I understand personally what it’s like to decide that it’s the right time for professional counseling, and then to begin the process of finding the right therapist for you. It can seem overwhelming and cause additional stress at the very beginning of your counseling journey.
How will you find the therapist who’s the right fit for you?
I believe that the answer to that question involves knowing a counselor’s philosophy before you even attend an initial session. And mine is simple. My practice begins from a place I call “present moment listening.” In present moment listening, I meet you where you are in this moment in your life without judgment, and listen—providing guidance as needed—to what you feel you need from counseling, whether or not you know it yet. Then, we work together to realize the goal of fulfilling those professional counseling needs.
My job is not to assume what my client needs. I believe that each person and client possesses his or her own inner wisdom. Sometimes, that wisdom is buried under life stressors such as loss, family of origin history, trauma, substance abuse, mood disorders, and various others. My role is to provide a safe space and gentle guidance to help determine what a client is struggling with so as to excavate that inner wisdom to begin on a path to wellness.
From a research perspective, my philosophy has emerged from a combination of these theorists’ approaches:
1) Carl Rogers (Person-Centered Therapy). Rogers believed that a person’s growth depends upon exposure to “an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood).”
2) Frederick (Fritz) Perls (Gestalt Therapy). Gestalt Theory is based on trusting the process and working with what emerges in the moment. It also works with “Introjects”, or the negative beliefs we take on about ourselves from family of origin messages or significant life events. “The core of Gestalt Therapy process is enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between self, its environment, and the other.”
3) Jon Kabat-Zinn (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction). Kabat-Zinn is a teacher of MBSR around the world. His theory focuses on the practice of mindfulness and being more present to ourselves and our surroundings in the moment.
In my practice I also use and help clients apply concepts from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to clarify action steps one chooses to take to support the shifts they want to experience. In addition, I rely on principles from the practice of yoga and other body and breath practices that support the mind/body connection.