Finding the Right Therapist
If you are making the decision to seek psychological services, this is an important step in initiating meaningful change in your life. The next step is choosing a therapist who can help you on this journey. The question then becomes, “How do I find a therapist that’s right for me?”
Choosing a therapist to work with can sometimes be challenging and confusing. The most important thing in selecting a therapist is that you feel comfortable with that person. This will allow you to build a solid, trusting relationship as you meet your challenges head-on. As you consider working with a therapist, think ahead of time about what helps you to feel safe emotionally. Use those ideas as a guide for yourself, particularly when you make your initial contact with the therapist. Both during and after the initial contact, ask yourself if you would feel safe in sharing the more personal details of your life and areas where you might be struggling. If the answer is yes, that's a good thing. If the answer is no, it's probably a good idea to keep searching. A good fit between client and therapist is a crucial element in what makes therapy successful.
I’m a firm believer that no one should have to suffer alone, and I value the opportunity to walk with people through their challenges. What’s even better is seeing people get to the other side of their pain, having gained a greater sense of empowerment during the journey. I am committed to helping people find their inner strength, use it as fuel to fight life’s battles, and make it through to the other side of the storm. And, it doesn’t matter if the storm is the result of your life’s circumstances or of your own making. We all get a little weary in the rain. However, I wouldn’t be in this line of work if I didn’t believe that brighter days are possible for everyone. And, it’s my job to help you get to that place a little more swiftly than trying to go it alone.
My approach really varies depending on who I’m treating and what their needs are. I try to customize my work to the specific goals a client has, how willing they are to make changes, where they are emotionally, and what their strengths and vulnerabilities are. That being said, I do have a couple of guiding principles that frame the type of treatment I provide. I use mindfulness based approaches as well as psychodynamically informed psychotherapy as cornerstones in my treatment.
Simply stated, mindfulness is about being fully awake and present to the here and now. So often, we get trapped in thoughts about our past or project ahead and think about (read: worry about) our future. When we do that, we are missing what’s happening right before our eyes in the present moment. And, when it comes down to it, the present is all we ever really have. So, mindfulness teaches us to be aware of what’s happening both internally (thoughts and feelings) and externally in the world around us. It’s about living withour eyes open. It is only when we are able to see that we can start to make change in our lives. Through mindfulness, we can learn to tolerate and withstand our pain... and also more fully embrace those moments of joy, happiness, and peace when they show up. Mindfulness helps us be more solid in who we are, and anchors us in life so we are not tossed about by our circumstances. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with the other approach to therapy I often use, psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Without getting too technical or using too much jargon, psychodynamic approaches focus on bringing a level of conscious awareness to the patterns of behavior that we repeat throughout our lives. The psychodynamic approach focuses on early life experiences and the ways in which they shape our experience of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Without realizing it, we can repeat patterns from our past in our present situations, and when those patterns are unhealthy, we can find ourselves stuck in the same type of predicament over and over again.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy helps us better understand the “why” in what we do. Once we have gained insight by figuring out the “why,” then we’re able to recognize those warning signs ahead of time. Hopefully, by seeing these things early on, we can sidestep falling into that old trap, and also make healthier choices for our lives.