Though I work with many types of clients, I specialize in working with people going through difficult times in their lives to include divorce or relationship disruptions, job loss, depression, loss of a loved one or pet, and other life transitions. I love my work because, although I initially see people at a low point in their life, as we work together in a deeper way over time, they often find the courage and skills to make a lasting change and live a life no longer dictated by past experiences and relationships.
Therapy isn’t easy. Most of our wounds and defenses are the result of what has happened to us and to those around us. Numerous factors contribute to how the process of therapy goes: one’s readiness, the fit between therapist and client, and even aspects of ourselves of which we are not yet consciously aware.
The Elements of Good Therapy:
I know how important it is to find the right "fit" of therapist and client. Some of the ways I endeavor to work are described below:
Viewing a person as greater than his or her problems is the hallmark of non-pathologizing therapy. It means that even though problems exist, there is much more to the whole person than the sum of the problems.
Empowering therapists maintain the belief that people can grow, heal, and transform. This hope is held no matter how intense one's defenses and wounds are.
The spirit of this type of therapy is summarized in the words of Albert Schweitzer who wrote, "Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.... We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work." This can happen when the therapist trusts the person to know themselves (or have the potential to know themselves) better than anyone else, to access their own wisdom, and to attend to their wounds.
I believe that the main way that therapy is helpful and transformative is via the relationship that develops between the therapist and client. It represents an ongoing human-to-human connection which provides the foundation for change. The relationship is the safe container which allows one to more fully and completely feel and grow a sense of Self while in the presence of another.
Therapy often times needs to go deep. There seems to be a split in the mental health field regarding types of therapy. One school of thought emphasizes cognitive and behavioral solutions and the other emphasizes emotional, body, and relational healing. Both are important. However, my experience is that healing takes more than insight about a problem, cognitive countering, or surface behavior change. Rather than avoiding, challenging, or compensating for our suffering, healing requires an exploration into what fuels extreme beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. Treatment without going deep can be like stitching up a wound without removing the bullet; it’s more likely to remain sore, to infect, and to require ongoing attention.
Common Therapy Issues
- Life Cycle Events and Transitions
- Stress Management
- Relationship Concerns
- Childhood Issues
- Illness (of self or family members)
- Addiction (if actively seeking recovery and working a program)
- LGBTQ Issues
- Eating and Food Issues