My Approach to Helping
You may or may not be able to explain it, but something has been bothering you and getting in the way of your ability to live the life you want. You have thought about it a lot and you have tried a lot of things that haven't worked. You are wondering how therapy can help when nothing else has, and even if it can, how do you find the right person to work with?
A successful outcome in therapy begins with finding a therapist who feels like a good fit for you. One place to start is with the profiles on this website. How does the therapist talk about her or himself? Would you feel more comfortable with someone who is warm and empathic or someone who is direct and practical? Taking the time to find the best therapist for you may be the last thing you want to do right now, but making the investment to find the best fit is better than losing time with someone who may not be able to provide you with the help you are seeking. You are also welcome to view my blog at www.marlacass.com where I have posted several articles talking about finding a therapist.
More Info About My Practice
My approach to this work is warm, collaborative, and interactive, while also being honest and direct. I don't sit back and silently nod, but am active and engaged, helping you to feel safe enough to look at yourself in ways that may have previously seemed impossible. I include humor in my work, as appropriate, and I try to leave psychobabble at the door. I like to say that I bring my "Midwestern sensibilities" to my work.
I am interested in looking closely at what is going on for you now and what brought you to therapy, but I also know that your past has a direct influence on who you are today and how you got here. In my work, I weave together past and present in order to help you to understand yourself, your conscious and unconscious motivations, and to help you move forward with a new sense of clarity.
I am happy to answer your questions about therapy in a complementary phone consultation. Therapy can offer a safe, supportive, and confidential space to explore and find new answers to old--and not so old--questions.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Many of the people I work with have a lifetime of experience dealing with not feeling understood. Maybe this describes you: you may come from a family in which you felt different or you may view the world from your own unique perspective. You may be lesbian, or gay, or bisexual, or you may feel different because you do not fit into either of the two options we are given for gender identity and you see gender as shades of gray and not black and white.
Regardless of what makes you feel different, therapy can be a place where you can have the transforming experience of feeling understood.
My practice includes people of all sexual orientations (LGBTQQ) and gender identities. I love working with people who think that therapy can't be helpful to them. I offer support for women in midlife and caregivers (often, one and the same). Many of the women I work with are successful in their careers, but not in their relationships.
Before becoming a therapist, I had a number of careers and I appreciate the challenges of being in a difficult workplace or taking the risk of embarking on a new career path. Here in San Francisco, many of us have relocated from other places and therapy can be a place to recharge from the difficulties of navigating new terrain.
In general, however, my "specialization" is understanding the people I work with and helping them to feel seen and heard so that they can see the possibilities of their lives.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
If you are ambivalent about therapy, you are not alone! I try to make therapy as "user-friendly" as possible and I welcome questions and concerns about therapy, how therapy works, and about my approach. I don't think that therapy should be mysterious, nor do I believe that it should be hierarchical. There are many, many different kinds of therapists and just as many unique approaches to therapy. Read what various therapists have written about themselves and their work and see what resonates with you.
If you are someone who has previously seen a therapist and did not find the experience helpful, or if you are someone who does not think therapy can be helpful to you, I want to especially encourage you to not give up your search. I recognize that it can be challenging to find the right therapist, and discouraging when you meet with someone who does not feel like a good fit, but the effort will be worth it.
To learn more about how therapy works and about my approach to therapy, I invite you to contact me for a complementary introductory phone consultation.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
Thinking about looking for a therapist can feel scary and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be this way. Unfortunately, therapy is something we mostly think about only when our lives are already feeling out of our control, which only adds to our discomfort. (Please see my website for a series of articles I have written on this subject.)
In addition to messages we may have received from our families and friends, we live in a culture that values individual effort over working with others. Yet the complex world we live in means that it is impossible to have all of the answers. While our friends and the internet can help with some of life's answers, when it comes to looking at ourselves and seeking understanding about who we are and how we live our lives, therapy offers a unique opportunity to see things through a different lens.
I often view this work in much the same way as I might view solving a puzzle or a mystery: how do we make use of the clues we have? What additional information do we need? Therapy can help make sense of the information you already have, support you in sorting through what you may no longer need, and safely help you put the pieces together to form a new picture of your life.