Every counselor has different styles, theories and approaches to the counseling process.
Some will analyze your dreams, some aim to dig up past trauma, some give you homework assignments, some try to trick you into getting better, some give lots of advice and others just silently take notes and make diagnoses.
Different people need different counselors. My style is not for everyone. If I am not the right counselor for you, then I will gladly make referrals so you can find the help you need. This is about you, not my ego.
While I may incorporate useful tools, skills and ideas of various counseling theories, the foundation of my approach is called Person Centered Therapy. What that means is that I believe the people who come visit me are intelligent human beings who just want to make their life better. You are the expert on you. I believe my number one priority is to create an environment where you can process your issues at your pace towards your goals.
If I can be genuine, respectful and understanding then I believe a comfort and rapport will develop that allows you to share more freely. Research has shown that these qualities of a counselor are far more important than any technique. If you know that I am not going to make you feel bad, share your secrets or get you in trouble, then I believe trust will develop. Just the process of putting words to what is going on in your head and your heart requires you to sort it for yourself in order to explain it to me, and this is one of the simplest and most beneficial parts of counseling as you gain a better understanding of yourself through the conversation. Of course, I will ask the necessary tough questions at the right times and try to share the skills, wisdom and perspectives that I have to give, but my priority is helping you figure things out for yourself.
Everyone is different, so I do not have a formula or set structure for how therapy will proceed. I believe whatever we talk about it what we need to talk about. If you got an F in history class, I wouldn’t ask what your problem is, I would discuss what you want to discuss. And what do you know…if you want to discuss the people messing with you in history class, I bet solving that problem helps those grades. Sometimes counseling can be very difficult, just like physical therapy involves pain as you increase your ability to function. But if at any point you just want to change the subject and talk about movies, then that is what we will do, because respecting you means respecting your pace. And I believe that respect builds trust so you will feel comfortable going further next time.
I also try to avoid giving advice. I’m human and I will fail, but aiming for it helps me find a good balance. If I tell you what I think you need to do, then you may reluctantly go try it, but it probably won’t work if you don’t buy into it, so then you’ll fail and just think I’m an idiot. But if through the course of a conversation, you slowly come to accept that you need to do that thing you already knew you needed to do, then when you are ready you will pursue your solution. And chances are it will work because it was your idea based on your knowledge of yourself and your commitment to succeed. Then I’ll gladly give you a high-five as you proudly tell me how you solved your own problem.
I believe it is my job to put myself out of a job. I want to help you get to the point that you do not need me.
In short, my style is very non-directive and laid back. Some people need structure and pressure. If so, we can find you a referral. But many people find that this style is exactly what they need. I can’t always explain why it works, but it truly does. Of the people who like my style and were willing to engage in the process for more than 3 visits, 90% received some benefit, while 68% made good or excellent progress. And when I say excellent progress, I am thinking of the people who started off struggling to make it through the day and ended feeling confident, capable and eager for the challenges ahead.
If this sounds like what you want, then please Contact me to discuss setting up an appointment.