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What exactly is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is the integration of three processes working together toward one goal. The processes are self-reflection, self-expression, and connection. The goal is healing.
Self-reflection is the process of looking within ourselves to find answers about who we are and why we do the things we do. Self-expression involves finding ways of communicating those inner experiences to another person. I specialize in talk therapy. This means we find words to communicate what's happening inside of us. Connection refers to the quality of relationship you form with your therapist. This is the foundation of therapeutic success. Humans naturally and organically connect meaningfully with others when they feel safe. Creating a safe place for you to engage in honest self-reflection and brave self-expression is my job.
Why do people seek therapy?
People seek therapy because they are in pain. They may be in emotional pain due to challenges like a depressed mood, grief, personal crisis, relationship stress, or a difficult emotion like ongoing emptiness. They may be in psychological pain due to intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, crippling fears, or unremitting anxiety. Whatever the reason, when people enter a therapist's office, they want one thing: relief. Relief can come in a few ways. Let's look at two: short-term and long-term. Short-term relief can come from simply talking about what's bothering us. People often feel
lighter and more hopeful after just one session. Human beings are very social creatures, and we thrive when we can be authentic with another about who we are. Therapy is a safe place to do just that. Short-term relief can also come from effective, empirically-based coping strategies. We need tools to cope with the challenges that life brings, and mental/emotional tools are no different. The more tools you have, the more options you have to choose from when challenges arise. Having effective coping tools is a must.
Long-term relief comes from deeper work. By understanding our story - what happened to us and how that affected us - we begin to see ourselves differently. Instead of labeling ourselves as pathetic or weak, we begin to notice show strong, resilient, and creative we really are. It takes a lot of resilience to get through the challenges of life, and understanding both your pain and and your power will drastically change how you feel and the choices you make. When we come to truly love and respect ourselves, our lives radically change for the better.
Do I need therapy?
The easy answer is: if you think you do, it might be a good idea to schedule a session. Some people like to do what I call "mental hygiene." Just like we see a dentist for a routine cleaning every six months or so, we might check in with a counselor every once in a while to talk about how things are going in our lives. Even one hour with an insightful therapist can give you substantial food for thought. However, if daily functioning has become a challenge, if getting out of bed and going through the tasks and responsibilities of your day has become too difficult due to the presence of mental or emotional distress, you should definitely seek the help of a competent counselor. You don't have to live that way.
What's the process?
Psychotherapy is a conversation that unfolds in an ongoing fashion. We start by taking a detailed history of your life. Memories, pleasant and unpleasant, become far more than stories we've told or secrets we've kept. We begin to see them as the defining moments that shaped who we are. We work toward healing traumatic events. (I am trained in a technique called Brainspotting, developed by David Grand. For more information, click here.) While all traumas cannot be healed entirely, their hold on us can be reduced substantially.
How do I "do" therapy?
Come to therapy with an open mind and heart. Sometimes you'll know exactly what you want to talk about. Sometimes the relevant stuff is right underneath the surface, and I'll help you find it and draw it out. All you need is a little curiosity, and you'll have a productive session. Once we are talking, trust your gut and feelings to guide you. If you feel strongly about it, it's important.
How much does it cost?
My hourly rate is $200. I offer a sliding scale, based on income, starting at $125. I do not accept insurance, but I will supply a list of sessions and costs to submit to your insurance provider upon request.
How long will I need to come?
This depends on what your goals are. Some people prefer to work on one or two distinct issues, and when they feel they've made satisfactory progress, they cease therapy. Some prefer to use the psychotherapeutic process as a tool of self-care, and their work is ongoing. They benefit from the process of talking things out and exploring their inner world in the safety they feel with me. We'll discuss your goals and length of treatment in your first session.
How do I get started?
Use the form on the Contact page to send me an email.
Click here for Intake Paperwork.