My Approach to Helping
Here's the thing. The most important aspect of helping another human being is the quality of the relationship between myself and the person who comes to me for help. The cornerstone of healing is mutual authenticity. I consider myself primarily to be an interpersonal psychologist with a strong humanistic style. I believe I am experienced as a "different kind of therapist" because I am much more interested in the person sitting across from me and how they feel about their life than I do about their diagnosis. I know, of course, a diagnosis is valuable but it is only a tiny piece that explains a person's life. People have told me I have an easy way with teenagers as well as children and adults. Essentially, my approach is respectful and interpersonal.
I am not the kind of therapist that supports the model that I know more than you do about yourself. It is quite the opposite. We engage in a dialogue, about your life, your concerns, and your feelings. I get to know you (if you allow it) in a way that you may never have been known by another human being before. It takes a while to trust a stranger, that is healthy...but as time passes we establish mutual goals and put our heads together as we search for new solutions and better life practices.
More Info About My Practice
From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to be a "therapist". All I knew at the time is that "those people" helped others get better. I work with people who are just trying to make a better life for themselves but I also am a skilled psychologist who is experienced with diagnosing and treating psychological disorders when needed. The sauce that makes me different is I am focusing on you, the person, rather than your diagnostic code. Yes, you can see the many categories here on my page that list all my areas of focus...but let me tell you that my most important specialty is YOU, with or without a diagnosis. Regardless of a person's reason for seeking therapy I usually start the first session by asking "Tell me what it is like to be you".
Some therapists make the mistake of missing the human being sitting in front of them because they get too caught up in diagnostic coding and clinical theory. I treat my patients with the same respect I would want for myself or for my own children.
I like it when people tell me "You are the only therapist who has ever really 'gotten' me". That sounds like a good start to me.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
Friends don't want to hear about it, family members just make things worse and spouses are often the reason a person is in distress. Unfortunately, seeking the help of a mental health professional is often the only viable choice when a person is searching for someone to help them with a problem that just can't seem to be solved by oneself. Seeking the help of a licensed mental health provider such as a psychologist (that's me!) can offer an in depth and sophisticated point of view regarding many different forms of distress and pain than a well meaning friend. Through the process of exposing oneself to another, a therapist, an entirely new perspective can be realized. You see, trained professionals in this field are not supposed to be your friend, they don't go out to lunch with you. Their main purpose is to help solve the problem you're experiencing and thus find ways to alleviate your suffering. There are some therapists that are masters at what they do and yet are unable to help you. This is because there needs to be an excellent fit between you and the person you choose to help you. If there is no connection or if that connection is weak, very little progress can be made. Research has proven that it is more the quality of the relationship between a therapist and their patient than the techniques or philosophical belief system of the therapist that is the curative factor in a therapeutic relationship.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
Many people ask me even before they meet me how long therapy is going to take? This is such a difficult question to answer because every patient is unique and every course of therapy takes different turns and twists as it progresses. I can definitely say that 1 to 4 sessions will never be enough for any permanent or life changing progress. On the other hand after 4 to 6 months both therapist and patient should have a firm grasp on what the major issues are and they should also have already initiated a logical plan which addresses how to achieve the goals set forth by the initial therapy. In a strange way, as the psychologist, I often feel as if the therapy is coming to an end when there seems to be a newly discovered equality between therapist and patient. When therapy is begun there is most usually a very needy and frightened patient who allows a solid and competent therapist to enter their chaotic world so that healing can begin. When therapy is over or coming to a close there is more of a mutual equalibrium between what used to be two strangers.