My Approach to Helping
As people turn to therapy when we have encountered a situation that we were not prepared for, maybe it's something that happened suddenly or the it's a realization that the life we are living in is no longer tolerable. Either way, we get confronted with an experience that feels unsafe and we don't yet have the resources to handle it. Often there is a process of attempting to overcome this painful experience through the strategies we have, but those don't quite fit (example: ignoring the problem, having a drink which then turns to too many too often, trying to control the circumstance and becoming anxious, etc.). It is in these times that we look for "help." We look for someone to join us, support us, and expand our repertoire of coping skills.
My approach is to establish a safe environment and relationship, and use the process of our interaction to raise my client's awareness of what they experience emotionally, mentally, and bodily. I help people by guiding them to understand what is happening in their bodies and minds that leads them to experience the world in a way that feels upsetting. Then we experiment with the most useful practices for adapting or correcting their experience. It requires introspection, reflection, and commitment, but I lead the process in a non-threatening way. This work often helps my clients to see how others view them, and it helps them to make changes that not only uplift their internal world but their external relationships, too.
With parents of young children, I work from a parent-child model that requires parents to take an active part in most of the therapy sessions. This not only provides parents with the education and experience they need to handle tough situations with their children, but also builds the wholesome relationship they want, parent to child instead of therapist to child.
More Info About My Practice
I offer several service options including: individual therapy $150, group therapy $80, 90-minute workshops $45. For the convenience of my clients, I accept cash, check, major credit cards, and Square Cash.
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
Research has found that the client-therapist relationship is the most important facet of therapy. No matter what approach or theory your therapist uses, the most important part of their work is connecting with you. Like many therapists I use empathy and warmth to connect with my clients, but that is only part of it. From the very first session I am explicit and upfront about my practices and my intentions. My client's know what to expect from me, and I freely tell them what I'm thinking. My client's ability to anticipate my behavior based on the established tenants of our relationship and creates for them an assurance of safety. Furthermore, I always invite client feedback in the moment and receive it non-defensively so that our relationship isn't one dimensional, this also allows the client some measure of control over our interactions and a reflection of healthy interactions in the world.
What Makes up a Problem?
Our brains are assessing machines. The brain assess all sorts of angles for every situation in to which we get ourselves. It cross-references the information it gets with memories of past experiences, projections of future outcomes, and balances of pros and cons for self interest and interests of relational connection, and all of this is done through a lens of internal emotional experience. The role our genetics play is that they create a template of what makes us up; however, how those genes are expressed can be altered by our experiences. Our life experiences create a frame for understanding the unknown (Example: You may have never put your hand in a fire, but after seeing what it does to meat, you can assume that it won't be beneficial in a "first-hand" experience. Or, you may have done it before and firmly established that it wasn't beneficial!) Some of the frames we have are over-used; they are applied to situations that are not really the same as the first event when the frame was created. However, all the same whistles and bells go off in our bodies and minds, and we react without seeing the differences or reflecting on why we were set off on that course of reaction. This is where therapy can be extremely helpful. We can explore these frames and see where they work, where they don't, and how they can work better.