How we do Therapy
When we ask clients what they’re hoping to get out of therapy, the most common answer is that they’re looking for solutions and strategies to move forward. This is why we like to use a Solution-Focused approach. By focusing on strengths and incremental change, we help clients move from feeling stuck to working towards their goals. This approach is particularly helpful with couples and families, as it allows us to generate useful compromises.
Often times, the emotions we show on the surface (e.g., anger, withdrawal), are not telling the whole story. That’s why, by using an Emotion-Focused approach, we help clients understand their own deeper underlying emotions (e.g., sadness, abandonment), which in turn often reveals an unmet need. This approach is particularly helpful with couples and families, because when your loved one understands what you’re really feeling deep down, and what you actually need, tremendous change can happen in the relationship.
Everyone has a story. We tend to understand our current situation as having been influenced by what happened in the past. And so, we think of our lives as a story. It can be really powerful to think of these Narratives we create, by acknowledging that oftentimes, there were many external factors that led us to where we are today. Further, in therapy we can explore new narratives that might change the way we understand our current situation, which may in turn improve how we feel and what we do from here. This can be particularly helpful with couples and families, as this approach shifts our thinking away from seeing a person as the problem. Rather, the problem is the problem, and we can work on the problem together.
Sometimes, the most powerful thing we can do in session is to make sense of this seemingly chaotic and difficult world in which we live. Many clients are looking for answers. Sometimes clients want to understand themselves better, and at other times want help processing what has happened in their lives. By taking a collaborative approach to our work together, we work with clients to make sense of the past and present, which ultimately can benefit our future.
Focus on Strengths
Many traditional forms of therapy follow the medical model, where the clinician’s goal is to figure out what is wrong with the patient (i.e., diagnose), then prescribe a treatment to treat that deficit. At our practice, we prefer instead to take a different approach. First, we prefer to see you as more than just your problems. You are a unique individual with many layers. Secondly, by taking a strength-based approach, we move away from focusing only on the negatives. Instead of “bringing you back to normal”, we believe that by exploring and enhancing your strengths, values, and resiliency, you are more likely to not only heal, but grow to become your better self.
Most of us can admit that we have been hurt in some way or another. While the degree and magnitude of trauma can vary greatly, the common element is that past trauma can greatly impact how we think, feel, and behave today. By using a trauma-informed framework, we are able to meet clients where they are. We understand that pain is not pathology. Some clients want me to acknowledge and understand the trauma while we work on other therapeutic goals, while other clients want their trauma to be the focus of therapy—and sometimes this decision changes over the course of our work. This is particularly helpful when working with couples and families, as often “problematic” dynamics can be better understood as partly originating from a trauma response.
When interacting with clients in session, we may often visualize the concepts we’re discussing in the form of diagrams. By taking the content of our dialogue and representing it visually on a whiteboard, it often leads to greater clarity, less anxiety, and the solutions seem to come easier. Creating visuals with the use of things like whiteboards can also be a helpful tool for clients to express their own ideas, as well as for in-session activities. We also like to make use of analogies to help bring clarity to ideas, especially when it’s harder to use a whiteboard (e.g., in phone or video sessions).
Even if we see each other for a one hour session every single week, that’s only one hour out of 168. That’s less than .6% of your week! The remaining 99.4% is spent outside of therapy. For change to happen through therapy, we believe that the work must continue outside of our sessions. This is why we will often assign homework assignments that will encourage you to continue reflecting throughout the week, and practice some of the things we worked on.
Get Started Now!
To book an individual session with us, or if you have any questions about individual therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation that can be scheduled through our online booking system, or you can also book a session online.