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What's therapy like?

I practice within the framework of relational psychotherapy and existential + relational - analytic lens. The central idea of relational psychotherapy is that the patterns of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, whether healthy or unhealthy, are directly related to the patterns of your relationships. Through persistent and constant empathy, I will share your experiences, wrestle with and metabolize them alongside you and help you process them in a new way.

The cliched question, “How does that make you feel?” really is one of the greatest questions within this work. Feelings have rich and valuable data wrapped within them to take us to a new place. It is within feelings that you find opportunity to make more connection.

I am not the expert of who you are. This may seem strange at first, since our current culture demands certainty and a “fix” by going to see the expert. Genuine therapy, however, is about collaboration: the therapist and client together creating a new way for you to relate to others.

I’m here to help you understand yourself as we show up with one another.

In time, the goal is that you would be able to accept your story, your emotions, even the painful ones, and the self you have become. Therapy is a process of (re)connection, and it can be a slow process, but bit by bit you will set in stone new habits or ways of relating to yourself and others that are sustainable and long-term. It takes only a moment to be hurt, and it can take months or years to heal.

This work is not about getting rid of parts of yourself. It’s about taking in and making sense of the material of life, and to do this you need courage, humility, and the wisdom that comes from experience. One of my favorite authors and theorists, Wilfred Bion, claimed that the majority of our theories are false constructs that aim to calm the anxiety of not knowing, because not knowing is so difficult for to tolerate. This is a business of learning to tolerate and even befriend the unknown.

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Get in touch

To schedule and appointment or for a free consultation with Caleb Dodson, call today or fill out the contact form.

Diagnosis

Existential therapy is profoundly different from the medical model. I tend to lean away from “categories” and “diagnoses.” In some cases like insurance billing and invoicing they are a necessity. This work is not driven by labels, criteria, and treatment plans. Placing a diagnosis on someone puts them into a box, limiting the opportunity to see them for their uniqueness and significance. It limits your possibilities in life. Though we may begin working through your anxiousness at work, with friends, or significant other, where we are going is far beyond you being able to get through the day. I want to try to understand you, not a textbook diagnosis for what may be only a small part of who you are.

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“Problems”

I believe that we are all products of our past, and that we continue to live it out in the here-and-now, which is the culmination of our past, present and future. Who we are now is influenced by the past and has a tremendous amount of influence on our present and where we are headed in the future.

The ‘problems’ you bring into the work of therapy are rooted in your early-life nurturing relationships and sustained within current problematic ones. We are all in constant interaction with these stories.

What matters most is the process of making meaning out of the material of your life. I believe that we all carry with us an existential pain, which shows itself in many ways, depending on our life experiences. For that reason I think some things are to be lived with – in tension. I don’t believe that we ever 'arrive' in life or reach a place of perpetual youth and happiness. This is a delusion that distracts us from the true task of living. Life is a journey and a process of continual growth where we are constantly becoming more and more at home within ourselves, despite the hardships.

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