What is therapy like?
Therapy is definitely a unique experience and I’m a firm believer that everyone should go at some point. This isn’t saying that we are all messed up people who need help as we used to think. It is just such an opportunity to grow as a person and none of us are every really done doing that. In therapy, you can to talk to another human about all those thoughts that swirl around in your head and build an authentic, nonjudgmental relationship with someone. You are likely to learn some new skills that will benefit you and you might even, dare I say, enjoy coming.
I see a therapist, and no that’s not weird or undermines my ability to help you. Honestly, if I could, I’d go to my therapist multiple times per week. I feel like I just let out a big sigh after going there and talking about things in my life I’m currently struggling with. The biggest benefit for me is being able to feel my feelings in a safe place. This is something that comes up a lot with clients…they feel like they always have to stay strong. There are a lot of horrible things that happen in the world whether on purpose or by accident and it’s not abnormal to need to process those things. How weird would it be to hear someone tell you this traumatic thing that happened to them and they have absolutely no emotion on their face? Another benefit is having someone give you feedback. You aren’t always going to be aware of things going on under the surface for you because many things have shaped how you perceive the world. There are times when those things are “driving the bus” and it’s helpful to have a person with their own views ask us “hey, what’s up with that?” It’s hard to acknowledge that I’m not always right, I have certain privileges even though I’ve struggled, and that I don’t know everything but accepting that has helped me grow.
When you meet with a therapist, it is important to remember that you have to find the right fit. Some people may read this and think I’m too casual or feel weird seeing a therapist that sees her own therapist, but that’s okay because there is someone else out there that more fits your style and I can’t see everyone. I feel discouraged when I hear of people who have had a bad experience with a therapist and automatically assume therapy doesn’t work or “it’s not for them.” Yes, there are bad therapists out there and ones that are just plain human and made a mistake but by not moving on and trying a few different ones, you only cheat yourself out of getting what you wanted or could have got out of it. Feel free to ask him or her questions and see if you “vibe” together. That could be through having a similar personality type, their style of therapy, that they challenge you or whatever you find valuable. There are many different types of therapists (the really empathetic one, the spiritual one, the “tells it like it is” one, and the list goes on) and you are unlikely to get the most benefit if you don’t click with your therapist. I’ve spent many years working my way up (tempted to say wasting but remind myself that I always get something – most of therapy is about the relationship with the therapist) to the type of therapist I needed. I’ve had ones that allowed me to use the whole time discussing my week and others that referred me to a podcast or a book for each topic I mentioned. My need was someone to hold me accountable and put my defenses down. Once I had that in mind, it was easier to find a person that fit that skill set.
Now to tell you what it’s like to work with me. If you haven’t noticed, I like to find a balance between being professional and casual. I have years of extensive training and thousands of hours of experience but don’t need to look like it.. trust me it isn’t pretty. Plus, I like surprising people and throwing out the joke that “maybe I do know what I’m talking about.” I also find value in making things easy to understand. I remember studying for the SATs and GRE years ago and thinking that if I used any of those words, no one would know what I’m talking about and they would probably hate me. The whole point of communication is to send and receive information. If you didn’t understand what I said, then you didn’t benefit from my services and I failed. I do have a couch and I’ve rarely had anyone lay on it but if that feels right to you then go for it! I don’t expect you to know exactly what to talk about all the time but I can help you ask the right questions and provide you with some psychoeducation as necessary. All you have to know is that there is either something about yourself or your life that you are curious about or are unhappy with, let me do the rest.
I mainly work with individuals and couples/people in some form of a relationship dealing with relational distress (emotional, sexual, etc). I truly care about my clients and feel similar to a close friend that you just don’t hang out with. When working with a couple, it can be hard to validate both partners at the same time but I do my best. I will validate you but also challenge you to help you get to your goal. Some sessions may have more structure than others but that doesn’t make them more valuable. Many of the best sessions were when a person “didn’t know what to talk about” or a couple “didn’t have a fight this week.” Some of the time you may not understand the things I ask or do but please feel free to ask questions as it may increase your feeling of having a successful session. Working with these populations is something I am passionate about and you can often tell by my optimism and excitement to help you and your relationships get to a place you’d like them to be. Although you may feel hopeless or lost, I promise I’m not insane and I’m smiling because I know that I can bring at least some relief. The time, the money, and you are worth it. If you are questioning or ready to begin therapy, schedule an appointment or call for a free 15 minute consultation.