For some of you, seeking out a psychologist is new; for others, this may be a familiar experience. In either case, it is important to find a person with whom you can develop an open and trusting relationship.
I would like to share a little bit about my background and current beliefs regarding psychotherapy and working with people. I say “current beliefs”, for the field of psychology continues to evolve. Having worked in the mental health field for over 35 years, I have seen many shifts regarding our understanding of people, relationships, and treatment. As a psychologist, it is my duty to learn about new ideas and approaches that will allow me to be the most helpful to others.
Though there are many similar symptoms or conditions, I view every person as unique. Focusing on the relationship in therapy allows for the development of trust and safety, which I believe is necessary for therapy to be effective.
I use a variety of approaches, depending on the issues the client chooses to address. These may include:
- Supportive cognitive behavioral therapy
- EMDR — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- Mindfulness Practices
- Psychodynamic; relationship-focused therapy
- Play therapy
- Consultation with parents
- Gottman approach used with couples
There needs to be “a good fit” regarding the relationship between the client and therapist. Therapists have varied backgrounds, training, and personalities. If I meet with a client and for any reason, he/she does not believe we are a good fit, I am happy to refer out. Likewise, if I determine there is a conflict of interest or someone else might be a better resource for the client, I will also refer.
Depending on the referral, I see individuals, couples, and families. I work with children as young as five years old, adolescents, and adults. I typically meet with people weekly and space sessions out as things are improving.
Therapy During Covid
One of the things that bring people security and joy is getting together with friends and family. After months of dealing with this pandemic, and no clear end in sight or whether it will become more severe, most of us are beginning to feel the strain. This uncertainty has resulted in reports of mental stress, exhaustion, feelings of social isolation, symptoms of anxiety, anger, depression, and many times conflicts between family and friends regarding safety.
During this very difficult time, maintaining strong mental health is a vital component of our well-being and survival. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advocated wearing masks, social distancing (at least six feet), frequent hand washing, and avoiding large crowds, especially indoors. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect you’ve been exposed, please isolate yourself from others and call your doctor or local health department for instructions.
Statement on Racism
I believe safety (physical and emotional) is vital to moving forward. People need to feel safe in order to trust, effectively communicate, work together, and heal our society. Cultivating attitudes of acceptance and equality allow us the space to build these networks of safety and trust. Working together in this way, we are able to foster caring, understanding, and compassionate relationships which, in turn, strengthen our own mental health and contribute to building the strong, healthy, homes, and communities we desire.
This is a time when people are feeling vulnerable due to pandemics, racism, and violence. I encourage you to be vigilant for your own safety and the safety of others.
Suggestions to help you navigate this challenging time:
Keep an open mind and being accepting of others.
Be proactive rather than reactive. Become involved in supporting equality and work towards acceptance and understanding. This includes understanding our own prejudges and taking responsibility for positive action.
Exercise, meditate and use mindfulness practices.
Find ways to safely stay connected with others.
Find things you are thankful for rather than focusing on the negatives, realizing the pandemic will come to an end.
Pick up a new hobby or revive an old one.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to seek professional support.