How I Can Help
Therapy is intended to provide support, insight and personal growth in matters related to psychological and emotional well-being. It is different than talking with friends or family, in that a therapist is clinically trained to identify and address thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns that may be at the source of distress.
Unlike friends and family, a therapist can provide feedback and guidance in a way that is uniquely objective (objectivity is an essential part of what makes therapy effective). Therapists carefully set aside their own personal emotions, opinions and experiences, with the sole purpose of attending to the needs of each individual client. This objectivity allows them to listen and learn about a client's emotional world and experience of life, as described by each client through his or her own perspective. Establishing this unique, therapeutic relationship is at the foundation of a positive outcome, based on meeting clients' desired goals.
Important elements of therapy include creating a safe space (literally and figuratively) to help clients talk through difficult and confusing situations/circumstances, to process intense emotions and to develop healthy behaviors and coping methods for navigating life's challenges on a day-to-day basis.
Who comes to therapy?
The clients I work with tend to come to therapy with common concerns.
· Many clients come in because they are struggling with an unhappy/unhealthy relationship, whether it be a romantic relationship, a relationship within their family or one with a friend or co-worker. I help clients develop ways to improve these relationships and in some cases, they may need help with disconnecting from a relationship that is hurtful or destructive.
· Some clients come in because they are feeling 'out of sorts', but are not sure why. They have tried on their own, but have been unable to relieve their distress. In these cases I work with clients to identify the source(s) of how they are feeling, to develop healthy coping strategies and/or to remove the source(s) of distress when possible.
· Other clients seeking support may be experiencing temporary heightened distress based on a specific situation, or they may have longer-standing symptoms related to chronic depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These clients may need help with working through unresolved traumatic experiences, whether it be one incident or numerous incidents over time (these events can include any kind of abuse, being in or witnessing a tragic accident, severe/chronic illness or injury, loss, etc.). I help these clients identify difficult emotional states where they may be feeling 'stuck'. Painful and difficult feelings such as anger or grief & loss can get 'locked up', and create any of number of symptoms (i.e. depression, anxiety, difficulties with sleep, difficulties with relationships, etc). The goal of therapy is to 'unlock' these feelings, so that they can be felt/processed and then released, which can alleviate symptoms of distress.
· A number of clients come to therapy to address addictive/impulsive behavior (sometimes their own behavior, and/or sometimes that of a family member or loved one). This can often mean that a client will need additional sources or support beyond individual counseling. In these cases I will provide further assessment and consultation, and help clients get connected with the appropriate resources.
· Many clients may feel like they are doing relatively well in life, but come to therapy because they want to develop a plan to accomplish a specific goal that they believe will move them in a positive direction. They may want to make a big career change, to run a marathon, to further their education, to move to a new place, to start a family, etc. To help them be successful in accomplishing their goal, I work with these clients to set clear and measurable objectives, along with immediate and longer-term steps to reach their desired outcome.
In all cases, I believe it is important to help clients become more aware of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, as these are at the core of how life is experienced. Increasing personal insight and awareness enables the potential for change. When clients become more self-aware, they are better able to identify the cause/effect of what is happening in their lives, allowing them to make choices that can give them a greater sense of self confidence and personal agency. With a stronger awareness, clients are also better able to identify the various parts of life that they can change, and to accept and feel okay about the parts of life they cannot change. This further guides choices and decisions that support emotional and physical health, satisfying relationships and an overall sense of well-being.