Philosophy of Practice
Practical Methods for Counseling
There are faster, deeper and more practical ways to receive therapy. I focus on those methods. I find that combining deeper body-based methods with teaching skills speeds up the process and promotes independence.
The “Fix It” Counseling Model versus Teaching Skills
In graduate school, I had an ongoing argument with my fellow students. They maintained that their job as a therapist was to ‘fix’ people who came to them so they would be functional in the world. I asserted that my job was to teach my clients the skills they needed so they could maintain themselves without my help!
The “Fix It” Model Makes Sense, But It’s not the End All
The ‘fix it’ model is the medical model of healing. It has its place in the world. If I ever have a broken leg, I will want the doctors to “fix it”.
But if I want to learn to maintain my own health, I want someone to teach me to maintain my own health–not do it for me!
I offer therapy based on the level of the issues. When needed, I do deeper healing work which include Inner Child Work, visualization and Focusing Therapy. Experience with many modalities allows me to adjust my approach to the client’s personal style.
Combining Experience and Understanding
Most types of therapies are body-based, experiential or cognitive. I have been exposed or trained across the entire range.
The advantage of body-based and/or experiential therapies is that they make deep changes at an unconscious level. Examples of these are Inner Child Dialogue, Focusing, hypnosis/visualization, Gestalt dialogue, or art exploration. The disadvantage is that sometimes they are too daunting or strange for people to try at first. They often do not teach skills.
The advantage of more cognitive methods is that they can reduce anxiety, give simple tools and give a person more confidence. Examples of these are cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, communication skills and talk therapy. The disadvantage is they do not go very deep, so clients can end up understanding their problem and not changing it. This applies especially to trauma issues.
Most therapists are trained in either experiential OR cognitive (talk) therapies. I am trained in both types. I believe that each therapy addresses some aspects of a person, but not others. I wanted to address all aspects of a person. I worked hard to include more forms of therapies, so I could apply any of them in any session. This allows me to inform the client’s intellect, move through the emotions, then descend to where most of the issues actually live.
For example, Focusing is a body-based therapy that is meant to be combined with other therapies. So, I combined it with both the emotional skills that I teach and with Transactional Analysis. Over time, this has created a spectrum of interventions.