Fundamentally, I ascribe to an integrative, eclectic approach to therapy utilizing principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Problem Solving Therapy, Experiential Psychotherapy, and Person-Centered Therapy. The most critical factor in healing is to meet clients where they are, with whatever theoretical approach seems appropriate given their personal situation.
In terms of long-term healing vs. symptom reduction, I ascribe to a psychodynamic model. I believe what happened “then and there” affects what is happening “here and now.” It is in the unconscious that we find the keys to resolving presenting problems, whether they manifest as anxiety and depression, relationship issues, difficulties in managing life transitions, or other mental health concerns. Above all else, I believe the therapeutic relationship is a working and evolving partnership between client and therapist.
While delving into the past may help explain the origin of clients’ current concerns, I typically begin with empathic listening to the client’s presenting problems, creating rapport as well as trust, and we then move on to address alternative solutions to resolving these problems so that the client is free to turn his/her attention to the issues in their past history, which may have contributed to the current challenges they face. An empathetic and caring therapeutic environment is essential. Carl Roger’s person-centered therapy, which underscores the importance of unconditional positive regard of the clients, opens the door to establishing a healthy and safe therapeutic environment.
Tailored Therapeutic Experience
I do not believe in a cookbook approach to therapy, but rather tailor the therapeutic experience to the needs and personal concerns of the client. I have been influenced by the work of Henry Stack Sullivan, a pioneer in the development of psychotherapy, who was one of the first theoreticians to emphasize the interpersonal causes of mental health issues. The relationship between clients and those that play a significant role in their lives can, for some people, be a critical ingredient in resolving current problems and concerns. The therapeutic environment acts as a proxy for these interpersonal conflicts. It is in working with the client in a caring and open way that trust can be built and a meaningful and impactful therapeutic relationship developed.