Welcome to my private practice. My style as a psychotherapist is active and interactive. Most importantly, perhaps, is my non-judgmental stance. Therapy needs to be a judgment free zone, where you are free to explore all aspects of yourself: thoughts, feelings, behaviors…While symptoms usually prompt people to enter therapy with me, we will quickly clarify larger goals and values. I will ask many variations of “How will you know if our work together has been useful?”
We will pay close attention to what interferes in your moving in important directions in your life. We will find ways to help you to relate differently to difficult experiences, such as anxiety, depression and relationship issues. We will clarify what you have control over and what you don’t, and work to move towards accepting what may not be changeable, while working on behaviors that move you in valued directions. I encourage you to give a call for a conversation about how I may be of service to you.
Here is a list of common questions about psychotherapy:
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a time and place to pay attention to and explore ourselves. In the context of a safe relationship with another person, it’s an opportunity to discover our strengths, and to find more satisfying ways to live. It is one of many tools we use to get what we want from our lives: sometimes goals are specific, sometimes more vague. We may use different words for what we want: relief, healing, problem solving, connection etc. Regardless of the language, psychotherapy is a powerful process of self-discovery that can lead to lasting change.
How do I choose a therapist?
Probably the best way to find a therapist is through word of mouth. Ask people you know of their experiences, if you are comfortable with that. You may need to interview a therapist or two, either in person or on the phone. Keep in mind that you do not need to commit to a therapist after the first session. You are paying for a service, and you are in charge. After a session or two or three, you will get a sense of their philosophy of care, and whether there is a good fit. Some degree of comfort and rapport is important, even though things may not always go smoothly. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe with someone and do not become more at ease after a few sessions, this may not be the right therapist for you. Keep looking. A good therapeutic relationship is worth it.
Why do people enter psychotherapy?
The reasons that people enter therapy are as varied as there are people. Often people enter psychotherapy when they are feeling depressed or anxious, or when their relationships, both romantic and otherwise, are not working. Others may feel lonely, unconfident, or overwhelmed by uncomfortable feelings. Some hope to learn to cope better with general stress or a transition or loss. At times we engage in psychotherapy out of a feeling of necessity, at other times out of a purposeful desire to grow, to be productive, more motivated. Whatever reason we have, we know that we want something to be different, and have hope that someone can help us with that.
How do I know if I need psychotherapy?
The choice to enter psychotherapy is less often about whether one needs it, and more about whether they can benefit from it. Each individual must answer this question for themselves, and in fact it is often answered after one begins psychotherapy. This is often why the first step in entering psychotherapy is often the most difficult: we are not sure if or how we can benefit from it. Also, it can be paradoxical that when we are most in need of support, we are least likely to feel strong enough to do what is needed to take care of ourselves. At times, people believe that they must be desperate in order to get help, rather than from a desire to grow and flourish. That said, there are obvious times when people do need help, especially when their or others’ lives and well-being are in danger. At these times, the emergency room or 911 needs to be the first step. For the most part, however, the choice to begin psychotherapy, rather than coming from need, comes from some knowledge that things can be different.
What can I expect?
When you first call a psychotherapist, you can expect that your call will be returned promptly. When you first make the call, or meet, you can expect to have a variety of feelings, including some anxiety, perhaps some hope and skepticism. You can expect that no matter how long psychotherapy lasts, you will be building a relationship that is focused on your needs. Psychotherapy is evocative and interesting. It can be very hard work, but can be calming, or exhilarating, joyful, maddening, saddening, frustrating, anxiety provoking and exciting. It is not magic, or mystical, though it can feel that way. And it’s not easy, though we’d like it to be. Change is rarely easy. Expect the unexpected, and be open to possibilities.
What does the therapist do?
The answer to this depends on the style of the therapist. Overall, however, the therapist’s job is to find the best way to connect with the client’s way of struggling with their world. This may mean simply listening, providing different types of feedback, or using a variety of tools to help clients gain more insight and experience. Different therapists have different tools and techniques and ways of working. Talk to your therapist about what therapy is, about how they work. There are no rules. It only seems like it because of what we see in the media. You have the right to say what you want and need.
How long does it take?
There is rarely an easy answer to this question. The answer depends on several factors, including what we want to get out of it, and how hard we are willing to work to get what we want. Because psychotherapy is a tool, how we make use of it will shape how useful it is. Also, we all learn and change at different speeds, and it would be unrealistic to think that years or decades of habits, thoughts, and feelings can be changed in a brief time. There are of course times and situations that may require minimal time. However, it will be important to discuss this with a therapist, have patience with yourself, and trust that the time aspect will be something over which you have control.
How do you work as a psychotherapist?
My style as a psychotherapist is active and interactive. I see psychotherapy as facilitating clients’ meaningful connection with themselves, whether through listening, support, exercises, feedback, or gentle challenge when helpful. Psychotherapy is a learning environment, a time to learn from old experiences, and to construct new experiences and habits that serve us better. My belief is that through attention to experiences, especially in the present moment, we can gain clarity and insight into our life, allowing us to identify what gets in the way, and find ways to get past that. Whether this involves concrete problem solving skills, or working on a potential deeper underlying issue is always shaped by the needs of the client.