Therapy is a powerful process for both personal growth and the treatment of deep, psychological and emotional pain. I specialize in working with adults with a wide range of issues, including recovery from childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, anger, grief, relationship problems and addiction.
Typically, therapy involves meeting regularly, usually weekly, and working to put thoughts, feelings and impulses into words. Sometimes people prefer to work with images or movement rather than words, and these approaches can be very effective too.
Finding Clarity through Exploration and Acceptance
Gradually, in the acceptance and curiosity of the therapeutic container, a larger range of thoughts and feelings emerge, including those that were hidden even from us. From here, they can be welcomed, or at least accepted, and explored. When we tune into the symptoms that are giving us trouble, take them out of the shadows of our solitary inner world, and talk them through with an open, attuned, skilled therapist, their necessary messages become clearer. This emotionally alive discovery in therapy can bring great relief and healing in itself. If further changes are wanted, the new-found clarity becomes the foundation of the path toward a more fulfilling life and more satisfying relationships.
A Fresh Perspective through Therapy
While family and friends may care for us deeply, they are apt to have their own needs in the relationship, as well as a history with us, which can make it difficult to get a clear reflection and fresh interactions. In fact, those close to us may sometimes be invested in our not changing. The client-therapist relationship is a unique one, which stands apart from our day-to-day life with family and friends. It is much easier to disentangle from and look at habitual patterns, unexamined beliefs and established relationship dynamics when working with an experienced therapist who is attuned and open, while not being historically involved with us, as family and friends by definition are.
Your therapist has many years of training and experience in helping people to explore what matters most to them, to grapple with the difficulties that limit their ability to live the way they want to, and to have new emotional experiences that gradually untie the knots of past wounding and the ways we’ve learned to cope.
Many studies show (and no research I know of contradicts them) that the quality of the therapeutic relationship continues to be the number one factor that accounts for client-reported successful outcomes of therapy. One of the likely reasons for this is that our more serious personal difficulties most often developed within a relationship context, and so an emotionally alive reparative relationship can be a potent catalyst for nervous-system deep recovery and healing.
Uncovering Internalized Messages
We may or may not realize intellectually that the painful or limiting messages we received from an important person in our lives, or from the culture we were born into, were more about the other person or the culture, than they were about us. Yet we are such profoundly relational creatures that harmful messages internalized early in life, along with the ways we learned to cope with them, are wired deeply into our nervous systems, where they can drive our feelings and behavior without our conscious participation. Intellectual insight alone is not enough to change their toxic record.
This brings us to another factor that is essential to successful, lasting outcomes in therapy. Our experiences in therapy must not be exclusively intellectual, but must be enlivened by the variety of emotions that will naturally arise when we allow and welcome them. This includes the inevitable feelings that will come up about the therapy or the therapist.
In this way, we gradually and gently weave together conscious understanding about ourselves with the less verbal, more “implicit” or procedural truths that unconsciously motivate us in our lives and relationships. This weaving is an intricate process that gradually makes for integration, both in our internal sense of self and in our sense of self in relationship to others. The outcome of this integration is a feeling of wholeness, of knowing and appreciating who we are, and a sense of much greater freedom to choose how we want to engage in the life circumstances and relationships in which we find ourselves.
If you would like to learn more, or wish to set up an appointment, please contact me here.