What will I experience, what will happen during my therapy appointments?

First, I believe I provide clients with the experience of being listened to and understood far better than they have likely encountered with typical health care providers. Clients and patients need an opportunity to put their problems or difficulties into their own words. I exercise great patience helping them do just that. Patients need a chance to hear themselves think out loud and “sort things out” in a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental setting. I think the most important part of your first appointment is helping you put into words what you think, experience and feel, but cannot find the words to accurately express. I guarantee you that there are important aspects of your problem you have never been able to put into words! 

A related aspect of counseling or therapy is helping clients articulate what they say to themselves i.e., their internal dialogue or “self-talk”, which reflects the conflicts and problems they have not yet resolved. In summary, much of what I do falls under the technical term, “cognitive therapy”. However, I have trained Ph.D. students for many years to utilize a range of empirically supported treatments, such as Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, etc; and I will use these approaches where appropriate.

Second, I think clients find me to be highly practical. I tend to help them focus on the “here and now”. I will not inquire much about the happened during adult clients’ childhood or early history, unless it is truly relevant to their current problem.  I realize many therapists think it is helpful for clients to gain insight into the causes and history of their problem and want to know about most or all major events during clients’ lifespan.  However, I don’t find it to be a good use of therapy time, nor particularly useful.  Typically, I don’t spend intensive efforts to understand “why” something happened.  Rather, I primarily focus our therapy effort on “what to do about it”.  Also, some therapists believe it is extremely important to identify a proper mental health diagnosis.  While osis.  n be useful, elieve it is extremely important to identify a proper mental health ‘spending time finding a label for a problem can be helpful and interesting, it is not nearly as important as finding solutions to the problems and symptoms that comprise it.  I think you will may find that I am unlike others you may have talked to about your problems.  I look forward to meeting you.

Here are some additional guidelines about what you should expect in therapy: 1) After completing an initial appointment, you should ask how long therapy for a problem such as yours normally takes; 2) Your therapist should be able to outline what sorts of things you will be doing in future appointments to promote improvement. They should be able to outline goals that really make sense to you. 3) During the course of therapy, I believe clients should never leave any appointment without having  something specific to be thinking about or working on, and they truly they feel motivated about. 4) You should leave the first appointment or two with a sense of hopefulness, sensing that on the right track toward resolving your problem. 5) If your counseling is occurring in conjunction with taking medication for your conditions, your therapist should ask you to sign a release form, as it is often helpful for a therapist to touch base with clients’ medication provider. Collaborating with your medication provider will tend to make your therapy more effective, and vice/versa.

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