Here’s what counseling is like — what you can expect when you come to a counseling appointment with me:
Initially, we will be having a conversation, getting to know each other, and establishing the beginnings of a relationship based on safety, respect, and trust. I hold the quality of the relationship between you and I as the essential element that will enable change to take place.
It is important to me that you feel you are being heard, and understood. I want to understand what your experiences are like, and how your reactions to those experiences might have developed.
I tend to be very non-directive in my approach to therapy. I don’t believe that I have any business telling you what you should be like, how you are supposed to feel, or what you “have to do” in order to make change happen. I will often check with you to be sure that we are working on what you feel is important, to check that you understand what we are doing, and feel that you are being understood.
Over the last few years I have been incorporating elements of Hakomi in my work with clients, and doing full Hakomi sessions at times. What this means is that as we get to know each other, I am watching for indications of habits, or possible beliefs that might be contributing to problems in your life.
When indicators are noticed, I may offer small experiments, done in brief periods of mindfulness, so that we can gather more information about those habits or beliefs. Awareness of our beliefs and the behaviors associated with those beliefs is the environment where change can happen.
(I encourage you to look at the pages for Hakomi and What Hakomi Means to My Practice to learn more about these treatment methods and get an understanding of how I might include them in our work together.)
There is no way to determine how many sessions you may need to make the changes you desire. Factors that can impact the length of therapy can include the time it takes for us to develop a safe and nourishing therapeutic relationship, the strength that your system is holding onto old beliefs with, or the complexity of the issues we are working on (especially with trauma, grief and loss, or family-of-origin issues).
At the end of sessions, we will review what took place, talk about if, or when, you might want to return, and maybe talk about what might be the next step in therapy.