My approach to therapy
My main objective is always to determine “what’s going to work for this particular person?”
Much of my training has been in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and the principles of CBT are essential when treating mood and anxiety disorders. However, I also believe in using any approach that works and in adapting to a client’s needs.
Whenever possible, I utilize relevant research to help you make progress as quickly as possible.
Depending on the complexity of your situation, your first 2-3 sessions will focus on assessment. I will ask you a lot of questions, covering a variety of topics. Some of these topics include: your goals for therapy, mood, physical health, sleep, relationships, work, prior diagnoses and experiences with therapy, previous efforts to make changes, and so on.
In general, we will work to understand what’s causing your difficulties, as well as why it is challenging to make the changes you want to make. We will also design a plan for therapy and determine the strategies that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
In the long run, a thorough assessment saves time and helps ensure that you get what you need from therapy. Furthermore, people often start to make progress during the assessment phase because they gain a clearer picture of their situation and the factors that have led to their current difficulties.
Individualized to you
What you need from therapy is different from what someone else needs, so we will tailor your sessions to you. There is no “one size fits all” approach that works for everyone.
For example, some clients prefer a structured approach with specific tasks and skills to work on. Other clients like to use the time to sort through their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Some people discover they need to revisit past events in order to resolve current symptoms. Others find it more beneficial to focus on the “here and now.” And, many people appreciate some combination of all of the above.
If you feel uncertain about what you need from therapy, that’s okay. We’ll figure it out together.
Therapy is different from the typical doctor-patient relationship, in which the doctor is supposed to have all of the answers. The best therapy happens when we work together as team. Although I will certainly use my knowledge and experience to help you make sense of your symptoms and to generate an effective plan, you’re the expert on you and your life history.
In therapy, your part includes, among other things:
- being as honest as possible about what is going on in your life,
- speaking up about what you want from therapy (and what you don’t want),
- working in between sessions, and
- being open about the difficulties you encounter when you try to make changes in your life.
For therapy to be successful, it needs to give you knowledge and skills that you can take with you after therapy is done. The more you know and understand about what works for you, the better equipped you will be.
Therapy should provide you with answers to questions like:
- What are the most effective ways to deal with my depression, anxiety, stress, relationship difficulties, etc?
- If I have a diagnosis, what is it and what are the early warning signs that I need to watch for in the future?
- How can I adjust my environment and lifestyle to help foster the life I want to live?
- What are my most important habits?
Interested in getting started or have some additional questions? I would happy to talk with you more.