I'm a licensed professional.
MFT - 46075
The purpose of psychotherapy is to lower suffering and increase peace of mind. Very often the first step in overcoming a problem is resolving feelings that accompany the problem. In our westernized society, needing help with an issue can trigger feelings of shame or inadequacy. I understand the knock to one's self-esteem that this creates, as well as the ambivalence over trusting a relative stranger with your secrets. It's also difficult to wave the white flag and say "my way isn't working, I need some guidance". Actually, my clients discover that the experience of bonding with a safe, nonjudgmental and caring individual is a healing and energizing experience. It's a great relief not to have to carry one's burdens all by oneself -- and just about all my clients are much stronger than they thought. Many of our difficulties come from old ideas or old emotional injuries inflicted prior to the onset of the problem -- often from childhood, but not always. Thus my first task in reducing suffering is helping the person feel safe, welcome and cared for in a trusting relationship that has enormous potential for healing and vitalizing transformation.
My main role is to develop a safe and trusting environment of unconditional acceptance and human warmth. Nothing can happen without safety, trust, empathy and a sense of unconditional acceptance of the person, even the parts that are sometimes frightening or feel "yucky". (Humor helps too.) Coming to therapy is an act of courage; it's difficult to sit with a stranger and say, "I need help". This statement can be demoralizing for people, so that's often the first thing we talk about. My hope is that the person, who is bravely looking within (often the hardest thing to do for us material-minded Westerners!), will discover that, ultimately, there's nothing to be afraid of, that all of it is part of being human and can be integrated into a stronger, more unified Self. Very often, one's struggle is actually an avenue to greater compassion for others and peace of mind. Many of my clients discover that asking for help is actually a sign of strength. All easier said than done, of course, but I've bore witness to transformation over and over again. If I didn't have utmost faith in the process, I wouldn't be able to do it.