Clients are often nervous about what to expect from therapy, particularly if they have never met a psychologist or have been in therapy before. At the initial session, a main goal is to get to know each other a bit. I will ask questions about your concerns and about what you hope to gain from therapy. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions of me. I welcome these questions and will do my best to answer them, including those about my education, experience, or background.
Clients often ask about the type of therapy I offer. As a generalist, I draw from several therapeutic orientations and combine approaches according to the individual needs and desires of the Client. Commonly, I draw from principles of psychodynamic (insight-oriented), client-centered, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Psychodynamic therapy focuses on increasing awareness of unconscious processes which can influence a person's present behavior. Client-centered therapy focuses on creating an atmosphere in which clients can communicate their feelings with certainty that they are being heard and not judged. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a more directive approach that emphasizes identifying and changing automatic negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to current problems. In addition, I frequently encourage clients to seek out instruction and practice in mindfulness meditation, as research increasingly demonstrates its ability to reduce psychological symptoms and increase life satisfaction.
Perhaps most importantly, my approach is very collaborative. I feel it is extremely important to develop a strong therapeutic alliance, for research has demonstrated time and time again that it is the relationship between the client and therapist that is of primary importance in facilitating positive meaningful change.