Each person has a unique and authentic story. My goal is to provide a safe and empathic environment for you to better understand your experiences, both positive and negative. I wholeheartedly believe that psychotherapy is a collaborative process with both therapist and patient working together. My approach is to focus on symptom relief in the short-term; as well as to explore the present and past to increase awareness and change underlying psychological patterns. This process allows for personal growth, a sense of agency and belongingness, and greater satisfaction in life and relationships.
Many people have a hard time understanding how the past can impact the future. I hear, “the past is the past, you can’t change it,” on a regular basis. It is true, you can’t change the past, but you can certainly learn from your past. Exploring and understanding your past is a significant aspect of my therapeutic approach. There tends to be a pattern in our behavior; whether it’s punctuality, avoiding our feelings, or having an optimistic perspective. Part of therapy is understanding these patterns and how individual tendencies impact decisions, behaviors, and relationships.
So what areas of your life would be explored during therapy? All are on the table, but your childhood, adolescence, family history, relationship history, and coping mechanisms are themes that are always explored. Revisiting these life stages can provide much needed insight for current issues, and increase self-awareness. During the initial sessions, I’ll ask you to tell me about yourself, your family, your relationships, how you manage stress, and why you are seeking therapy now. Just reading this may seem overwhelming, but most therapists are skilled at knowing how to ask these questions without it feeling like an interrogation.
How do you know if therapy is right for you? People seek out therapy for many reasons, including:
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- General anxiety (nervousness, excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating)
- Coping with medical issues
- Psychological impact of major life events (marriage, divorce, death, physical injury, loss)
- Addiction issues
- Personal issues (self-esteem, relationship difficulty, family difficulty)
The vast majority of people seek out therapy when they are having difficulty managing life stressors. What does "having difficulty managing life stressors" mean exactly? Well, if you are having difficulty with tasks that were once easy (e.g., work, school, daily activities, etc.), you are probably a good candidate for therapy. I do see the occasional patient that wants to be more efficient and productive than they already are, but that is certainly not the norm.
Therapy offers a nonjudgmental, supportive environment which allows for an open and genuine dialogue. Most people half-jokingly expect to lay on a couch; most end up sitting in a chair (some do lay on the couch). Making it to your first session is usually the scariest part, and most people report feeling more content, less anxious, and more optimistic at the end of the session. They are also surprised by the conversational feel of therapy.
I work with children, adolescents, and adults. I approach patients with their needs and goals at the forefront of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is hard work; it can be challenging and painful, but such is life. With that said, I have found myself laughing with my patients, sharing stories and growing together.
I hope this short description has answered some questions, if not feel free to contact me with your specific concerns or thoughts. As always, if you find this post helpful, feel free to share.