On Therapy

Client's come to a therapist in a variety of states of pain and dis-ease. Often people want some immediate relief for that pain. Sometimes the source of the pain is an external circumstance such as a problematic relationship, job stress, or a family conflict. Sometimes the source of the pain can be due to more long standing internal issues such as low self esteem, depression, anxiety, or loneliness. Many people try to address this pain by using unhelpful coping mechanisms such as alcohol, sex, food, or other addictive behavior or by trying to avoid the problem and hoping it will go away. Whatever the situation, I take the time in the first few sessions to assess the client's current problems and to get as accurate and detailed a picture as possible about their lives. This is accomplished by exploring their childhood and the forces that shaped them and their adult life and the stressors they are dealing with. After this assessment period I work with the client to ensure that both of us are on the same page as a plan is set forth as to what we will work on and how often we will meet to do that work. New issues often emerge in the course of treatment but it is important to begin with some sense of working together on a shared goal. For me, therapy is like education; some people stop after grade school or high school, others complete college or pursue one or more graduate degrees. What matters is completing the level of education that one needs to succeed and thrive. The same is true for therapy. More is not necessarily better, it depends on what one wants and hopes to achieve and what one brings to the table.

I believe therapy is about exploring and understanding how our minds work. Most people know what they should do and have all sorts of ideas as to how to solve their problems or make themselves happy. The issue for therapy is exploring what gets in the way of achieving those goals and what blocks one from doing what is best for oneself. The mind is like an iceberg, most of what matters is below the surface and thus easy to miss and dismiss. The therapist’s job is not to focus on the part above the surface, but to help mine and discover the part below the surface.

What sets my practice of providing psychotherapy in St. Louis and couples counseling in St. Louis apart is I have training in understanding the unconscious mind and the impact of social issues. This allows me to bring an appreciation of how both internal and external conflicts impact your problems.