Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. Unlike visiting a medical doctor, psychotherapy requires a very active effort on your part. I believe that psychotherapy involves looking backwards, looking around, and looking forwards. This is what I mean: I believe that who we are is shaped in important ways by our families and other important people. Understanding this is essential to helping us change, but it is not enough by itself. In our work together we can change how these early experiences influence "here and now" ways of being in the world and create better ways of relating to those around us. This leads to changes in how we live our lives and thus gives us new experiences that create a richer, more fulfilling life.
It is always difficult to answer questions about exactly how I would work with you in psychotherapy This is because I tailor what I do to what you need, what your goals are, and who you are. I have been trained in many ways of working with people around many different issues. Across the board, however, I work with people in a warm, supportive way that bolsters their internal strengths and resources but that also challenges them and invites change. While helping people feel better as quickly as possible, I also help them grow personally, understand themselves more deeply, have more rewarding relationships, and make deep, lasting change. Creativity, spontaneity, and a sense of humor are important to me and I try to incorporate these qualities into all of my work.
Obviously, feeling better, having a more rewarding life and richer relationships is the ultimate goal of psychotherapy. But it is important to understand that psychotherapy is often hard and sometimes even unpleasant. It requires discussing unpleasant or distressing aspects of your life and feeling difficult emotions in the presence of someone else. Sometimes it requires feeling worse before you feel better. I know that this process is valuable despite the difficulty; it can lead to better relationships, resolution of specific problems, and a significant reduction in feelings of distress.
Our first few sessions will be about getting to know each other, and that really goes both ways. It will be important for me to get an understanding of who you are, where you come from, and what you want to change. But it is just as important for you to get a feel for me. Research, along with my own experience, shows that it is essential that you work with someone you have a good connection with, someone you can trust and feel confident about.
After this initial period we can talk about some initial impressions of how I view your concerns and what our work might include. After that we will work collaboratively on your concerns and issues. Our course may change over time as your life changes and our focus expands; we will periodically check in to make sure that therapy is meeting your needs and together decide when it is time to end.