My Approach to Helping
Being truly listened to, attended to and responded to is a first for some folks. You might have been lucky enough to get some of this growing up and yet have become more isolated in recent years. That happens a lot. Or for a variety of reasons you may never have really received such attentive care. Either way, therapy provides a space and a relationship where you can get that kind of attention and some help to figure out when and where you lost track of yourself and your dreams or where your relationship derailed or at least began to lose its juice. Regaining that alive connection both to yourself and your loved ones is a big part of what we do in therapy.
So how do we do this? Well, for starters we get curious about all parts of you. My experience is that we humans are beings of mind, body, and spirit (some part of our experience that goes beyond the body and brain). These three experiences of self and others are complex, always evolving, and vitally interconnected. So we welcome and attend to all of these ways of being, both in individual and couples work.
What does that actually mean? This...while many therapists focus primarily on the mind and rely on the exchange of words and thoughts to effect change (that is the traditional approach taught in most graduate psychology programs), it is not always enough. It leaves too much of the whole person out of the room.
We are embodied beings and feelings and sensations in our bodies are often where symptoms are felt and where lasting changes can occur. We are social beings too embedded in a web of human relationships and life in community. We are also an integral part of the natural world. Sometimes we are aware of being a part of something even larger, more than material. Good therapeutic works weaves in and among these various levels of human experience.
Mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual concerns are more and more understood as being intimately related. A shift on one level can bring about profound changes in other areas of our lives. We start with the outer problems and inner signals calling for our attention first and often discover what other parts of ourselves may also need care.
For you, this might mean exploring strong emotions that are interfering with your relationships and pursuit of your life goals. Or you may be experiencing a lack of feeling, or just a generalized low (depression) or uncomfortable high (anxiety) that keeps you from being your self at best - able to create a satisfying and meaningful life.
Sometimes your body might bear the burden, and unexplainable physical symptoms may show us a way into unresolved inner conflicts, ungrieved losses, or the deep pain of feeling torn between how your life is now and how you want it to be. Other times you might just feel lost and empty even though things should be "ok" and you don't know why.
In relationship work too there are common symptoms pointing the way in to our pain. Often we experience either fiery emotional overdrive with high conflict and lots of arguing or cold stony silence with a growing sense of distance between both partners. Sometimes we swing between these two states. Any of these patterns block the possibility of warm and connected interaction, good problem-solving, and satisfying physical and emotional intimacy.
We start where you are as an individual or a pair. We aim for healing and growth in all these experiences of being human.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, I have been practicing psychotherapy in a variety of public and private settings for 32 years. I am married to my college sweetheart (so I am walking the challenging long-term relationship road) and we have a grown daughter and son. Having lived in Austin since 1982, I know the community well. If I'm not currently a good fit for you, I'll be happy to help find someone who is.