Whats therapy like?
I practice within the framework of relational psychotherapy and existential psychology. The central idea of relational psychotherapy is that the patterns of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, whether healthy or unhealthy, are directly related to the patterns of our interpersonal 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 we find opportunity to make more connection.
I am not the expert of who you are. I may have been educated in counseling, but that only means that I have a framework and a few ideas about what may be going on. This may seem strange at first, since our current culture demands certainty and a “fix” by going to see the expert. But this work is about collaboration. Therapist and client are 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. It is a process of (re)connection, and it can be a slow process, but bit by bit we are setting 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 ourselves. It’s about taking in and making sense of the material of life, and to do this we need courage, humility, and the wisdom that comes from experience. One of my favorite authors and theorists, Bion, asserts 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 us to tolerate. This is a business of learning to tolerate and even befriend the unknown.
This view of therapy does not closely align itself with a medical model. I tend to lean away from “categories” and “diagnoses,” because though they may be important in some cases, such as insurance billing, 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. I want to try to understand you, not a textbook diagnosis for what may be only a small part of who you are
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’ we bring into the work of therapy are rooted in our early-life nurturing relationships and sustained within current problematic ones. We are in constant interaction with these stories.
What matters most is the process of making meaning out of the material of our life as we go about our relationship together. 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 cultural construct. 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.