THERAPY AND CONSULTATION

The section, How I Approach Therapy, contains a short discussion of my “philosophy” of therapy. Then, the Information for My Clients document is a form that I give to all new clients – it gives information about my approach to therapy, billing practices, fee’s, and more.

 

HOW I APPROACH THREAPY

People often ask “what kind of therapist are you?”, or “what kind of therapy do you do?” In the beginning of my career, that would have been an easier question to answer. I was trained in both psychodynamic psychotherapy and in family systems approaches, and my work combined those two theoretical orientations. I also worked hard (and still do) to understand people in terms of their developmental issues in life, and the interpersonal and social context in which they function. Earlier in my career, I did a lot of couples and individual therapy with adults, mainly around relationship problems. To a lesser extent, I also worked with families that were having problems with their adolescents.

These days, the great majority of my therapy is grief counseling, usually with people after a traumatic loss such as a suicide. While psychodynamic and family systems orientations still inform my approach, I think of my clinical work as focused around the client(s) and what they need, not around a particular “school” of therapy or set of procedures. Thus, I do use some common techniques (guided imagery, relaxation techniques, EMDR) from time to time - but I use them sparingly and only in the context of an ongoing therapeutic relationship, in which I and the client agree that the technique is appropriate and likely to be helpful.

While I believe that diagnostic categories and a medical model of “disorder” and “treatment” have their utility, they are not central to how I understand what makes therapy useful. Above all, I believe that the healing potential of therapy lies in the relationship between the client and therapist, not in the techniques or particular orientation of the therapist (and much of the psychotherapy outcome research supports this idea as well). Thus, the central question is always “What does this client need from this encounter that would be helpful for them, and how can I provide that?” I see therapy primarily as a conversation with a skilled, trusted, and empathic professional who helps an individual (or a couple) to understand themselves better, decide what should and can be changed, and then how to go about making those changes. While the changes sometimes involve alterations in one’s behavior, they also can include changes in how one views oneself or the problem(s), and even how one can make peace with the things that cannot be changed.

While I sometimes do short-term work, more typically I will see people over a longer period of time (anywhere from 6 months to a few years), but not usually on a weekly basis. This is no doubt influenced by the fact that most of my clients are working to recover from profound losses in their life, and this is almost by definition a long term process. I see myself as a consultant and a resource to my clients in their unique journey of loss. I bring to the encounter my experience of having walked with many, many people on their life journey for a period of time, plus my knowledge of what the “territory” (particularly of traumatic loss) may look like. I strive for openness, trust, and collaboration in all of my work with clients, and for most people, I am able to be of help on that journey.

 

 

Download INFORMATION FOR MY CLIENTS