How do I go about helping you?

 
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My goal is to help reduce your suffering, deal with your goals, and experience creative flow, loving-kindness and joy. My other goal is to protect your confidentiality to make you feel protected and safe during sessions. What do I do to accomplish this?

Initially I make you feel comfortable and listen with curiosity and empathy to build a therapeutic relationship based on kindness, compassion and unconditional regard. Research amply shows that this is the most helpful element of "talk therapy" no matter what modality the therapist uses.

Once in session, most people feel at ease with me because I am engaged, authentic and direct.  I practice a philosophy of being fully and humanly present, based on Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” ideas. My approach is the opposite to those movie therapists where the therapist is silent and writes on a pad, aloof and distant. I cannot do that even if I tried! My style of process helps folks ready for change. I am a poor fit for those who openly or inwardly want to remain stagnant.

Mindfulness is one of my favorite tools. At the beginning of sessions, I lead you in a very short mindfulness practice to help us relax and focus. I use mindfulness during our session to stay connected and aware of what you bring to share. I also track my intellectual  and emotional responses to what you bring to the session.

Mostly, as I listen, I pay attention to my intuition, but also to patterns, imagery, myths, thinking traps, somatic changes and emotions as they relate to your  goals. I listen to my responses and reactions, which I will share when you ask and when I think an intervention might be useful to advance your goals. This idea of being fully human and accessible derives from the humanistic ideas of Carl Rogers and, as I said above, from philosopher Martin Buber.

In our sessions, I will address any fear with kindness and compassion, and help you uncover sources of courage and resilience. Most of the time, from having helped catalyze change for more than 2000 individuals, I know it is simply fear that stops folks from acting to stop suffering or get unstuck. Sometimes we know suffering so well that we stay with it because it is familiar and it is what we know. I share the Buddhist idea that fear is the biggest enemy of freeing your mind and accepting change, so I work with care and gentleness to reduce your suffering.

Helping others suffer less makes me better at it for myself, and that is a great reward. The other reward is do work that satisfies my unending curiosity about how others see the world and process experience. My ability to use divergent thinking comes in handy to imagine how you experience the world and for noticing patterns and making connections that help me "get"  what is happening internally with you. Looking into what I believe is happening other people's soul is very moving and requires being open and vulnerable.

When you train to be vulnerable with your clients, to be fully available, you quickly learn not to judge others. You learn about the depth of the human condition, and the incredible gift that we offer each other in learning from each other. It teaches me not judge you for anything you bring to our meetings, because somewhere inside me, there might be something that feels and looks similar. If you are concerned about what I might think of you, no worries! I probably have seen much worse at Yale hospital or when I worked with youth impacted by trauma.

For me, finding the unique intervention that helps you get your life in flow with your goals and desires is like a puzzle for which I get the pleasure of identifying  a unique solution. To solve it, I use both my intuition and imagination. I use a wide range of techniques gathered in more than 30 years of working with a wide variety of people.

I draw from Psychodynamic theory's focus on early relationships and family impact, especially from how parenting ability and style affects how you respond to others and your own feelings. I draw from Cognitive Behavioral therapy when you need to address the relationship of thoughts and feelings, and from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to address self-destructive efforts and distress tolerance.

I use imaginal techniques when your concern is not easy to express verbally, and to cut across intellectualized problems. I work with somatic experience and drama therapy techniques when I know they can work faster than other style of work.

My intention is to make every session worthwhile. I do a brief check-in at the end of each session to track how our collaboration is working and hope you take something useful with you.

Please feel invited to make a free appointment to ask me any questions you may have by clicking the button below.