via Wikimedia Commons
Sometimes getting started with therapy can feel like a huge challenge, even for those who have done it earlier in their lives. Therapy is definitely a transitional space, and while it does require its own form of courage, I don't believe that the process has to mean intense suffering or be a fearful experience! This work can be exciting, interesting, empowering, and even fun at times. As you start to sort out the things that were confusing you or keeping you stuck, and you begin to see all the possibilities for your life, things get lighter and more rewarding. Then the momentum from the gains you are making starts to take hold. I want you to come to see your strengths and learn to find the part of you that can access your inner guidance and wisdom. That way, you will arrive at your own solutions...the ones that fit you just right. Soon you will notice that you feel more confident, creative, clear headed, collaborative, and are looking forward to life in general.
Until that starts to happen on a consistent basis, I am very careful to hold your process in a way that won't overwhelm you or make your life more difficult. I can help you develop practices and understandings that resolve the challenging parts of your journey more quickly. If you are willing, I will suggest "homework" that will help create more movement for you between sessions. I will support you as you access the Imagination so that you can envision different outcomes and new alternatives in your life; reconnecting at this level can even give us access to reparation of early trauma. Part of my work as a therapist is to explore with you, your innately Imaginative Self, however that wants to find expression through you. That Self can move between pain and delight to craft a life that is meaningful and sustaining both individually and for the culture in which we live.
In my practice, I also feel it is important to support my clients between appointments when they need it. I am always available by phone, text, or email to focus on issues that are better resolved in the moment. It has also worked well to use Skype for regular appointments with clients who live out of the immediate area or are traveling for long periods of time.
If you think you would be more comfortable with a coaching model, I can adapt your work using that approach. The most important thing is that you feel encouraged to explore new possibilities and release the existing patterns that don't seem to serve you anymore. I'm not going to continually ask you "...and how does that feel" or make you do most of the talking. Often I will ask you questions to draw out the answers you already have inside you. The way I practice is one in which we are constantly in a dialogue, working as a team to bring you a richer, more satisfying, more connected existence!
I basically think of my "specialty" as working with those who want to create the best life imaginable. Thus, I like doing all different types of therapy--individual, couples, as well as family--each has its own important benefits. The exciting thing is that once you start to change, those around you begin to change too! You will become a change-agent for those you care about so that your work creates movement in more than just your own life. Couples work is often very rich as the dynamics between two people will move therapy along more quickly. You each can see something in the other that she or he misses, and I help you share that with your partner. But if I can work with the whole family, a more significant level of change occurs as the whole system can be addressed. Even if you chose to do individual work, I will encourage you to periodically bring in various members of your family or close friends for what I call a "systems session" so that we can utilize their input to support and clarify your therapeutic process. Often the other person benefits considerably as well and discovers that therapy can be a safe place to open up about their life as well.
Ultimately, an important though seemingly contradictory part of this journey is to step back from our personal identities and pain in order to look at the larger story. It is a story of where humanity has been and the amazing places we can go if we will but trust our personal process and the greater Imagination. We are part of deep, ancient patterns and there are many who have gone through these very same life conditions before us; we call them our ancestors and they have found many ingenious ways to traverse these difficult experiences. Not only can we learn from their stories and the myths that have been told about them, but we can also expand on the possibilities and capacities that we are developing through the therapy process. When we evolve as individuals, the culture evolves as well, so part of this work is both about our tending to the broader meaning of human flourishing as well as your very personal story. The good news is that although we face critical personal and cultural challenges today, there is an undeniable movement toward democracy, emancipation, creativity, deep community, empathy, and psychological maturity at the global level.