Q: What IS therapy? How does it work?
A: I think of therapy as a collaborative investigation aimed at understanding what's getting in your way of living the life you want. There are many ways to think about how therapy "works" because it works on many different levels and in different ways. The simple answer is this: With the help of a therapist, you begin to understand more about how your thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected. Making these links is like closing the circuit so your energy can do its job, which is to propel you forward in your life.
Q: Are you just going to sit silently and nod occasionally? If so, I don't see how that's going to help me.
A: I practice in a more interactive way. If I am silent in certain moments, I'm thinking. I can share my thoughts with you. We can talk about the amount of interaction that is right for you on any given day.
Q: How long does therapy last?
A: It lasts as long as we both agree it's useful.
Q: What if I don't know exactly what my problem is?
A: You don't need to know exactly what the problem is before you start therapy. Part of my job is to help you figure that out so we can work toward a solution.
Q: Isn't therapy only for people who are "crazy" or mentally ill?
A: No. Therapy is an interactive tool to use when you're not sure how to change something that's making you unhappy.
Q: What can I expect at our first meeting?
A: I think of our first few meetings as a time to see if we could work well together. During our first meeting, we can talk about whatever feels most important to you. I will most likely ask you about the difficulty you are experiencing, how long it's been going on, and how you've managed it so far. We use this time to talk about what you want out of therapy and decide on a regular meeting schedule. If we decide to work together, I will go over my office policies, payment, and other pertinent information.
Q: I don't want to talk about my "difficult childhood". That's all in the past and my problems are here in the present.
A: People worry that if they talk about these experiences, they are "dwelling in the past" and will stay stuck in a negative place. I think it's useful to talk about past, present and future as it gives us a more complete understanding of who you are and where you want to go. You are not "required" to talk about anything you don't want to in therapy. What you decide to share with me is up to you.
Q: Why would I pay for therapy if I could just talk to a friend, my partner or clergy person?
A: Therapists are more than just "good listeners". Therapists are trained to understand the complexity of human psychology. They can help you see things about yourself and your situation that you might not have thought about before. As a licensed therapist, I use what I have learned to guide our work in a helpful direction. Since each person is unique, I don't just "apply" theory and techniques. I pay close attention to who you are and what you need.