My Approach to Helping
One of my tenets is that therapy is a lot about identity work. Problems get us convinced that we are a certain kind of person (for example, "a bad dad," or "a depressed and anxious woman," or "a violent and angry man," or "a hyperactive kid"). Therapy is a project in constructing and living new and preferred identities.
I believe that therapy should :
* Focus on what clients want to work on
* Be outcome-oriented***therapy should be beneficial and produce the change that you want.
* Things should get better before they get worse. They shouldn't get worse.
* Feel culturally responsive & respectful, mutually engaging, interesting, and meaningful
* Provide a conversational place where clients can bring all of themselves safely
* Generate hopefulness and possibility
I work with individuals, relationships, and families. However you construct and define your important relationships is what matters and I welcome the people that matter to you to be involved in your work.
***I utilize the only consumer-driven outcome management system in the world available for therapists. Simply stated, I am committed to privileging your voice and preferences and seeing that you achieve the change you desire. I deliberately and systematically engage in soliciting your feedback to ensure that the work is beneficial and to your liking, rather than adhering to a particular method of therapy when change is not occurring. It is an accountability practice that brings to life my mantra: Maintain fidelity to your clients, not your theories.
Furthermore, it means that I monitor my own practice (and engage in constant quality improvement efforts) and can demonstrate my effectiveness based on the outcome data available from my work. This is a practice of humility and accountability that I guarantee you far too few therapists engage in.
My Role as a Therapist
I think my role varies according to what each client is looking for. There is no way to know before meeting and having a conversation what to do and thus, what role I need to assume. Having said that, here are some things I hold as relational resources to influence how I show up as your therapist:
* Show interest not alarm
* Keep the conversation going
* Ask questions that haven't been asked before and talk about things in ways that are new; do something different than what you've been doing
* Remain curious and ready to be amazed by clients' feats of living
* Serve as witness to pain, struggle, suffering, courage, redemption, and honor
* Ask myself and you, "who do you need me to be?"
* Invite hope and possibility
* Be the doula to your story
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
As the Training Coordinator for the International Center for Clinical Excellence, this is my bread and butter question. The alliance (or therapeutic relationship) is one of two factors most predictive of a good outcome (the other is early change). And here's the fine print: It's the alliance FROM THE CLIENT'S PERSPECTIVE. So, how YOU experience our work together (for example, do I "get" you?; do you feel heard?; are we talking about and working on what you want to?; are we doing that in a way that you find helpful and that makes sense?)is what matters. Not what I think! What should you expect from me? My job is to create the right fit for you. I ask myself in a sense: "Who does this person need me to be?" To that end, I routinely seek your feedback on both how things are going (outcome) and the alliance and work to make adjustments to see that you experience the change you want.