My Approach to Therapy
“Firm and Fair”
That’s probably the best way to describe my therapy style. I have tremendous compassion for the reasons people are the way they are; and I also expect people to be accountable for themselves in the present. In other words, I will emotionally “hug” you and help you grieve past hurts and losses one minute. The next minute, I will figuratively give you a loving nudge to get you moving forward, holding you accountable for identifying and dealing with “your part” in your circumstances.
For the most part, I don’t see it as my job to give “advice,” but to help guide you toward discovering your own answers for your particular circumstances. One of the most important things I learned from a wonderful professor was, “Be who the patient needs you to be.” If a patient needs a comforting nurturer, that is who I am. If a patient needs a firm parent, that’s who I am. If a patient needs some combination of each, that’s who I am.
Primarily, I want to help each patient improve their relationship with themselves, develop healthy skills for dealing with life on life’s terms, and live life fully. As a result, most people find that their relationships with others are improved and life circumstances are more easily dealt with.
Connecting with my patients is one of my greatest strengths. For that reason, my “firm and fair” approach works – even when the “firm” seems to outweigh the "fair!" I will always respect a patient’s desire not to address any issue, although I may encourage consideration to do so if I think it’s something important.
My orientation is very eclectic. Part of how I approach therapy is based on what a client is dealing with. I typically use a combination of Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing techniques. All of these treatment modalities are evidence-based and have scientific merit.
Psychodynamic therapists look to your past to understand how early life experiences may be affecting your present-day behavior and relationships. Conscious and subconscious memories and learned behaviors from the past contribute to your present-day responses. Learning to recognize what learned thoughts and behaviors from the past negatively affect your present, while simultaneously learning healthier options for addressing life’s circumstances, often lead to improved relationships and a more optimistic outlook.
Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by how we perceive our circumstances. Exploring how your thoughts, feelings and behavior interact and affect one another offers options for making changes in your present life. Learning effective skills and techniques related to thoughts, feelings and behavior can have a tremendous, positive impact on your choices and the related consequences.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
ACT therapy is used to help people accept the things that are out of their control and commit to doing things that will help them make positive changes in their lives. In ACT therapy, patients are encouraged to learn to deal with painful thoughts and feelings so they don’t have debilitating power over their lives. Patients are helped to clarify what is most important to them in life and helped to make choices that reflect those things, thus making life richer and more meaningful. Mindfulness is also a key in the ACT model. What kind of therapist would I be if I didn’t jump on the Mindfulness bandwagon?! Mindfulness, a major buzz word in the therapy world, means focusing your attention on the present, and living fully in the present!
In Motivational Interviewing, the therapist helps the client become ready for change, if necessary. If the patient is ready to make changes, the therapist helps the person determine their motivation for following through with, and sustaining health changes. This is done by asking open-ended questions (which do not have “yes” or “no” responses, but require the use of full sentences); utilizing affirmation, or confirming what the patient says; using reflections, or letting the patient know you hear them, by stating back what they are telling you; and, by summarizing what the patient is telling you. Patients find their own solutions to issues through this method. The therapist’s role is to guide and help motivate the patient.
Come see me or schedule an online session! I’m very easy to talk with as my style is relaxed and very down-to-earth!