A healthy collaboration between therapist and patient can make the difference between feeling directed and creating your own path. This can be a difficult journey, but any journey is best taken in the company of someone who has your best interests in mind.
I offer a unique opportunity for challenge and empowerment, a way of working together that goes beyond a clinical format and into a relational experience that can be far reaching and transformational.
I have worked with individuals, couples of all kinds, and families, all with the same intention: clarity of self and clarity of understanding, which allows everyone to truly know what they want from themselves and, with couples, families and groups, what they want from each other.
You can have a forum that will allow you to share the most intimate parts of yourself. It is not unusual to find out that those parts are not as scary or shameful as you imagined. Looking for and accepting help is a courageous act, a good start to feeling better.
Being in psychotherapy can seem like a mystery. You may have had any number of impressions from friends or family who have had a variety of experiences with treatment or no experience at all. This may or may not be useful.
Basically, when we get together, we may have spoken already and be prepared to start into the work. You should always feel free to ask questions at any time. You should also feel free to talk to more than one psychotherapist in order to find the best fit for you.
Be prepared to commit at least one day a week, initially, to getting together. Sessions are usually 45-50 minutes long. The impact of our work together depends on your readiness to talk about what worries you as openly and honestly as you can. You tell me what is on your mind and I respond with questions or reflections designed to guide our conversation toward a new, expanded awareness for you to consider. This may or may not be comfortable for you, but its intention is to help you create a healthier, more positive way of being in the world. There is no fixed time limit for us to work together, but longer engagement can help to make the work more complete.
Grief and bereavement can take many forms. Most of us are familiar, sadly, with losing someone special to us, but sometimes there are forces at work that can leave you asking questions about how you are reacting to a loss. Losing someone in your life with whom you had a complicated or difficult relationship can be more frustrating than losing someone with whom you had a special bond. Some people, like friends, sometimes find that there are others who do not understand how meaningful a friendship was to them. Losing a parent early in life can set up a different reaction than losing a parent in the “normal” way, when there is a natural end.
Grief is not limited to dealing with the physical death of another person. There can be divorce, estrangement, or displacement. Losing your mobility, sight or hearing is reason to grieve, or losing your job.
In the end, it can be helpful to look at these experiences through the lens of eventual reconciliation with yourself and the grief. Having lost several people in my own life, including a wife, and working in hospice care, positions me well with regard to helping you work through a difficult time.
There are too many women who have had to deal with some form of sexual trauma in their lives, and many are having the courage to talk about it.
It is understandable that the first therapist of choice for women who are starting to open up about this experience be another woman, especially someone who might have firsthand knowledge of her own of such injury.
At some point, however, it might be useful to talk to a male therapist who can offer the opportunity to do what I have referred to as “gender repair”, to develop a relationship with a man who is familiar with the boundaries needed for a woman to more fully recover from emotional and physical injury, as well as the anger and sense of betrayal that can be the inevitable result of such a violation. In no way do I insist that this has to be part of a woman’s recovery; I would never see someone that felt mandated to see me, but it could be an effective option for a woman who wants to work through feelings specifically related to men.
More and more, I am aware of how context is so important with regard to working with and truly caring about my clients. As a result, I am striving to bring more of my client’s world into the room. I like to work with couples and am finding it even more helpful to bring in other family members, if not the whole crew, or anyone else who is important to the client.
This orientation is my way of speaking to a recent understanding of liberation based healing, which is a concept and orientation that is decades old. It conforms with my attitude towards disorders, since it can be a client’s environment that is toxic, not necessarily the client. Many times I have seen the “light” go on in a client’s eyes when they understand that they are dealing in an old way with a problem, but that they need something from the people around them to find the way out. Many families have a familiar dance that they haven’t considered closely with an eye towards reconsideration and reconciliation; such work can help all of them lead more loving lives.
It is an aspect of many communities of faith to have couples see an elder (Minister, Priest, Rabbi, Imam) to get counseling as to their readiness for marriage. This can be helpful, but there are some issues that don’t get addressed in these conversations, including whether you have the same aspirations for the commitment and whether issues such as in-laws, money and yes, even sex, have been considered openly and forthrightly.
Seeing a counselor can be an opportunity to have difficult or clarifying conversations before the question that isn’t asked becomes a problem later on. In my work with couples, I have heard many times about how a couple wished that they had looked at these things before following through with the decision to proceed.