Why do people to seek therapy? How can therapy help?
People often come to therapy because their start in life was filled with trauma, they’ve had a huge loss or a traumatic event that turned life upside down, something happened and they just can’t find a way to “let it go”, something big happened and they realize it’s just too much, or they’re at a crossroads and need support as they figure it out. Basically, people are struggling and often feel broken or stuck.
Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, enhancing your life. You’ll use what you learn and practice here for the rest of your life. Some of the benefits and skills attained include:
- Learn to trust and manage your emotions (anger, grief, passion)
- Practice mental flexibility and new ways to solve problems
- Rebuild confidence and grow self-compassion
- Create and hold healthy boundaries
- Nurture a sense of connection
- Improve relationships, communication, and listening
- Move towards agency
- Learn new ways to respond to stress and anxiety
- Better understand yourself, your goals, and your values
- Work through and release unresolved issues, events, and beliefs
- Rediscover a sense of purpose
What can I expect from my first appointment?
After scheduling an intake, you’ll get an email that confirms your appointment time and has a link to your intake paperwork. This paperwork needs to be completed prior to your first session. It will orient you towards therapy – especially helpful if you have not attended before, collect some data to provide a starting point as to why you are coming in and what your goals are, set up your billing and contact information, and allow you to schedule and change appointments through the portal.
My appointments start on the hour and are generally 55 minutes long. I often have a client right before you, so sit tight until and I’ll come get you. I try to run on time and not leave you waiting. In our first appointment I’ll gather some background information, we’ll get comfortable with each other, and start building a therapeutic relationship. We’ll cover confidentiality, ask about what brings you to therapy, what struggles you’re encountering, and quite probably some life history – such as any traumatic experiences or family dynamics that might help me understand you more. We’ll work collaboratively to determine what you want to get out of this time together, and create a plan that promotes healing.
Is what I say really confidential?
Texas state law and HIPAA protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist. Information cannot be disclosed without written permission from the client.
There are a few exceptions which include 1) if we suspect child abuse or neglect, dependent adult or elder abuse or neglect we are required to report 2) if a client threatens bodily harm to themselves or another person/s we may report this to the appropriate authorities such as asking for a Mental Health Deputy help assess and provide protection. 3) by law for example a judge issued subpoena. If we enter into any of these situations, I will make every effort to enlist your cooperation in insuring your safety and inform you of any action(s) I am obligated to take.
Confidentiality and its limits are covered in our first session and I encourage you to ask questions at any time during our work together.
What is ongoing therapy like? How long will this take?
Every client is different in what they are seeking to gain from therapy, so our therapy sessions cater to you and your specific goals. I generally start every session by asking “What do you want most for yourself from this time together?” Your answer to this seemingly simple question is the start of our work and supports us in exploring the primary issues and concerns in your life. We talk a lot in this world, but often we don’t even know what we’re searching for. Slowing down and really checking in – body and mind – as to what we want, what blocks us, and how we move forward is really challenging work. But you know that, that’s why you’re here. And that’s why sitting with a trained professional is different than talking to yourself or to your friends.
Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. Therapy sessions are weekly to begin and can shift to bi-weekly as you experience health and vitality again. Many people will continue to use therapy as a monthly check in with themselves or when life throws another curve ball – the relationship becomes a safe and supportive place to sort through life events.
How do I choose who to work with?
Think about what you are seeking to address through counseling– trauma, grief, relationships, release from shame… Then read some of our profiles and see if there’s something that stands out for you. While education and experience are important factors to consider, in truth, the best outcome is to work with someone feels like a “fit” someone who you feel gets you. The time you spend here is an investment in your health that lasts a lifetime.
What approach do you use? What do all those acronyms mean?
Therapists are notorious for the use of acronyms. The approaches that I have studied and trained in have been developed to aid in the healing of attachment and trauma wounds. Here’s a brief description of the key approaches that inform my work.
- NARM: Neuroaffective Relational Model An approach that supports agency and addressed the strategies formed in our early years to address trauma and relational wounds.
- SE: Somatic Experiencing An approach that works with the nervous system to release stored trauma responses.
- EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing An approach that stimulates the thinking and feeling parts of the brain and aids in processing trauma.
- IPNB: Interpersonal NeuroBiology A relational approach that uses an understanding of the brain’s function and relational needs to create connection and healing.
What is different about how you work?
The trauma informed approaches I use create an alliance between your physical, emotional, thinking mind. Working with the nervous system to release stored trauma and reclaim your “gut instinct” as well as creating meaning and insight. I don’t focus on changing or extinguishing behavior as I believe behavior changes when we grow our capacity to identify and begin moving towards agency. Talking through trauma isn’t enough. We need our whole body and brain working in alliance.The therapeutic relationship offers a calm, yet challenging place for you to heal and expand – to become a truer version of yourself.
Why do therapists ask about family and the past?
In a nutshell, your earliest relationships continue to impact how we move through the world. You adjusted to fit the world you started in and are still using those strategies to navigate through life. Some of those strategies work and some create relational patterns filled with pain, anger, and confusion. Therapists ask about the past to offer context to it’s impact and how it supports or blocks you. Our deepest wounds come from our relationships and yet, relationships are also our greatest strength. It’s not about the other person, it’s about the strategies you engaged to survive and then it became you. That’s why the relationship with your therapist is often the start of a whole new felt sense of self. Healing happens in relationship.
OK, one last question. What is an LPC-S? What is a NARM therapist?
Excellent question. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor. I have a Masters in counseling and I’m a board approved supervisor for new associate counselors in Texas (that’s the S). I’ve met the qualifications (over 120 hours of training) in order to become a NARM certified therapist.
What I offer: Compassion, respect, and understanding; Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings; Real strategies for enacting positive change; Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance.
What I don’t offer: Advice, Medication, Assessments, ESA Letters