Marriage & Family Therapy, Clinical Social Work, Counselling
I'm a licensed professional.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
It might be important to know why you're on the fence about therapy. Some people don't want to talk to a stranger, some people worry that they will have to talk about uncomfortable things. You might wonder if you can trust this person you're talking to. If you've read all the self-help books, visited tons of websites, talked to all of your friends, consulted any guidance in your community and you still feel stuck it might be worth the time to check out a therapist. Ask friends for good referrals. If you decide to check someone out, consider checking a few people out before you decide. Many therapists will offer free or reduced rate sessions for people who are curious about whether therapy would be helpful.
Your first session, like all the others, is confidential,unless you disclose child or elder abuse (in Oregon). You can know that no matter what you tell the therapist they must keep it private. They should be able to give you a general idea of how they understand what you're saying, how you can expect therapy to proceed and also discuss how to evaluate whether you're making progress. The tricky part, if you feel uncomfortable, is to figure out whether you're uncomfortable because of the person or because of what you're talking about. That's why it doesn't hurt to check out other people OR to decide to come back, knowing that you do not have to stay if you don't want to, but it's generally a good idea to let the therapist know what is going on with you regarding therapy.
One theory that guides all my work with clients, supervisees and students ( I teach social work at a university) is Systems theory. Nobody walks around the world in a bubble, untouched by those around them. Whether one is a master communicator or whether you-or someone you love- struggle with symptoms of autism or other communication/process disorders, we exist in and interact with and are affected by all of our interactions with the outside community and the community is affected by us. So, part of my assessment and intervention with people has to do with understanding the world they live in. There is a great Crowded House song called "The World Where You Live" which might be of interest to you, speaking to the way in which people and their worlds are unknown to themselves and sometimes each other. I try to help people connect with themselves and their communities in a more meaningful way to increase their chances for meaningful attachment and life-affirming relationships.
Speaking of attachment, I am an old-fashioned therapist in the sense that I subscribe to the importance of early attachment in personal development. What does that mean? Basically, the idea behind attachment theory is that early experiences of intimacy with caretakers shapes the ways in which we experience and expect the world to interact with us. It's not so simple as that, and it involves the brain development along the way. Even the most hurt and neglected among us can often be restored to a sense of