I think of therapy as a learning process, a way to become more self-aware, a path to living a life that feels meaningful and fulfilling. Such learning takes effort because change, even for the better, is often hard. But it’s a little easier to change within the context of a supportive relationship with a therapist.
Psychotherapy provides a confidential space in which you can speak freely, without fear of judgment. My expertise comes from all I have learned about people and therapy. But only you know how your current difficulties relate to your personality and your life. Thus in the beginning I need to learn from you. I listen carefully and follow your lead. My only goal is to do whatever I can to help you to be as open as possible.
As we continue working together, I make observations, perhaps notice something you might not have. This can help you consider different perspectives. As we think about the underlying aspects of your current difficulties, we explore your past. No matter what brings you to therapy, there is always something to be learned by reflecting on your earliest experiences and relationships. I might make a connection that helps you make sense of something that had seemed unrelated, or I might just ask some questions that help you to better understand your thoughts and feelings.
Talking can feel really good. Saying things out loud and being really listened to is very powerful. Feeling understood and a little bit less alone are needs we all have. Sometimes talking is very hard though. All kinds of uncomfortable and even painful emotions might come to the surface including embarrassment, grief, guilt, anger, fear. This is necessary and important because we all carry emotional baggage. I can help you discover the feelings that weigh you down and help you to work through them so you can move forward.
In therapy, there are difficult moments and happy moments. I think it’s really important to have a balance. We may talk about lots of painful things, but we also talk about the things that are going well. I pay attention to your strengths and point them out to you. I use humor as a way to relate to you as a human being. I share in your accomplishments, small or big, and notice positive changes. Change in therapy is gradual and sometimes easy to overlook. I want us to be aware of both your struggles and your progress.
Therapy is not a quick fix. If you are looking for someone to help you with a specific symptom in a short period of time, I am not the best therapist for you. But if you are interested in a deeper exploration of yourself and personal growth that goes beyond reducing current symptoms, we would probably work well together.