My Approach to Helping
Do you sense that you could be more, but you find yourself limited by negative thoughts and/or overwhelming emotions? Or has your whole life seemed to have disintegrated into nothing recognizable, and you are struggling to make sense of it all? These are common symptoms of "butterfly-itis". The common stages of which are the "caterpillar stage" or the "chrysalis stage". Whether you are feeling stuck as a "caterpillar meant to be a butterfly" or feeling overwhelmed by the process of a "caterpillar becoming a butterfly", I provide a compassionate, collaborative, and supportive environment in which to heal, grow, and move on to live a fuller and more meaningful life.
My four basic tenets as a therapist are as follows:
1. I need to approach each client with empathy, acceptance, compassion, and respect.
2. I believe that you have your own answers and healing within, so I have a client-centered approach to therapy. My primary role is to help facilitate your process of discovering those answers that will result in healing and growth for you.
3. I take an eclectic approach with regards to how I facilitate your process. I believe that each person comes with his or her own unique way of processing, and what works for one individual may not work for you. In addition, I feel that different therapeutic needs and stages require different approaches.
4. I believe our spirits need to be engaged in the therapeutic process. The journey towards healing and wholeness is not for the faint of heart. A spiritual path can be an additional source of support, insight, comfort, encouragement, and wisdom.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
For me personally, the overall purpose of psychotherapy--while very multifaceted--can be summed up in two words: healing and growth. As to the specifics regarding the purpose, I believe that each person comes to therapy with his/ her own idea in mind as to why he or she has come to me. Sometimes the individual is very clear about what healing or growth she wishes to pursue, and sometimes not-- and sometimes the purpose changes mid-way through. I believe my first step is to explore the person's purpose together with her/him in order to bring greater clarification--both about the individual's purpose and how it impacts the therapy process. In addition, we may explore other options in order to clarify, deepen, and/or expand the person's understanding of her/his purpose for being in therapy.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
For me, it is first and foremost the clients. I work with some of the most courageous and inspiring people around. The therapy process is not an easy, painless process, and to a certain extent it is an optional process. Those who embrace the "journey" toward healing and/or growth and "do the work", are an honor and inspiration to work with.
Second, I enjoy the collaborative nature of the work I do. While I do bring knowledge and tools to the equation that clients are often in need of, they also bring their own knowledge and tools that are more often than not just as useful to the healing process. In addition, each client brings their own unique approach to incorporating what I have to bring into their own situation.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
Because I work with trauma and abuse issues, this is a very important aspect of my work--both in terms of having tools to help individuals to not get overwhelmed and in helping clients trust that the process will be doable for them. I approach the issue from two angles. First, and in my perspective the most important, is to provide a calm, peaceful environment in my office-- including me. If I am harried, overwhelmed, and anxious inside, my clients are going to "know" it, no matter how calm I may appear outwardly. So my first duty is to make sure I have resolved my own painful feelings at least to the point that I am at rest internally and have them contained. The second angle to helping the person face and heal painful feelings without being overwhelmed involves providing him/her with information about the therapeutic process and the importance of "pacing" oneself through the process and acquiring skills for regulating emotions. If at all possible, I teach these skills before we get to the heart of the issues with which the individual seeks help. If the person comes to me already in crisis, I give him/her the same information and assure them they can acquire these skills as we go along.