Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
For me, the point of therapy is for you to learn more about yourself, to remember life skills you may have forgotten and to develop new ones, to acquire the ability to accept what you can't change about life, the courage to change what you can, and the will to go about doing that. The result of pursuing these goals - and what I aim to help you reach - is the feeling that you are in control of the course of your life and that you are the one having the situations, problems and challenges that arise, rather than the one being 'had' by them.
The quote above, often attributed to psychiatrist and Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, really encapsulates my belief about the power of choice in our lives. For me, the most valuable aspect of psychotherapy is its ability to promote the individual person's freedom to choose. Here's a little bit about how I see us going about enhancing your sense of control over your life through the process of psychotherapy.
First, I will want to get to know a little bit about you and answer any questions you have about therapy. I'll want to know not only what's bothering you, but also what is going well for you, how you've solved problems and gotten through difficult situations in the past, and what kind of help you think would work best for you. Some people are thinkers, some are doers. Some are listeners, some are talkers. Some like to be active and others are more laid-back. The more I know about you and your personal style, the more helpful I can be.
We will also discuss your goals for therapy and how long or short you'd like the process to be. If you're coming through insurance, your coverage will determine how many sessions you're allowed. We'll figure our how to work within those limits and how to obtain an exception if we need to.
I practice mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, for the most part. In the course of therapy, I will ask a lot of questions and I will spend a lot of time listening to you. I will teach you how to mindfully step back from your thought process and become able to identify which of your thoughts are helpful and which are harmful, without the need to force yourself to think or to not think any certain way. You will learn how to gently steer your thoughts, feelings and actions in a direction which is useful to you rather than working against you. You will come to see that your life has meaning, develop a sense of purpose and become ready to move forward with curiosity and genuine interest in what will happen next.
When will therapy be finished? Well, essentially, when you say it is. By that time, you will be feeling more confident and will have developed a set of healthy skills that you can use to keep yourself feeling well and balanced. And - you can always come back for 'tune-ups' if you feel that would be in your best interest.