“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
~Mary Tyler Moore
MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY
As a licensed and trained mental health counselor, I help you identify and work through factors that may be causing you mental or emotional distress. Therapy can help you understand your emotions, behaviors, and the thoughts that contribute to the difficulty you are experiencing. You can regain a feeling of control and pleasure in life. In addition, you will also learn coping techniques and problem solving skills while attaining a deeper understanding of your emotions.
Therapy works best when you attend all of your scheduled appointments. I ask that you prepare to meet with me on a regular basis for at least six times for six weeks in a row, after which we will evaluate how often you should continue to come in. It is preferable for new clients to come weekly, however, I realize there are many situations that can affect one’s ability to come every week. Successful therapy does require your active involvement, including time, effort, and regular attendance.
During the first appointment, we will discuss your reasons for seeking therapy, explore some of your history, and identify any specific goals you have in mind. I typically spend a few minutes explaining my approach and can answer any questions you might have about how therapy can work for you. Mental health therapy is a treatment that addresses your specific cause of mental or emotional distress. Counseling is not a “quick fix.” Although therapy takes longer to work than medication, there is evidence to suggest that its effects last longer.
PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES I USE
Three psychological theories I typically use during individual counseling sessions are emotion focused, mindfulness, and cognitive theories. However, I believe that an integrative approach to counseling works best. I typically borrow ideas and methods from other theories that are appropriate to a client’s situation.
Emotion Focused Therapy
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed to help individuals resolve unpleasant emotions by working with those emotions instead of suppressing them and is based on the belief that unpleasant emotions are sources of useful information. EFT focuses on the constructive aspects of specific emotions, primarily in the present rather than the past. EFT hones in on how problems happen and not just why they occur while emphasizing the importance of past interpersonal relationships as well as the self.
Mindfulness Based Approaches are designed to deliberately focus one’s attention on the present experience in a way that is non-judgmental. The practice requires that one intentionally directs focus away from states of mind that would otherwise occupy them, such as frightening or worrisome thoughts, and instead observe and accept the present situation and all it has to offer, regardless of whether that is good or bad. This practice helps to create a healthy distance between these thoughts and your core self. The ego – or our inner dialogue – is at times a masterful puppeteer, pulling us in directions not of our own choosing. Practicing techniques from mindfulness therapy will help you to cut the strings of the puppeteer, thereby giving you deliberate control over your reality.
Cognitive therapy is focused on a client’s thoughts and beliefs. If you can develop mastery and control over your thoughts, then you can learn to deliberately choose the feelings and thoughts you would like to experience. Cognitive theory states that emotions always follow thoughts; it is never the other way around. Your emotions are strong indicators of whether your thoughts are healthy or unhealthy. If a good feeling follows a thought, then you are right on course. If you feel a negative emotion such as anger, frustration, grief, or depression, then you need to reach for a different thought that creates a feeling of relief. Cognitive therapy is very deliberate and scientific, and usually works best with clients who are not consumed with negative emotions.