All therapists share a common goal in reducing our patients’ emotional suffering and helping our patients to live happier and more fulfilling lives. However, the way in which each therapist helps their patients in achieving this goal often varies. This variation in therapeutic approach occurs in two ways. First is how we as therapists understand how our patients’ emotional suffering and pain came to be. Second is what the therapist does during therapy to help our patients overcome their difficulties and feel better. Finding a therapeutic approach that works for you is essential in helping you to benefit from your time in therapy. I provide my own approach to therapy below. I encourage you to read this page to determine whether my therapeutic approach can benefit you and help you to get the most out of our time in therapy. If you have any questions or need clarification about my therapeutic approach, please do not hesitate to contact me.
How I understand your presenting concerns
To fully help my patients work through the concerns that brought them therapy, I find it necessary to learn as much as I can about my patients’ current functioning and past history. One helpful way of thinking about this is the image of an impassable wall that blocks us from moving forward. In viewing this wall as a representation of your presenting concerns, we can begin to understand, non-judgmentally, how this wall came to exist, what this wall is preventing you from achieving, and the protective function it is serving in your present life. This development of insight and self-understanding that occurs over time will not only help you to move beyond this symbolic wall but also provide you with the freedom to choose your best path in life.
How I help you throughout the therapeutic process
At the core of my work is a focus on the therapeutic relationship. Nothing can be achieved in our work together without a relationship built on trust, safety, and respect. In helping to develop these factors, I provide an unstructured, open approach that allows you to talk about what is most important or pressing at the time. Together, through a supporting environment, we will explore your thoughts, feelings, reactions, and past history to develop both personal insight and self-compassion.
Below, you will find some commonly asked questions regarding my therapeutic approach and structure of my practice. Should you require additional information or have questions not listed below, please do not hesitate to contact me.
An important reason as to why therapy works is the therapeutic relationship that develops between a patient and a therapist. By allowing me to get to know you better and you feeling secure in the relationship, we can work together to understand and appreciate both the concerns that brought you to therapy as well as your inherent talents and strengths. For a meaningful therapeutic relationship to develop, meeting at least once per week is recommended. Quite often, I meet with patients multiple times per week depending on their needs. I do believe that, in working towards improving one’s life and well-being, obtaining as much help as possible can make a marked difference in solidifying lasting changes and improvements in one’s life.
The length of the course of treatment is one of the most individualized–and least generalizable–questions to answer. Each person begins therapy with a unique constellation of personal factors that makes it difficult to compare across patients. Although symptoms may be the same, the meaning behind the symptoms and the personal history that created these symptoms are purely individual. This is very different from physical illnesses in which health professionals can provide a predictable course of treatment and prescribe universally responsive treatments. Emotional and relational suffering simply does not work this way. Improvements in mood often emerge within a few weeks of starting therapy. What is individual, however, is the time it takes to solidify these improvements so that symptoms do not re-emerge after therapy ends.
I practice from a psychodynamic perspective. I have gravitated to this therapeutic approach for two reasons. First, this approach fits my personal style of relating and understanding the world we live in and the problems we all encounter. Secondly, there is enormous scientific evidence for its efficacy in treating a wide variety of mental health and interpersonal problems. Similar to other types of psychological treatment, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy is effective in improving mental health and life satisfaction. However, unlike other types of psychological treatment, psychodynamic therapy stands apart in that research shows that patients treated with psychodynamic therapy continue to improve long after their treatment has ended (Shedler, 2010). With the recent surge of scientific interest in fMRI studies examining brain structure/function and mental illness, a recently published article found that psychodynamic treatment improved the neural circuitry and activation of emotional processing within the brain (Perez et al., 2016). In other words, psychodynamic therapy literally changes our brains!