My Beliefs About Therapy
I believe in the power of therapy and the therapeutic relationship to help meaningful growth and change occur. Providing counseling to adolescents and adults since 1996, it has been my immense honor to watch and learn from individuals, couples, and groups as they find ways to move from hopelessness and pain to finding their potential and seeing the possibilities. These experiences have led me to realize 5 core beliefs about therapy and the core elements that lead to therapy success.
(1) The therapy environment helps to facilitate success.
Therapy provides clients an environment that is truly unique. Having a space that is safe, supportive, confidential, non-judgmental, protected from outside distractions, and focused on your growth and development creates a context that optimizes change. Some say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I disagree. Over time, the therapy environment helps to cultivate clarity of goals, directions towards change, client motivation, and ways to see the benefits of change in your life.
(2) Therapy success is founded on relationship fit.
Change in therapy is largely based on the counseling relationship. Therefore, it is my job to work with you to build a strong counseling relationship. First, it is my job to work with you to construct the therapeutic environment in ways that assure your safety. Second, it is my job to earn your trust such that you can share and take risks in therapy when you are ready. Third, it is my job to utilize my training and experience to offer you more than you can get from family, friends, the internet, and the psychology section at the local bookstore. Fourth, it is my job to offer you questions, support, challenge, and feedback that will help you make the progress you are looking for. Fifth, it is my job to offer direction to guide you towards meeting your therapy goals. This is how I build the type of counseling relationship that helps change occur. Lastly, it is my job to ensure that if we are unable to build an ideal counseling relationship, I provide referrals for other counselors who are better suited to help you reach your goals.
(3) Therapy success is based on a collaborative process.
Collaborative success comes from both of us bringing important expertise into therapy. In my approach to therapy, I see you as being the expert of the content of therapy. When it comes to the topics and areas to explore in therapy, you are in charge. You have lived the experience, dealt with the pain, and ultimately made the bold choice to attend therapy. It is my job to learn from your experiences and the ways these experiences have impacted your life. I see myself as being the expert of the process of therapy. In this role, I will draw from my professional training and expertise to provide questions, support, challenge, and feedback designed to help you gain insight, identify psychological patterns and themes, and build directions towards meeting your therapy goals. This collaborative process is essential to therapy success.
(4) Therapy success is measurable.
Many people struggle with how therapy (going to talk with a stranger) leads to success. This is a valid question. Typically, therapy sessions focus on the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Initial progress can be seen as clients become aware of their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. As therapy progresses, clients start to see the function of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Clarifying positive functioning and negative functioning in each area is indicative of measurable success. Developing new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and practicing these in therapy demonstrate the next level of therapy progress. Finally, the application of the functional thoughts, feelings and behaviors and the absence of the dysfunctional ones represent the ultimate progress. Once these new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are well established, it is typically time for therapy to end.
(5) Therapy success comes from you no longer needing therapy.
It is not my hope that you be in counseling indefinitely. My hope is that successful counseling will happen such that your need for therapy will decrease to the point you no longer need therapy. Working myself out of a job is how I measure success. In most cases, successful therapy leads to counseling sessions moving from weekly to biweekly to monthly and finally termination. While it is not my intent to rush the therapy process, my goal is to help you help yourself and ultimately build the skills and abilities to be your own therapist in the future.