My Approach to Helping
Do you sometimes feel nervous and don't know why? Do worries sometimes get in the way of your ability to live your life? Do you have patterns in your relationships that don't seem to improve? These are a few of the struggles which I have helped people overcome.
It can feel sometimes like you are spinning your wheels. Like you have tried everything, but nothing seems to stick. Maybe it even seems like life is just like this, but you remember a time when it wasn't or at least have a sense that it shouldn't be. Let me say this to you: Life shouldn't be difficult and painful all the time. Sure, we all have our struggles, but there should be a great deal of joy too.
Many people also struggle with feeling like they should be able to feel differently on their own. It is not so simple. Your mind is very complex, and good at hiding things from itself: pain, worries, anxieties.
I help adults, children, and adolescents overcome anxiety and mood-related issues. I will work with you to help you overcome such obstacles by understanding how you cope is keeping you stuck. I offer a safe, supportive environment in which we will work collaboratively to understand and untie the knots that are holding you back. I believe that the relationship between therapist and the client is the most helpful aspect of therapy.
If you would like more information on my practice and how therapy can be helpful, please visit my website by clicking on the button beneath my picture.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
When you are stuck, the pain can feel endless and hopeless. The world can feel cold, dangerous, and/or unforgiving. You may even blame yourself for feeling the way you do, making you feel even worse.
Good psychotherapy can change nearly everything about your life, because it can fundamentally change how you approach and view your life. It can improve your romantic, peer, and work relationships. It can improve how you feel about yourself in a deep and genuine way. It can help you to perform better at work, in many cases freeing up energy that you didn't know you had. In short, it can give you a more satisfying life in every respect. I say this confidently because I have helped many people to achieve these goals, and much more. Deep therapy can change aspects of people that they once thought of as merely part of their personality. Work like this requires commitment, but as of this writing, there is no faster or better way to achieve such profound and long-lasting results. In the course of such changes, patients talk about the meaning of the journey itself, which is difficult to put into words unless you have done it, but is often described as worth the price of admission in and of itself.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
Lucille Ball once said "Love yourself, and everything else will take care of itself." Although she was "only" a comedian, I believe this statement is quite profound. If you are able to feel love for yourself, life becomes a lot easier. This does not mean that you don't have things that you can continue to work on them. In fact, it makes looking at areas of weakness and making improvements a lot easier, because it is much less painful to examine them. Further, if you are able to accept yourself as you are, there is a lot less risk in being who you are, because you are no longer afraid of being seen. Being more yourself, you can then feel free to experiment, be fully engaged in your life, and move towards what some people refer to as self-actualization. This is where real joy comes from: Being fully engaged in life, work, and your relationships. Making real contact with the world, and taking pleasure in feeling connected. If we can get you there, which is where my patients eventually end up, than many of life's problems including "mental health symptoms" will go away.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
This could be due to one or all of three factors: 1. The therapist didn't do a good job, or even did harm. 2. There was something playing out between you and the therapist that was connected to what brought you to therapy that didn't get worked through. 3. There wasn't a good "fit" between you and your therapist.
How do you know which of these it was? Well, if the therapist did something harmful or unethical, like verbally abusing you or doing something inappropriate, then of course that is his or her fault, and you should get out of that therapy immediately.
If you just left with a bad feeling, or feeling worse, then it may be more complicated. In therapy, relationship fears and patterns often get reenacted in the relationship with the therapist, so, for example, if you are coming in because of trust issues, and you wind up not trusting the therapist, then it may be very important, and necessary for you to work through these feelings with your therapist. Many people are surprised that they have to work through these issues, and sometimes even feel worse for a little while, in order to feel better. While it is understandable and desirable that you feel better after each session, this is not usually how therapy works. As a matter of fact, if it's not difficult sometimes, there probably isn't much happening in the therapy. Some of the most important work can be done when the patient is able to open up about the feelings they are having about the therapist.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
I believe that therapists should know themselves very well. I have also suffered in the past from both depression and anxiety. For these reasons and more, I have done deep and extensive work on myself. It has improved my own life in innumerable ways, including making me a much better therapist. I know very well what it's like to be in the "other chair," and have a deep respect for the difficulty of the process, and the courage it takes to embark on such a journey. I also know first hand the benefits that therapy can impart, and perhaps most importantly, how it feels to be in treatment. I have walked many if not all of the paths that we will walk on together. I know intimately how it feels to be anxious and depressed. I know how painful those emotions can be, and how great it feels to be free of them.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
This might sound self-serving to say, but the concerns people have about therapy are often the very reasons they need treatment. That is, if you look at the reasons you are nervous about therapy, they are likely the symptoms that are causing you pain. For example, if you are nervous about opening up to a therapist, I will bet that it's difficult for you to open up in your relationships. Same thing goes if you are worried that a therapist couldn't possibly care about you if they are getting paid. That usually means that you have a hard time believing that anyone could really care about you. Another common complaint is money or time. Although time and money are real, these are nearly always reasons that people give themselves for not going, due to some other worry about connecting with the therapist. What excuse could there be for not getting help for how you feel in life? What could be more important to spend one's time and money on, because what good is anything if we don't enjoy it?
You are worried about getting hurt in the therapy in the same ways they have been hurt by people in your life. The earlier and deeper the wound, the more afraid you will be. Some people go through their whole lives unhappy, and never take the step to get help, because they are too afraid. While this is completely understandable, it is also tragic, and I don't advise it.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
On the contrary, as I say above, everyone has issues they could work on, and some people are so afraid to get help that they go through their whole life, suffering unnecessarily. Since you are reading this, you are one of the brave ones who are thinking about getting help, despite your fears. In other words, everyone suffers, but only some get help and feel better. There is a strong narrative in society, especially American society, that we should somehow fix our own emotional problems because they are only "in our head." This sentiment is both ignorant and destructive, causing many people not to seek help because of their own self-judgement. If there was just some switch that one could switch, everyone would do it, even if it were painful, but our problems are much more complex than this, and often require being worked out in the context of a relationship with a (hopefully talented) professional, where the issues can be safely played out and understood. In short, seeking therapy doesn't mean your weak, it means you are brave for seeking help despite your fear, and you are smart because you are doing something about the problem!