Choosing a therapist is an important decision. Reaching out almost always brings up anxiety – Will they understand me? Can I trust this person with my thoughts, feelings? Will they really be able to help me? Everyone shares these questions in one form or another. You may be someone who has made use of counseling in the past, or this may be your first time.
At its core, psychotherapy is about feeling better and living a freer and calmer life. Through collaboration and compassion, we become mindful of ourselves – our thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and deepest needs. We begin to see what we need to do to create change in our lives. And in doing so, we can find confidence and a sense of empowerment we never knew we had. And ultimately, we can begin to feel better about ourselves and our life.
It takes both courage and commitment from both the client and therapist. It not only requires the therapist to be compassionate and understanding, but someone who is willing to challenge his clients, gently and compassionately, in order to reveal their strengths and help them to break free of conditioned patterns of behavior and thinking.
Typically, our sessions will be 55 minutes. Most importantly, we will start where you are and find out what is most important to you. Within the first 2-4 sessions, we will have a good idea of what your challenges are and what sort of things we need to do to get you to a better place. In this way, therapy does not need to be mysterious and/or open-ended.
I draw from a variety of theories or models of change to inform how I work with clients (cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, experiential, mindfulness). But most importantly, I tailor my approach to the uniqueness of each client.
If I had to describe my style or how I work, I would call it Emotionally-Focused Dynamic Psychotherapy. What exactly does this mean? Emotionally-focused means that we go well beyond talking and really focus on your experience. In other words, we go beyond what is our heads and go more towards what things are like emotionally and physically in the body – or if you well, to go to the heart of the matter. From my experience, this is where genuine change happens. One of the biggest complaints I get from new clients about their previous therapy is that they did a lot of talking with little or no change in themselves and in their lives.
Dynamic, short for psychodynamic, means looking at and facing conflicts within ourselves that cause suffering. Conflicts involve our relationship with ourselves and how we relate to others. The conflicts develop early in life and over time become conditioned ways of behaving and thinking. The conflicts within ourselves are related to our anxieties, genuine feelings, and the way we avoid those feelings.
Psychotherapy calls for active effort and involvement on your part. In order for therapy to be successful, you will have to work on things we discuss during sessions and on your own outside of therapy. Psychotherapy has benefits as well as some risks, as the process often involves discussing and experiencing unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and memories. Research has demonstrated that engagement in such a process helps patients on many levels – emotionally, physically, and interpersonally. Despite these findings, there is no guarantee that you will experience all these benefits.
My clients often report the following changes which ultimately lead to less depression, anxiety, and overall greater well-being:
- A greater feeling of connection with others
- An increased comfort around people in general
- Better, healthier relationships with family and friends
- The ability to express and communicate feelings in ways that are appropriate
- Significant improvement in the ability to notice and experience emotions
- Become more aware of negative thinking patterns and learn to cultivate positive thinking
- Ability to feel and express anger appropriately without losing control
- Greater confidence, self-esteem, and self-regard
- A greater commitment to their life goals related to lifestyle, work, family etc…