What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
Becoming a therapist, for me, was a very organic and natural decision. I think the experience of sharing your most personal thoughts and feelings to someone you don't know is incredibly courageous, and I am humbled each time a new client walks into my office for this process.
Because I believe most of the answers are within the client, I see my job as a navigator, a safe harbor, a place to put everything on the table without judgement. Being able to explore the issue with me allows you to experience vulnerability and curiosity. I love when a client has an 'aha' moment and experiences something new within their feeling, thinking or behavior that impoves the quality of their life.
Passion, for me, is about experiencing the client as they are and allowing them the safety, comfort and guidance to step closer to that ideal self while still embracing their humanness. For some, the process of understanding happens quickly and for others it may slowly trickle out. There is no "right" way to do therapy. It is a process of which you are in control and I am the guide.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Remember you are a consumer buying a service. If you have ambivalence, empower yourself with basic information about your clinician and don't be afraid to ask questions before you walk into the office about what the process might look like.
Ask yourself what the ambivalence might be about. Fear? Resistance? Anger? Embarrassment? Simply understanding the ambivalence may help dissipate it's power.
You may start therapy and see it isn't for you. That is OK, too. If you are ready for it, the part of you that is seeking change will be stronger than the part of you that is resistant. If you stop, this is simply a part of your life journey.
My goal is to help you feel better. Hopefully, you can feel safe enough to talk about the ambivalence with your clinician and the clinician can help you explore it without judgement and simply be curious about it. When we are curious, rather than judgemental, we can truly grow and learn.
People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions (in school it was called homework), such as reading a relevant book, keeping records or simply paying attention to yourself. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions. I like to think of your time in the office as a “springboard” for your week to “dive in the pool”, considering and practicing the things we discuss in the session.
The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Having a safe, non-judgmental place to process and get “reality checks” can prove helpful. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life.
Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you
Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and develop new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems
Improving self esteem and confidence
That is OK. We can identify your goals as you start therapy. Your goals will be the “roadmap” that gives us a direction as you work on your process. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
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Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.