My Approach to Helping
In my work as an individual therapist, anxiety, depression and relationship issues are frequent concerns. I strive to provide an atmosphere that is caring and supportive but that also challenges you to your full growth and potential. I believe that change takes place in the context of an honest, trusting relationship in which clients feel both accepted and empowered.
Overall, I feel that my role as a therapist is not to "fix" your problems for you, but to provide you with some tools and to support you in your quest to make changes in your life. My view is that therapy is a partnership and I hope that you will take an active role in the therapy process. In the past, clients have often found "homework" assignments to be helpful - often this is in the form of reading, writing, trying out new behaviors or just reflecting on a topic between sessions. How this differs from traditional homework assignments is that I try to avoid the role of "assigning" a task for clients - instead, I hope for it to be a joint process, and I am always excited when clients come up with their own homework, modify a suggestion of mine or simply take the initiative to come up with and enact their own assignment in the time between sessions.
Hopefully, the balance of challenge and support that I offer in therapy is the right mix for you, but if you have any concerns about our work together, my aim is for the relationship to be open and honest enough that you could express your reservations, even if it is about me or about the therapy process. In return for your honesty, I hope that you will feel that your viewpoint has been heard and respected, and my goal is to be honest and straightforward with you as well throughout our work together.
Just as with individual therapy, I feel that my role in couples counseling is not as a "referee" or a "fixer." Instead, my aim is to help clients work together to improve their relationship. Sometimes couples find it helpful to have an outside person observe the patterns that operate in their relationship and help them work on the stumbling blocks that are preventing effective communication.
Often, one member of the couple feels that they have been dragged in to counseling or worries that heshe will be blamed or labeled as the "problem" in the relationship. Because women are often more comfortable with talking about relationships and feelings, men in particular may worry that they will be blamed, judged or criticized. I hope that both members of the couple, regardless of who initiated couples therapy, would feel accepted and heard in therapy.
In addition, in my experience, it is extremely rare that the couple's concerns are the fault of one person - usually it is the interaction of each person's style that is leading to conflict and relationship problems. As a result, both partners may need to make changes or participate in "relationship work," but, most importantly, my goal is for partners to be able to express their thoughts and feelings in a caring and supportive manner to their partner. I also hope that couples will learn to see the impact that their own behavior has on their partner and to understand how this impacts their partner's thoughts, feelings and, ultimately, behavior.