I work with individuals in life transitions, those who have experienced trauma/abuse, and/or who are having difficulty with significant relationships and attachments. When stressed, people sometimes find that they don't have a strong foundation. In a safe counseling relationship, you can learn to rebuild one.
I am very relational and flexible; my approach and pacing in counseling all depends on the person coming for help. I work indepth: I become aware of your unconscious motivations and relationship patterns, past history, present experiencing, and future hopes and dreams. I connect with your body, words, emotions and your spirit.
I offer open ended therapy; the length of our engagement lasts until you decide you are ready to leave.
In the past I have had a general practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Presently, I specialize in working with individuals.
Like any other relationship, the therapy relationship grows and changes. And in being attentive to our changes, I can help you to be more open to changes in relationships outside of therapy.
or Call Paula Buford, Th.D., LPC at 1-800-651-8085 ext. 45263
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I began my work as a healing professional as a hospital chaplain, a spiritual and emotional facilitator of grief and loss for persons facing illness/death and their families. My learning in this arena prepared me to meet persons at many stages of loss in their lives. I am excellent at helping people build resources internally and relationally to face transitions or to finally deal with aspects of themselves that they have pushed away for years.
I am very good at providing a safe relationship for the client, and I am receptive to mistakes I make in judgment. Therapy offers persons a place to repair misunderstandings and miscommunication that other relationships often do not offer. We can learn and grow from conflict when there is honesty and forgiveness and reparation. I am good at helping people let go of unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. Some people go through life with a lot of rigidity and a strong facade. I can help you find your authentic self and drop the facade. When that happens, the freedom and joy are overwhelming.
Many persons come to therapy confused, worried, sad, angry. We work together to understand what those feelings are telling you about yourself. Feelings tell us that something is out of sync, and we explore together to find the answer. Therapy can also help persons who have been traumatized. Often this trauma is triggered by cues in your life that remind you of the trauma. For example, if you were in a car accident on January 1, you may become anxious every January 1, with no awareness of why you are feeling so overwhelmed. Some people are triggered by colors, smells, places, music; many small things. I can help you with Brainspotting, mindfulness, talk therapy, or hypnosis/guided meditation to help process the trauma that is stored in your mind/body.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Most people can benefit from psychotherapy if they are open and willing to let go of some things that are not working. But it takes courage and a willingness to experience some pain in order to grow. Because therapy is so personal, the relationship is primary. And in choosing the right therapist for you, it is important to trust your instincts.
Normally, the therapist takes a history: Why are you coming for help now? How long have you been dealing with this problem/situation? What is your family, personal, relational, and health history? Just in the intake, the therapist can glean insight into how you have come to be experiencing pain, emptiness, etc., and you may have insight and relief after just one or two initial sessions. You now have someone on your side.
Psychotherapy is a professional relationship in which the therapist is there for the person coming for help. Your needs are primary. The therapeutic relationship is unlike any other relationship in life. The therapist offers a non-judgmental, caring, consistent relationship where the person's authentic selves can emerge. It is the therapist's job to offer boundaries and guidance to keep the relationship healthy and safe. The counselee sets the pace at which the therapeutic work proceeds. I believe in a "corrective emotional experience" in therapy. Because a healthy therapist finds other ways to meet our needs, we can be there for you in ways that no other person in your life can be.
Persons can make changes to their personality structures when they are accepted in an honest, caring relationship, and when they become aware of self-replicating patterns that have been handed down the generations in their families.
Therapy is also educational. Many people are not taught self, life, relational skills; we learn misinformation through our significant relationships and cultures. In therapy you learn about emotions, relationships, facing change, mindfulness and meaning, values and spirituality, life changes, grief, and loss, building positive habits, delayed gratification, self-compassion, and much more can be examined and experienced/incorporated. Therapy can offer people markers and goals so that they flourish instead of just exist.
Most therapists offer counselees a team approach: persons may be referred for a medication evaluation if they have been depressed, anxious, or traumatized for long periods of time or if they can no longer function. Additionally, counselees may augment individual counseling with couples, group, career counseling or other types of therapy.