One of the things I like best about doing therapy is the experience of engaging in a shared venture in which two minds join to create a safe and larger "space" for something new to emerge. It is inspiring to see clients get in touch with their own core values and wisdom they didn't know they had. As I try to see things through their eyes, yet inevitably from my own point of view as well, I participate in their explorations and hope to stimulate discoveries either of us may make. When people come to me in a lot of pain, feeling they should not "burden" others with their suffering, I actually want to hear how painful it is because I am looking forward to the relief that usually comes when the worst is not borne alone but is shared with someone who cares. If they believe no one could possibly understand, I will try hard to understand and not jump to conclusions. In my experience, the people who come to therapy judging themselves harshly usually do not see the "big picture"--the history and inner and outer pressures that have put them in the spot they're in. Yet the door may be wide open for them to handle things better in the future, given a new perspective or better skills. On the other hand, clients may not be giving themselves credit for how well they are coping, all things considered. They may mistake anxiety or discouragement for inadequacy or failure, when in fact these reactions may be realistic and natural. Feelings that seem irrational may make more sense when their sources are better understood. Confusion and struggle may be signs that the client is actually outgrowing a too confining situation or way of being. If clients don't know what to talk about first because so much is going on, and if what led up to the current problem is their whole life story, I am glad they realize how complicated it all is. I might help them focus by asking questions such as "What are the worst feelings you ever have about this situation?" "Can you describe an incident that triggered those feelings?" "What do you think is the main thing causing the trouble?" "How have you tried to cope?" "What do you fear could happen?" "What do you wish would happen?" For most people, relationships are the primary sustainers or underminers of their happiness. Sometimes it is best to consider carefully, before making an emotional commitment, whether the fundamentals for a good relationship--qualities such as honesty and maturity--are sufficiently present. When changes in ongoing, supposedly stable relationships bring uneasiness, shock or heartbreak, I think it is worthwhile to look directly at what is painful. Often, the conflicts, frustrations and disappointments are obvious, yet I am increasingly impressed with how deeply people can be affected by subtle interactions. Because motives are seldom entirely conscious and interpretation of what people are up to is necessarily subjective, self-understanding and understanding of significant others may never be final. I do think, though, that it is worthwhile to try to try to be clear and fair in sorting out the trouble.
or Call Judith R. Malamud, Ph.D. at 1-800-651-8085 ext. 00843
More Info About My Practice
If you would like to read something that might help you before or while you are in therapy, or if you would like to get a better sense of ideas I like and use (although I don't sign on to any one orientation exclusively), I would suggest you check out any of the following books: Focusing by E. T. Gendlin After the Honeymoon: How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship by D. B. Wile After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship by D. B. Wile What We May Be: Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth Through Psychosynthesis by P. Ferrucci Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy by R. Firestone, L. Firestone and J. Catlett Professional Organizations/Affiliations: American Psychological Association New York State Psychological Association Office Policies: No charge for appointments canceled with at least 24 hours notice. Fee Schedule: In order to avoid the intrusiveness of managed care, I do not "accept" insurance; however, I try to keep fees low, typically $85 for a 45 minute session, or less if this is unaffordable. You might inquire whether your insurance, if any, will reimburse you for payments to an "out of network" psychologist.