The Psychotherapy Approach and Process
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE COME TO A JOINT UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE PROBLEMS WE CAN WORK ON IN THERAPY
"I’m overwhelmed by repeated and upsetting experiences."
Therapy begins with an evaluation of your needs. From this initial evaluation, I will be able to offer some impressions of what our work together would include. That said, it is important that we come to a joint understanding about the problems we can work on in therapy.
Therapy can be seen as an active and collaborative process in which you feel safe and secure enough in the relationship to share and participate in the work required for your personal growth and change. Throughout therapy, we work to clarify the problems impacting you, how they started, what are maintaining them, and how you can change them. As part of this process, you may learn about how anxiety is experienced and the ways in which you have learned to adapt and cope with it. Perhaps you will discover that some of these ways are no longer helpful and in fact might be perpetuating your problems. Therapy can provide you with the support and resources for developing alternative ways of doing and being.
Some therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), focus on difficulties at a more conscious here-and-now level and you may find this is sufficient for you. For other clients, you may want to explore the origin of your problems at a greater level of depth and understanding. In psychodynamic therapies, past experiences and relationship patterns too painful to experience on a conscious level are believed to lead to an internal struggle from which unhelpful coping patterns develop, repeat, and manifest in various emotional problems. If you find yourself overwhelmed by repeated painful experiences or you feel "stuck" in your ability to overcome challenging obstacles, you may benefit from this greater level in-depth work. This type of work allows you to increase your level of self-awareness and attain the personal growth you are striving for. In such cases, and when appropriate for the client, I am guided by a modern approach known as Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). Through ISTDP, clients are encouraged to face the avoided feelings that trigger unconscious anxiety that result in reliance on maladaptive expressions of emotion and cause their presenting problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, panic). Together, client and therapist engage in the intense process of allying with the healthy part of the individual in the pursuit of a more authentic life experience, instead of a life dominated by the debilitating experience fear, avoidance, and psychological problems.
"I’m ready to feel better"
To better ensure we are working well together, and that you are benefiting from all of your efforts, I consider the evaluation of your progress and therapy outcomes as we go important. Although change cannot be guaranteed; change may occur in ways you expect and in ways that surprise you. We can use specific outcome measures to better evaluate this change as it occurs.