My Approach to Helping
For several years, I have been helping individuals suffering from a variety of struggles including anxiety disorders (including panic attacks), depression, relationship issues and low self-esteem, as well as those who seek developing a healthier lifestyle. My sessions are provided via telehealth, which is recommended for those who prefer the convenience of doing their sessions at their home or at their job (private location is required). The sessions can be conducted in English or Portuguese, and they are suitable for teenagers, adults, and elders. I am one of the few diplomates of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in the Houston area. This is an approach that requires collaboration, as the benefits come with an active engagement of those who pursue improvement. The work is done within a caring and safe dynamic, with implementation of techniques being taught during the sessions, along with processing of their personal experiences.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Although some people come to therapy with some "light" need for support, most people have considerable internal and often external challenges. It is important to have reasonable expectations about what therapy can offer you in order to promote better outcomes.
Medication is often recommended by psychiatrists to help individuals suffering from certain disorders, or minimize the severity of the symptoms, or provide temporary relief. In any case, your participation is providing the psychiatrist the information about the symptoms and discuss potential psychotropic options. In contrast, psychotherapy, comparatively, requires a higher degree of your involvement. You are actually not a "patient" (a person receiving treatment), but a person partnering with a professional as you actively work on your view of yourself, the world, your future, etc., as well revaluate and redirect your behaviors to promote increased functionality. This process requires a certain degree of commitment and time, as you develop the skills to become the promoter of your own mental health.
It is true that, for many people, the ability to express oneself in a safe and supporting environment, will encourage a significant positive change in their overall wellbeing. However, in my experience, expressing alone is not sufficient in many cases. Thus, it is important when coming to therapy, that you be aware that you will need to engage in the work that goes beyond expressing. Therefore, psychoeducation, is most likely to be included in your treatment. You learn about psychological skills and how to apply them to your situation. These skills are beneficial for the duration of your life, for as long as you need them.
In summary, in psychotherapy, you are the promoter of your mental health and, therefore, you are active. Your willingness to engage in it must be present in order for you to benefit from counseling. This process might sound intimidating, but a good professional will "meet where you are" and assist you, one step at a time, towards a healthier version of you.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Seeking counseling does not mean you are weak or incapable of overcoming your internal and environmental challenges. In fact, you have done that for most of your life. Counseling, however, can facilitate those processes as we all have hidden parts of self that, often, become barriers to achieve relief of suffering and experience more contentment. In addition, it helps you on your journey to conquer dysfunctional approaches to life that you are aware. Professional counseling can help you to creatively use internal resources to achieve a more fulfilling and joyful life.