What is Therapy?
As you shop for support, below is a description that contains both a subjective and relatively objective working definition on my style of therapy.
It is important for you to know a few things about therapy in general. There are several ideas that are either outdated or just not correct. I also want to share with you my particular style of working with people. Every therapist is different in how they view the world--issues and how to resolve them--and uses similar and dissimilar approaches. Here, I share mine.
In past, therapy has had a stigma in the minds of some. For sure, the generation behind mine--I'm a Baby Boomer--not only didn't have the advanced system of therapy that we do today but wanted nothing to do with it even if offered. Therapy or counseling was understood as a place to fix what is 'broken' or a place to see a "shrink". Fortunately, today therapy is seen more as a place where once can explore and invest for a better future. And stigmas are dying out nicely.
So how do you go about finding someone to work with on the things that matter most? Therapy is a mysterious journey for several reasons, so I can tell having worked over 30 years in various caring community fields such as hospice, pastoral care, and counseling. First, we as people are not the best in diagnosing our problems. We hope for the best and, in doing so, minimize our issues. This is understandable, since we hope our concerns aren't deep enough to threaten our future. The need for a more objective eye is needed.
Second and related to the first, we try to come up with a workable idea. For example, couples often talk about having communication issues. Often, it turns out to be more. Nevertheless, 'identifying' a problem that isn't too big gives us hope. (This is one reason self-help books sell). It is a matter of time, though, when couples recognize that communication is a sign of something else.
Third, therapy has a way of inviting those secret places of our psyche to come out. The unconscious is a slippery cave. This is a major area I focus on in my work as therapist. The unconscious isn't a bad place, but it does contain the forces, some very strong, that govern our lives. Think of someone who leaves a bad relationship and swears never to go there again, only to find a 'lover' that's "just like him." Or, think of people who work hard to attain something of value only to eventually sabotage everything they've worked for.
I work within a relational context, which means I cultivate our relationship over time. With time, the best foot forward mentality dissolves, transferences arise, projections swell, and unhealthy patterns surface. These and other aspects of the psyche are often a part of the issue(s), but hardly enter our minds when trying to figure out what is blocking us. Through time, though, we get to see this more comprehensive approach.
This is a powerful method if you have or work with relationships, wish to invest in developing healthy habits while relating to the rest of your world, and are looking to manage mental diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. It is less about discovering a how-to method to address some issues, some of which you can do on your own, and more to do with finding that deeper exploration, which, in turn, eventually leads to centered living, intentional balance, and a confidence to face the rest of your story.
Many times there is a sigh of relief. Lasting change is a mighty reward. Sometimes the change involves conquering issues that once haunted you; other times it's about mastering a method to manage symptoms or issues that won't really leave us--and to no fault of your own.
One last thing, therapy is a business. I have been in caring professions a long time where the sound of money confuses a hurting soul. But like a physician, dentist, or specialist, a counselor has fees. I have simple, compatible fees--no surprise fees, though--and I uphold a cancellation policy. And I don't take insurance, simply because I feel it carries greater confidentiality. In short, as my mentor of some 16-years use to say, "You pay me for my time; you do not pay me to care."
The human experience is complex, but the support of a trained Professional with experience has its advantages. I hope this sheds some light into your search. Please feel free to turn the pages. And like always, I do wish you well.