Marriage Counselor
psychotherapy and counseling

Approach to Therapy

Therapy

I view the therapeutic relationship as a partnership in which we journey together to bring about the change you want in your life.  The trusted therapeutic relationship we create provides a "safe, protected space", the container in which vulnerable issues and intense emotions can be accessed and processed.

My approach to therapy is personalized to each client, integrating multiple complimentary methodologies and techniques.   The central theme is my belief in each client and their ability to change, building upon their strengths, and helping them identify and achieve the goals that are important to them.

I strive to create a healing environment, a place where you can learn about negative behavioral patterns that have kept you stuck, and a place to practice new ways of thinking and behaving.

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Therapeutic Approaches and Methods

Depending on your specific needs and concerns,  I will draw on various psychological approaches based on which method or combination of methods will benefit you the most.  Some people are looking for short term, solution focused therapy,   psycho-educational,  or skill building approaches.  These types of counseling focus on resolving a specific problem,  such as decreasing the arguing with a loved one,  or improving communication skills. Short term therapy typically lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 sessions.

Some people are interested in more in-depth, long term counseling.  For example, learning to cope with a serious psychiatric disorder,  addiction recovery, or recovering from abuse or neglect would require more long term psychotherapy.  Long term therapy works best having a frequency of at least one time per week.

The therapy methods I frequently draw upon are:

What do all these terms mean?

To get a brief explanation, move your mouse over a term. Or, you can also click here for more detailed explanations.
  • Interactive Therapy
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy

In addition, I use the following therapy methods:

  • Guided Visualization
  • Expressive Arts
  • Sandtray
  • Dreamwork

Goals of Therapy

The general goal of psychotherapy is to foster increased awareness and insight into the hidden and not so hidden parts of ourselves.    As we become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, actions, perceptions, and experiences, we tend to have greater acceptance, choice, and freedom in life, which contributes to a strong sense of well-being. Personal goals for your therapy can cover a very wide range of possibilities, including:

  • Greater sense of well-being and/or inner peace – feel more comfortable or secure in the world
  • Improved intimacy in relationships  - feel more connected with others
  • Acknowledging and working through losses
  • Navigating difficult life transitions
  • Achieving work/life balance
  • Creating healthy boundaries
  • Improved self-esteem – feel better about yourself
  • Assertive communication skills
  • Prevention of relapse/stabilization/maintenance
  • Reduction in self-destructive behavior
  • Self-examination - understand your own thoughts, feelings, and responses better
  • Behavior change - learn new behaviors and/or responses which can help you to achieve your goals
  • Crisis management/stabilization
  • Development of coping strategies
  • Reduce stress (which promotes physical health too)

Therapy is not advice giving or teaching, nor is it preaching.  You can easily get advice from well-meaning friends, family, acquaintances and even from strangers and the media.  You don't need one more person telling you what to do or giving you a prescription for life.  Rather, the goal of therapy is to rediscover your own voice to help guide you in the directions you truly desire to go, and to cultivate trusting your own self more fully in order to make your own decisions.

Therapy is a Process

Therapy is a process that helps us toward greater health and more peace.  Process is defined as "a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result" — an excellent description of therapy.

Because we are social by nature, it is “natural” that we recover from stress and trauma better if we work through it with another person than if we isolate ourselves in hurt.  Sometimes that process can be a simple reframe, but more often change is gradual.  While we set out goals at the start of therapy to help us work together toward a “particular result”, those goals can change in the course of the gradual process of change.  Hopefully we at least produce relief of symptoms, but often we uncover more of you, and more meaning in your life than you had thought possible.

Dreamwork is the systematic inquiry into or use of dreams with the purpose of healing or self-development.
Sandtray Therapy is a dynamic and expressive form of psychotherapy that allows clients to express themselves and their feelings through symbols and metaphors.
Expressive Arts is a technique that can create a strong and safe healing container that supports clients to open fully to their own creative process.
Guided Visualization is a technique designed to have clients recall or construct specific incidents, visualize particular places, or explore emotional responses.
Narrative therapy seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counseling that considers people the expert in their own lives. It views problems as something people experience rather than something they are and assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.
Family systems therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health, and that any family member who seeks help will aid the entire family.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious processes that are embodied in a person’s present behavior. The goals of therapy self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behavior. This approach enables individuals to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms from past dysfunctional relationships and come out in a variety of ways including eating disorders and the need and desire to abuse substances.
Cognitive therapy assumes that faulty thought patterns, belief systems, and biases influence emotions and their intensity, and can cause maladaptive behavior. The treatment focuses on changing thought patterns and reactions in order to solve psychological and personality problems.
Behavioral therapy focuses on changing undesirable behaviors. It involves identifying objectionable, maladaptive behaviors and replacing them with healthier types of behavior. Behavioral therapy is the opposite of cognitive therapy.
Interactive therapy is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy as well as a direct interaction between client and therapist focusing on the positive aspects of the individual rather than the why's.
This photo was taken in the Spring when the falls were gushing, and the water was high in the meadow. I liked the reflection of the falls and granite cliff in the river and how peaceful, yet full of life this spot was. Mirroring is a common approach used in Psychotherapy.