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. Three of these therapeutic orientations are listed below. In addition to these, I often recommend mindfulness meditation practice, as research increasingly demonstrates its ability to reduce psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as its effectiveness in increasing life happiness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes the importance of identifying and changing automatic negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to current problems. This approach tends to be more directive and structured in nature, with the therapist taking an active, collaborative role and sometimes providing homework assignments and suggested readings. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been demonstrated by research to be highly effective for a number of psychological problems.
Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes which can influence a person's present behavior, including emotions and behaviors that cause difficulty and repeat themselves in important relationships. The goals of psychodynamic therapy include a client’s growing self-awareness of these patterns.
I also take a Humanistic approach to therapy. This means that I hold a hopeful, constructive view of human beings and believe in the individual’s substantial capacity to be self-determining. Humanistic therapists believe that people have natural motivational tendencies toward growth, health, and fulfillment and tend to focus more on what clients are experiencing in the present.
Perhaps most importantly, my approach to therapy is very collaborative. A major goal is 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 meaningful and positive life changes.