My Approach to Helping
Therapy can be a last resort for some, or a first cry for help. Enlisting the help of a stranger takes a lot of courage and also expresses a deep need for change. In order to help you, I have to understand your world and from that understanding I can gently nudge you in different ways so that you create desired change in your life. I offer a new perspective, I probe where things need to be discovered and revealed, and together we travel on a journey that creates self-awareness and positive change.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
When someone is in distress, their loved ones tend to offer advice. If advice was useful, then psychotherapy would not exist. Advice is not always what is needed. Neither is a shoulder to cry on. While these are useful and often times needed by anyone who is suffering, something more is usually needed in order for change to occur. Psychotherapy helps to create change from a place of strength. The therapeutic relationship provides healing and self-acceptance while the therapeutic techniques increase self-awareness and the capacity for problem solving.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I love being able to help someone by providing a relationship that is non-judgmental and empowering. When people are understood and accepted, they grow in confidence and their lives blossom. They are also able to see solutions to their problems and increase meaning and fulfillment in their lives. I love seeing people grow and achieve a better quality of life due to the therapeutic process that we engage in.
My Role as a Therapist
As a therapist, I consider myself a professional listener. I listen for clues and then gently guide you to areas that maybe you have not been able to explore on your own, due to fear or thinking they are insignificant. I ask questions that take us deeper than the surface of the problems that are presented. I offer a space for you to understand yourself, to explore your mind and soul and to be free. You can say anything that is on your mind, from the heavy to the trivial, and anything in between. I encourage you to go to places where you would not dare talk about with others, maybe a dark fantasy or a thought that brings shame. Therapy is the place to bring that out. When needed, more pragmatic solutions are offered that can change behavior or thinking patterns. Each session and each person is different and as a therapist I make sure to provide you with the help you need.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Choosing to be in therapy can sometimes be a difficult choice. Aside from the financial aspect, some people may believe going to therapy means they are sick or unwell or broken. I believe every person can benefit from therapy, as we all have our struggles that we carry with us in life. It is helpful to understand that therapy can be adjusted to your needs. As a therapist I am looking for feedback and if something in the session does not work, then I would love for us to discuss it. In the same token, you are not obliged to continue with a therapist if you do not find the sessions useful. You can ask for a referral or "shop around". Therapy should not be seen as the elephant in the room. It is a service that you can start and see how it goes. You are always in control of how little or how much therapy you wish to engage in.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
It happens to all of us. Sometimes we begin therapy with a practitioner and things just don't work out. It can be a number of reasons but the truth is that no one therapist is the same and as people, we are bound to like some people more than others. So it can happen that you find a therapist that you do not find very helpful in terms of techniques or demeanor or both. That should not deter you however from seeking help again, and sometimes a negative experience can make you more aware of what it is that you are actually seeking from a therapist. You now know better what type of person you feel like working with and that is a great piece of information to use when looking for another therapist.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
There are some people who look to find the perfect therapist and while no such thing exists, as therapists are all human and have flaws as well, it is important to find a therapist that you like. It can be their demeanor, their personality, maybe the way their office looks or the way they greet you with a certain smile, or a phrase that they said to you that you found to be powerful. It can be a small thing or a big thing but it is important that there is something that you like about your therapist that makes you feel like you want to open up to this person. In addition, you should respect them and believe that they are competent enough to help you. And lastly, although this may come after some time, you should be able to trust them, to trust that they will help you and not hurt you, to trust them with your deepest secrets, to trust that you are safe under their care.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
The most important thing is to know that you, the client, are in control. I am not here to tell you what to do or what to change in your life. If the process is going too fast and it feels overwhelming, you can pull the brakes. If it goes too slow, you can amp it up. You can complain about what's not working and praise what is. It is important to not give up control and believe that the therapist is the ultimate authority that you should listen to. Good therapy is empowering and makes you understand that you have the power to make any choice you want.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
It varies with each person. Some people need a few months of therapy and then they go out and live their lives. They may choose to come back for "tune ups" or when they feel they need therapy again to work out some issue. Some people do well with ongoing therapy and they find that being in therapy for a long time is grounding and helpful for them in their lives. Each person is different and the duration and frequency of therapy sessions are openly discussed and can always be adjusted later on.