My Approach to Helping
I consider each client to be a unique individual, and therefore, I approach each therapy, assessment, or consultation case differently. I work from an integrative theoretical orientation, and employ strategies from psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, family systems, and other theories to meet the needs of each client.
More Info About My Practice
In my practice, I take great pride in providing excellent services to my clients. I want them, as well as their parents, to feel supported. Thus, in addition to providing therapy or conducting assessments, I assist individuals with issues occurring at schools (by attending meetings, meeting with teachers, etc.), help facilitate any other necessary or recommended services (i.e., speech therapy, occupational therapy), and perform a variety of other tasks to assist clients with whom I work. In addition, I am flexible in my approach to treatment and use a variety of methods to help facilitate successful treatment. As an example, for children and teens who like to be active during sessions or have trouble being engaged if just talking, I play catch, floor hockey, and mini golf with them, as well as more traditional board games if needed. For children and teens who have significant difficulty engaging in treatment initially, I also use video games (with parental permission)to help establish rapport.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
While I feel that I have strengths in working with a variety of issues, I believe that my skills and experiences in conducting evaluations for learning disabilities in a variety of settings have provided me with the necessary skill set to complete useful, in-depth, and informative psychological evaluations.
In my assessment work, I write reports that are easily understandable to individuals without psychological training. I clarify with parents and/or clients at the outset, exactly what they are hoping to achieve with the evaluation. Following completion of the report, I meet with the client and/or family to go over the results and assist them in implementing strategies. I am also available for follow up visits if needed.
My experience conducting testing in school settings has provided me with excellent experience in understanding how assessment reports are received by schools, how the IEP process works, and what recommendations are realistic for schools to implement.
I also hold the view that a child with a learning disability in most cases, especially when having at least an average IQ, is fully capable of achieving at least just as much academically and beyond as anyone without learning differences. Thus, in my evaluations I specifically address clients' strengths and provide recommendations to bolster those strengths to compensate for areas of functioning that are underdeveloped.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Choosing to begin therapy is a personal choice, and one should enter treatment with an open mind as well as ideas of what they wish to obtain from treatment. I always tell clients during the first session that I want them to get everything out of their treatment experience that they want. Thus, I encourage frequent feedback about their thoughts on the treatment process. For example, if clients feel that they are not going into enough depth about issues, are being pushed too much to open up about sensitive topics, not receiving enough practical suggestions, or have other concerns, I encourage them to discuss the issue with me so we can work collaboratively on making treatment more conducive to their individual needs.
As part of any new therapeutic relationship, I always explore previous therapy experiences and encourage clients to discuss what they have liked and valued in previous experiences as well as what they have disliked. This provides valuable information that can make therapy more effective. Therefore, I would encourage anyone starting therapy to be open with their therapist about what they are looking for and make sure that the therapist is receptive to their needs and able to provide the kind of treatment desired.
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
The client-therapist relationship is crucial to a successful treatment outcome. Thus, I strongly emphasize the development of it during the early phase of treatment. Clients can expect that during the session I will allow them to use their time in whatever manner is most beneficial to them, while guiding treatment to ensure that it is effective. I am always very open to feedback, and encourage clients to offer suggestions on how treatment may be improved. It always amazes me how many clients come in for the first session and discuss how they have not liked certain aspects of the way a previous therapist conducted sessions, yet instead of speaking with the therapist about their concerns, they simply stuck with therapy or quit.
In addition to conducting therapy, I also do a significant amount of psychological testing. Since testing is time-limited, often times I believe the importance of the client-therapist relationship is not focused on enough. In my clinical work doing testing, I take the necessary time in order to foster a strong client-therapist relationship, as I feel that this is vital in obtaining accurate results. Furthermore, I am always available to clients for follow up after the feedback session at the conclusion of an evaluation.