Therapy for the Individual
There are so many different therapies and therapists. It can be truly challenging to figure out what and who might help you best. Picking a therapist is an important decision and a real investment of time, resources and trust. How in the world do you start? Perhaps you were told that you should find a cognitive behavioral therapist, or a dream focused therapist, or a dynamic therapist. If you are considering contacting me you probably would like some sense of how I work and what therapy with me might be like for you.
I believe that the foundation of your therapy will stem from the relationship we build together. Establishing a secure therapy relationship where you feel I am trying to understand you and your mind, and where you are getting useful feedback, can help you find new ways of thinking about old problems.
I believe people are great mysteries, full of beliefs, dreams, and agendas that remain to some degree hidden. I believe each person is unique and is influenced by his or her own past experiences, often in ways that confound the experience of here and now living. I do not worry about what is “normal” behavior; however, I do think with you about whether the life you are living is satisfying, and in what ways it does or does not feel authentic to you.
I work from the perspective that we live our lives largely through our relationships, and that it is through our earliest relationships that we develop a feeling about our place in the world. We experience ourselves in our relationships with people and in this way we come into being. Our early relationships are where we get the first sense of who we are and what is expected from us. Our earliest relationships with parents, siblings and caretakers set the stage for how we go on (or, perhaps, grow on) to experience and create new relationships outside of our families of origin.
With your knowledge of yourself, and my training to help people understand more about themselves, and conflicts between parts of themselves, and how these conflicts can get in the way, we have the capacity to become a powerful team with a shared goal of change in your life: increased self-knowledge, a richer experience of living, stronger and more satisfying relationships, and real movement towards your goals.
Therapy work with me from this perspective is typically not short-term. I will meet with people for shorter-term treatments when indicated, such as when financial or other life situations simply require shortened treatment. Sometimes a shot-term treatment is helpful to begin new ways of thinking about yourself. However, my practice is primarily one of longer-term treatments where I meet with people one or more times per week. Because of the obvious investments such work requires I am very careful to assess whether or not I feel I would be the best person to help you. If I feel I would not be able to help you as well as someone else might I can help find appropriate referrals for you. If we agree that you and I could work well together, we can begin your psychotherapy.
Therapy for Couples
My approach to couples therapy is based in developing a solid, comfortable therapy relationship. Just like with individual psychotherapy, integral to our work will be a shared sense that the three of us are going to be able to work well together and that I am someone who can help you. I work from the perspective that couples come together with both conscious and unconscious motivations and desires for one another.
If you believe this, as I do, one outgrowth for therapy is that there is an unconscious life in the couple that can be elaborated and discussed to help you to be together in ways that feel better and encourage a richer, more compassionate couple to emerge. When is couples therapy useful? Couples therapy can be useful when you and your partner need to make important life decisions, like whether to grow your family, increase/decrease your commitment, make a significant geographic move, or support a return to school or a serious career change. Couples therapy may also be helpful when problems are less specific but still troubling, such as poor communication, general dissatisfaction, loss of desire and loneliness.