As an individual therapist I typically work with clients one-on-one. Individual therapy is different from couples or family therapy because you are the focus of treatment instead of the relationship or family system. But that doesn't mean you can't talk about your relationships or your family! It just means that I will work with you individually and hear things primarily from your perspective.
People often come to see me for help with depression and anxiety, relationship problems, or because they are navigating difficult life transitions in work, school, or at home. Others need help managing serious mental health issues, such as bipolar and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. And still others may be struggling with unresolved trauma, problematic use of alcohol or other substances, eating disorders, or other unhealthy behaviors and life patterns.
Q: What's the first step?
A: The most important first step for you is deciding to work on your issues and making a commitment to yourself to get help. My first step is always to try and make you feel comfortable so that we can talk openly about why you are there.
Q: No really, what's the actual first step?
A: Logistically speaking, you may want to do a little research, then call and briefly speak with a few different therapists to get a feel for their interpersonal and therapeutic style. After that, you can schedule an initial appointment and show up! Oh, and don't forget the paperwork (there's always a bit of paperwork!) On your first visit with me, I will ask questions about your presenting problems and history and try to get a full picture of what is going on in your life.
Q: How does sitting and talking about my problems help?
A: It helps because identifying and expressing your feelings with an empathetic listener can provide emotional relief and help you feel understood and accepted. Over time you also may become more aware of why you feel "stuck" in your life or why you lack intimacy in relationships. These insights can help you begin to change the way you think, feel, and behave. It's definitely not magic yet gaining insight into your problems can help you heal emotional wounds, break dysfunctional patterns, and allow you to choose healthier ways of relating to yourself and others.
Q: What makes the therapy relationship different from other relationships?
A: A trained psychotherapist will work to establish a safe, empathetic, and trusting relationship that is focused on you and that maintains healthy boundaries. Because I am not a part of your everyday life, I can provide much needed objectivity and perspective that the people closest to you oftentimes cannot.
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