HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR THERAPIST
Many people are willing to put more work into finding the right plumber than the right therapist! Therapy is a lot like a dance. Not all therapists will be right for you. It takes time and the right questions to discover who will be the best partner for your journey.
WHY A SOCIAL WORKER
As a Social Worker, I am trained to look at "person in situation." Your problems do not necessarily originate in your brain chemistry. The events of your life, combined with the meaning you bring to them, have helped create who you are. And who you are is a complex being who lives in a social context. More important, you are is a person not only with problems, but strengths as well.
Some people believe that any therapist can help them with any problem. This may not be the case. Just as in other fields, professionals who are not trained or experienced with certain issues may miss or wrongly address what a client really needs.
In choosing a therapist, you must feel comfortable, and safe. (This might not happen immediately, as all relationships grow over time. And if you have tried a number of therapists, and never felt right with any of them, this might well be something you need to explore.) In fact, research has demonstrated that the success of treatment is less about any particular method of treatment (ie, psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, etc.) than it is about the relationship between the client and therapist.
One factor that has a strong impact on relationships is verbal style. Some people are intimidated by therapists who are more actively verbal. Some, on the other hand, want more than to have their statements reflected back to them; "un-hmmm' is not enough response for them.
I am very verbal with my clients, and use humor where appropriate. If you desire, I employ exercises and assignments. You will be given active feedback, and the human dynamics with which you struggle will be translated into language you can understand and use. I see therapy not only as reflective but also as training in the skills necessary to be a person in the world.
Together, we will review your questions and concerns, examine your your patterns and reactions. We will explore "how you got to be this way", looking for the powerful factors that led you to see and interact with the world in your own particular way. You will be helped to understand and heal old wounds. (Facing your pain is not at all the same as self pity. You are entitled to your pain. You earned it, the hard way.) Once you can identify the hidden or unspoken feelings that control your life, you will be freed to make better choices.
IT'S YOUR THERAPY--IT'S YOUR LIFE!
Therapists do not give advice or tell you what to do. In the end, every decision about your life is still yours--including, whether to change at all!
IT'S NORMAL TO BE ANXIOUS...
...I was, when I first went to therapy. I want you to feel free to call me with any questions you might have.
Many people who seek help are struggling with secrets. Clients often expect--or fear--that therapists are mind readers, that we will automatically know everything that causes shame or that they cannot express. The good news--and the bad news--is that this is not the case. This means you will have to work to explain and show us what is inside, but it also means we don't know the secrets you don't want to reveal, until you decide the time is right. You decide the pace, you choose what to deal with, and you determine who you want to be in the end.
Over time, I hope you come to appreciate what I know about my clients--that it takes courage to consider the need to do things differently, even more courage to risk change...and asking for help does not mean you are weak, or a failure; quite the opposite. Therapy is hard work, but also a rewarding, exciting, challenging adventure--and it is definitely not for cowards!
Now, if you have questions about fees, hours, insurance, and all that other good stuff, see my FAQ (link on top of this page), where you'll probably find most of the information you need.