We realise that education can be a major source of stress and anxiety for students, particularly those with self-esteem issues, therefore many challenges and barriers need to be addressed in a unique way.

Every student with The Harbour Schools Group will have access to a fully qualified therapist trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and/or psychodynamic therapy. This therapist will be full time in post at their school and additional therapists specialising in areas will work with students that may benefit from alternative approaches.


What’s the Difference?

While both aim to reduce symptoms and distress, perhaps the most central difference between CBT and psychodynamic therapy is that psychodynamic therapy tries to get at why you feel or behave the way you do (i.e., uncover deeper and often unconscious motivations for feelings and behaviour) whereas CBT does not. CBT simply attempts to alleviate suffering as quickly as possible by training your mind to replace dysfunctional thought patterns, perceptions, and behaviour (without asking more about them) with more realistic or helpful ones in order to alter behaviour and emotions.

Advocates of psychodynamic therapy argue that for many issues, a deeper treatment is required to produce lasting change. Advocates of CBT argue that their briefer methods are just as effective. And while a subject of controversy, the research data generally support both approaches.


Features of CBT:

  • It is relatively brief and time-limited (twelve weeks to six months).
  • It is highly instructional in nature and homework is a central element.
  • It is highly structured and directed with the therapist setting the agenda for each session (based on mutually set goals).
  • It focuses on the here-and-now only and not a person’s history.


Features of Psychodynamic Therapy:

  • While it can be brief, it is often longer term (six months or longer).
  • It is less structured, typically without homework assignments.
  • The client, not the therapist sets the agenda for the session by talking about whatever is on their mind.
  • It focuses on the here-and-now as well as on personal history.

By having both approaches available for the students, the method that works best for them will be readily available and therefore the barriers to education will be efficiently broken down so that they may thrive and develop.