Persons may choose to enter into psychotherapy for a number of reasons, including being in a state of personal crisis; moving through a significant life transition such as divorce or remarriage or dealing with the loss of a significant person or part of one’s life; or electing to undertake a process of self-exploration for the purposes of greater life satisfaction and personal growth.
My Approach to Individual Psychotherapy
I believe each of us carries unfinished business from our family of origin; each of us has experienced life losses and disappointments which we grieve; many have suffered emotional or physical or spiritual or sexual neglect or abuse in childhood, and carry wounding from those experiences.
I view “symptoms” – whether depression, anxiety, grief, behavior difficulties, or sexual dysfunction – in a biopsychosocial context. In other words, since we have physical bodies, there is a biological substrate for whatever is going on; our bodies are each strong or susceptible in unique ways. Our emotions and thoughts are affected by the presence of chronic pain, or a disabling injury. The relative amounts of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and other brain chemicals affect our mood, our buoyancy, and our ability to be resilient.
Each person contributes his or her own unique mental and emotional twist on experience, interpreting events and understanding them in particular ways. Two people standing side by side will experience the same event differently, in terms of the meaning it has for their lives.
We also exist within a social context: thus our behavior is to some degree predicated upon the reality of the social world. We are profoundly affected by our families, children, spouses, friends – or the lack of them. We are affected by local and national events, touched by songs on the radio, impacted by what we see on TV or at the movies.
The Process of Individual Psychotherapy
In my work as a psychotherapist, I am interested in how you experience yourself in the world. Being pragmatic and solution-focused does not mean that we will take a long rambling detour through your childhood; at the same time, I keep the awareness that you had a childhood, and a family, and life events that have brought you into the present moment.
I will listen to you attentively and work to understand the meaning of your pain or yearning. I have no magic answers, but I do have the belief and the experience that the therapeutic partnership provides a safe place for exploration, expression, healing, and new hope. I am interactive, sharing what I observe and what I think, because I want to enable you to be a full partner in the therapeutic process.
Our work is confidential, and within the confines of the therapeutic hour it is possible to talk about anything. I am a good listener, and I know the power of telling and hearing the narrative of our lives. My first duty is to create a safe environment in which psychotherapy may occur. This means that it is confidential; that your needs and concerns are the focus of our time; that my response to you shall be kind and compassionate, working to aid you in moving through a place of pain or confusion.