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My wish for you is to feel that life is improving as soon as possible, and to gain understanding that prevents problems from repeating in the future. I say that "You are already successful" because, in my mind, I am 100% positive that you will improve your life. It is already set to happen. When you come in to see me, we know this. It is just a matter of persistence and time. Part of my job is to keep the flame of positive expectation burning until you can more clearly see it, and feel it.
I have created this web site to introduce myself, and also to provide some information that I hope you will find interesting. This site is essentially an online brochure with added food for thought. I hope that you enjoy the musings. Contact me with questions, or call my office to set an appointment. A few hours together can be surprisingly helpful. There is even a good chance that you'll wonder why you waited so long to seek help.
For those who are considering therapy but are hesitant, remember: Teaming up with a trained, neutral person really adds solution-finding power. Forget the mental illness stigma. A good many of the "normal" people you are in contact with every day have gone to a therapist at some point. We're not talking mental illness. We're talking about solving normal, understandable problems. (And if you do have chronic depression, we can solve that too.
) Problems - including depressed mood, low self-esteem, worry or relationship issues - CAN be solved. We all have times when we are overloaded, and we realize that we haven't been able to create solutions on our own. That's part of being human. Note: I haven't provided counseling to any non-humans, but if I could meet a real alien who wanted help, I'd love to give it a try. Therapy FAQs - (what many people don't ask, but should. ): Why do you do this kind or work?
It is fulfilling. But, in addition there is something in me that feels that one's work should have some kind of value to society. I imagine that most health care professionals feel this way. Is it hard to be around so many problems? Actually, No! In the therapy session, people are being themselves; Real.
Being around people who are real, and not phony, is much easier. Emotions are normal. Humans are primarily emotional animals with brains, not brains that happen to have emotions. So therapists learn to accept problems as normal. We meet in a very real and honest place to team up and to create self-understanding, self-acceptance and solutions. Do you think some clients are crazy?
People often say something like, "You're going to think that this is crazy, but . . ". I always say that, first of all, I've heard so much by now that I am unlikely to be surprised (and actually I like surprises). Also, things don't seem crazy once you understand the reasons. Then they tend to seem logical.
They make sense. Why does therapy help? Some times "two heads are better than one". Get rid of the word "should". There is no rule that we "should" be able to solve everything ourselves. Everyone also has an emotional stress limit that stops our ability to think clearly.
Stress tends to cause creativity to stop, and we find ourselves doing the same things over and over that don't work. But here's an even better answer: Human beings are social creatures. In fact, if we are socially isolated, or around people who who are frequently negative or judgemental, over time we can become emotionally stressed. As infants and children, we need to feel acknowledged and accepted for who we truly are. If we don't feel safe and cared for, loved, accepted or connected to others, we will be emotionally impaired. So therapy works because of this simple human need for affirmation and connection.
Our friends and family can be a source of emotional support, but they cannot be our therapists. Most people will give advice that is meant to be reassurance or solutions. But we don't feel fully heard and accepted because those who are close to us tend to be telling us what they would do if they were us. And they are not neutral, perhaps because they feel bad when you feel bad. Some may even blame you for your problems, or somehow leave you feeling worse. Therapists are trained to create a special kind of safe and nurturing environment that can allow you to feel fully accepted, no matter what you are doing, saying or feeling.
All humans are born with a need for this, and feel a sense of relief when they get it. It is from that place of unconditional positive regard and neutrality that you can relax enough to gain mental clarity, and to discover solutions. What credentials do therapists have? Some therapists have Master's degrees like I do. I have a Master's in Marriage and Family Counseling, but here in Washington my credential is "Licensed Mental Health Therapist". There are also separate "Marriage and Family" and "Clinical Social Worker" licenses.
"Psychologists" have doctoral degrees and can provide counseling and psychological testing. "Psychiatrists" are medical doctors who can prescribe medications, and can also provide therapy. "Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners" can also provide counseling and can prescribe medications. (For our purposes, "Therapy," "Psychotherapy" and "Counseling" have similar meanings. ) How long does therapy take? The initial sense of relief often happens in the first session to some extent.
However, it takes about three sessions for therapy to get started, because by then the therapist is no longer a stranger to you, and he understands your problems more clearly. In perhaps five sessions, you would have a better understanding of the problem that you are dealing with and what the solutions might be. Many people stop at this point. For the inner understanding and emotional shifts that would make the same problem less likely to happen in the future, it takes longer; perhaps ten to twenty sessions. True change happens both on the thinking and feeling levels, and it takes some time to get there. I figure that, if clients have a good experience, than it will be normal to return to therapy at different times throughout life; kind of the "layers of the onion" idea.
But it may be years before you do return. So, I think it makes sense to get as much "bang for the buck" as you can while you are here. As a client, I'd like to have a way to prevent my problem from happening again.
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