My Approach to Helping
I believe that compassion goes a long way. Without it very little can be accomplished. To be compassionate means to "suffer with someone." I feel a little of what someone is going through. The pain that a family has over a loved one's addiction or the anxiety someone experiences or the depression one has over life circumstances causes me to want to help make their burden light. It drives me to look for solutions to these problems.
I believe in confidentiality, safety, and an environment to honestly look at problems in a different light. We may feel too ashamed to deal with problems. Getting things out in a safe environment helps us see things more logically and we can solve our problems.
I really believe that people just get stuck when they are facing problems, whether they are huge or small. They need encouragement, the skills and the call to action to get better. We often have the motivation to get better because we have pain. Providing the right information and skills makes a big difference. But more than that, we need a therapist who is going to believe in us and have a frame of mind that we are actually going to get better and make progress that will last the rest of our lives.
I studied and taught NeuroLinguistic Programming early in my practice. I believe that people are doing the best they can. That is when they are stuck in an unhealthy pattern, from their point of view this is the best they can do. Instead of trying to get rid of the problem behavior we often try to add something that is much more functional. When they do this, they are more likely to keep the change.
I believe that people have the resources needed to change within themselves. So, I am not really doing anything to them to make them better, but rather helping them get in touch with their own resources and teach them skills to do things for themselves. I really like the slogan, "hand a man a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish and you feed them for a lifetime." I want to help people so that they stay better.
What I am about to write may turn some people away, but I think it is important to mention that I believe that God is the source of all healing. Many of the problems we face can only be solved when we tap into His love and Power. Working a lot with compulsive behaviors and addictions (alcoholism, drug, sex, spending, gambling, work, and codependency), I found that "trying harder in one's own strength doesn't work. These things are so powerful, they can be destroying our lives and we still can't stop. Using the principles of 12 step recovery has taught me how to access the Power that God gives and in turn, the addiction becomes easier and lighter and eventually, we become free.
More Info About My Practice
I tend to be busier than other therapists. This is not to say that I don't have room. I do tend to screen through the phone to see if I am a good fit for you and if you are really motivated for change. I see people weekly. Seeing people sporadically tends not to be effective. We both don't really remember what we are working on. The other challenge is I have people who want to see me at a certain weekly, but if every other week is taken, I will take the person who comes weekly first.
There are times where it is best to wait a little while before doing therapy. If someone is pregnant, is too busy do therapy, they should wait. Sometimes motivation increases as the discomfort increases. Dragging someone else who is not motivated really doesn't work. I often then work with the part of the family who does want help. Having they become healthier makes a shift in the family system which then helps the person who wasn't so motivated become more motivated. Say a family has a loved one who is using drugs. The person feels that there really isn't a problem for them. So, working with the family members who think it is a problem is the way to work. They begin to see how their drug use is affecting them and ways to reduce their discomfort.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I really specialize in a number of things. Having had some anxiety in my own life, this problem is near and dear to my heart. I love helping people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety and panic attacks. I also work with people who struggle with addictions. Anxiety is often an underlying cause of these issues. I started doing neurofeedback a few years back so I work with addiction recovery, attention deficit disorders, brain injury, and autism. Neurofeedback is not a stand-alone treatment but works in conjunction with counseling. People who have alcoholism and drug addiction usually have about a 70% success with addiction neurofeedback to 12 step recovery.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
I think that people sometimes have a misconception about therapy - like they have to be really bad off to go or that their therapist is going to analyze them. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. So many people tell me they wished that they had known this sooner.
A family where there are so many moving pieces usually does really well when they come together and learn to listen to each other and speak in a manner where the other person hears. Just coming to the office and paying money elevates them to a level that is much more effective.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I have been practicing for over 30 years. I hesitate to share this as one might think that I am old fashioned and set in my ways and burned out. I am as excited, if not more today than when I started. I am taking training in neuroscience and how to become a better therapist. Training in learning what works and what doesn't. I love to learn about this stuff. I can't ever see myself retiring.
I love to see people turn the corner and become free. I love to see children who have had it rough begin to trust again. I love to see a person who has struggled with sex addiction or another type of compulsion become 6 months sober by God's grace. I love to see panic attacks go away. I love to see families who were pretty broken begin to be happy again.