Values & Approach

My Values As A Therapist

While people come to therapy for a variety of reasons, what they want most to do is to stop suffering and live better. In my experience, therapy is less about “personal growth”, “talking things through”, or “finding coping mechanisms”. These are all worthy things. When it comes down to it, it’s about change and getting to a genuinely better place, and none of these are synonymous with that. And make no mistake, all change requires discomfort. I genuinely care about the people I work with and find it incredibly fulfilling to help them get to a better place. I have been told by clients that I operate with a firm, yet highly compassionate resolve. I leave no stone unturned in treating each session as if it could be our last.

Research has shown that nearly half of people do not get the full benefit from therapy. This half, I have good reason to suspect, are those with significant trauma histories and understandable pain “resistance” to whom the mental health system has largely alluded. For these individuals, therapy must go beyond the cognitive, solution-focused, or insight level for deep change to occur.

It was once believed that greater self-insight leads to change, but from my experience, and better research, it is more the other way around – experiencing ourselves more deeply allows for greater insight into who we really are. Therefore, to help my clients, I inevitably go to a deep and experiential place with them. This has as much to do with my presence as it does with technique. It takes resolve, and deliberate practice and training.

Jack Twill, psychologist Annapolis MD.
Jack N. Tawil, Annapolis Psychotherapist
Values & Approach
Values & Approach

My Approach To Therapy & Why I’m Different From Other Clinicians

It was once said that you can’t take a client further than you have gone yourself. This is wise advice. I’ve come to believe that great therapists are not so much born but created through perseverance through their struggles and a steadfast commitment to their work as therapists and as people.

That said, deliberate practice, defined as a therapist’s way of understanding what he/she is doing through performance feedback is essential to becoming as effective as possible1.

I make deliberate practice an essential part of my work as a therapist because I want to genuinely help people overcome emotional suffering. Many of my new referrals are from people who have been in therapy before, sometimes for years, but have not seen good results.

Emotional suffering is serious business, sometimes a matter of life and death. And I want to know I have done everything possible to make a difference. This often means spending hours during my week looking over videotaped sessions working to understand what is not working and what could work better.

It requires more of my time, money, and effort, but it just feels like the right thing to do.

Therapy Stereotypes That Don’t Really Work:

While psychotherapy is effective for many people, research suggests roughly half of people who go to see a therapist leave therapy before achieving the full benefit. It has also shown that if patients do not improve by seven sessions, they are likely not to improve1.

From my experience and training, those who have not benefited are what we call high “resistance”, meaning that they defend against the pain of trauma so well that it takes particular and advanced therapist skills to navigate and be of help. 

“Venting” therapy

You may feel like you are being heard because your therapist lets you talk as much as you want. At first, this may feel good, but after a while, you may be thinking in the back of your mind that you want the therapist to do something to help you stop, but it never comes.

“Rent a friend” therapy

If this worked, they probably would not be coming to see a therapist. Many of our clients have great friends that they can talk to but for some weird reason, it does not translate into change.

“Quick Fix” therapy

This is where the therapist offers quick solutions or provides a strategy, technique, or tool without fully grasping your struggles. On one hand, it is sort of appealing because who doesn’t want easy answers. On the other hand, in the back of your mind you know “It is not that easy”. You inevitably begin to distrust the therapist and the process.

“All talk, no action” therapy

You and the therapist talk a lot about interesting things and it is comfortable. The therapist may also feel like a good friend. One problem – Your life has not changed.

“A lot of insight, but no change” therapy

Here you feel like your therapist is very smart because they make great insights and interpretations, and you do too. One problem – Your life has not changed.

“Kid Gloves” therapy

Your therapist may be very nice but they do not challenge you when necessary and appropriately because they are afraid of conflict. “But I need help with conflict management” you may be wondering.”Oh, no!”

“Cutting to the chase” therapy

This can really be shaming therapy in disguise. You feel like your therapist is telling you the truth and being straightforward. You may be thinking, “How did they figure out so fast, wow”. The problem is you may feel shamed and have a hard time resolving your inner conflicts. You just don’t feel good when you leave.

“You’re OK” therapy

This is placating you and your life and I’m too honest of a person to minimize the stress you’re under by saying platitudes like “all will be fine” or “it’s no big deal” because this is your life we’re talking about and if you’re in pain, it’s real. It may be coming from something manufactured in your mind, but the feelings are real and therefore deserve to be listened to and explored.

“My spouse says I need therapy”

Therapy is your choice, not someone else’. It also doesn’t work unless the client is engaged and has decided to alter their life. No amount of love in the world can make someone “grow and change.” If your spouse wants you in therapy, consider doing it together or getting honest about what you want so the decision is your own to come or not.

“Venting” therapy

You may feel like you are being heard because your therapist lets you talk as much as you want. At first this may feel good, but after a while you may be thinking in the back of your mind that you want the therapist to do something to help you stop, but it never comes.

“A-ha, A-ha” therapy

This is exactly as it sounds.

Psychosyrapy

The therapist comes off as caring, warm, and thoughtful and has the tone to boot. It sounds like sympathy, but it does not feel authentic. When in doubt, trust this feeling.

“Merry- go-round” therapy

The therapist comes off as caring, warm, and thoughtful and has the tone to boot. It sounds like sympathy, but it does not feel authentic. When in doubt, trust this feeling.

“All talk, no action” therapy

You and the therapist talk alot about interesting things and it is comfortable. The therapist may also feel like a good friend. One problem - Your life has not changed.

I Am The Right Therapist For You If:

  • You’ve previously been in therapy and you didn’t achieve your goal as much as you’d like; haven’t lived better and real change has not occurred in your life.
  • You’re committed to doing the work to change your life.
  • You’re tired of the mental health runaround of going from professional to professional and never getting to the root of what’s going on in your life. You want answers.
  • You’re looking for genuine change and not just “awareness” or insight into your past/life.
  • You want relief beyond fixing your symptoms. For example, you want to know what’s behind or driving your symptoms of depression or anxiety so you can gain control and know how to live differently.
  • You think treatment, not just management of your conditions is what you want.
  • You want to work with someone who you feel really understands your head and heart.
  • You want to work with someone who is fully present in the room with you as you experience your healing and transformation.
  • You want someone else on the planet to hear and witness your pain so you’re not alone in it anymore.
  • You want a therapist who has the courage to tell you what you don’t want to hear, with the compassion to say it in a way that you can hear, so you feel lifted and lighter in your life.
  • You want permission to be your real self without fearing criticism, judgment, or retribution.

I Am The Right Therapist If Any Of These Resonate With You:

Get In Touch With Me

If you’re ready for this kind of support, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. My services are cash-based and I am accepting clients now.

My office is in Annapolis, MD and you can reach me for a consultation by calling (410) 562-9647 or sending me an email at mail@annapolispsychotherapy.com