My Approach to Therapy
Because every individual, couple, and group is unique, my style of therapy may differ somewhat depending on you.
I think therapy goes best when the relationship between the therapist and the client feels emotionally safe. You should feel supported, encouraged, and at times challenged. Growing, changing, adjusting and grieving are often difficult processes, even when we want one or more of these processes to occur. We will work together to understand your history, your typical ways of relating to others, the ways you use to cope with life, and the many various ways that other people relate and cope. From that place, you can decide what you might want to change if anything at all.
Psychotherapy can be many things. I tend to think that people typically do what they know or what they are capable of doing at that time. When, as people we get stuck in life, it’s often just that we need outside perspectives and a caring person to assist us. Most of us have had the experience at least once in life of working with a gifted teacher, coach, friend or family member; someone who encouraged us and helped us to see or experience something in a new way. Psychotherapy is similar to that except that the change often occurs as much because of the relationship between therapist and client as it does from information or ideas that are shared. Many times we will use our dialogue and relationship as the way to create change, but we may use other psychotherapy methods too. For example we might use role playing, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), LI (Life Span Integration), PE (prolonged exposure therapy), psycho-education, books, self-help assignments between appointments, etc. Much of what we will use in your therapy will depend on what works and what you prefer. I will share with you what is known about various methods and their effectiveness as we decide together the directions we will take.
In my experience, people are very capable of making change in their lives or healing from difficulties, but often it is not easy. There are many things that can get in the way of moving forward or healing from the past. Sometimes it is that we can only do what we know and have to learn some new things. Sometimes we have experienced something so many times or something so intense that our brain literally is conditioned to react in ways that perhaps we really do not want. It often takes time and effort to shift these types of reactions to something that is more effective.
I borrow from a number of psychological perspectives and theories. I tend to think in terms of learning, relationships, development, and neurobiology. Mostly I use interpersonal, cognitive/behavioral, trauma (or upsetting event) processing, and psycho-educational approaches.