Some people come to therapy with a clear conceptualization of why they are there. Some people come to therapy and essentially melt into the chair (or wobbly stool – we have options here, as well as many spectacular fidgets), feeling defeated and desperate for relief…with no idea how to get there.
It’s all good.
A crucial part of my job is to figure out the core thing – the root of the dismay, disgust, and despair in clients’ lives – and to triage and guide a way to get in charge of it. Sometimes there are a lot of “red herrings” in the process – things we think are the problem, or contributing factors, that actually are distractors from the core thing. Sometimes we are gingerly side-stepping the core thing; other times, we are fervently running in the other direction. Anything in between is also a possibility. Figuring out the core thing is a critical part of my job as a Psychologist.
A few reasons people seek therapy:
o Diagnostic Clarity: Sometimes, there is something diagnostically significant going on. Good news – there is tons of evidence-based practice for virtually all mental-health ails. It is important to have a Psychologist who is trained in both Counselling and Formal Assessment – very few are (I am), and it can be imperative to explore through both lenses.
o Understanding and Tackling Barriers: Things that get in the way. Many a reason:
- Self-Imposed: Limiting beliefs and narratives can permeate our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. We can shift these for better functioning and greater fulfillment.
- Relational: Interpersonal dynamics are ultra-tricky, and can cloud our sense of self and of the world. We can acquire skills to navigate our relationships more effectively.
- Systemic: The world is simultaneously glorious and awful – let’s be real. There are legit barriers out there that are impeding many individuals’ ability to experience a full, safe, and authentic life. We can figure out ways to break down these barriers…and to navigate them when we cannot break them down.
Therapy can also stem from a strengths- and growth-based perspective. We needn’t be fundamentally a disaster in order to access and benefit from therapy. A few ways in which this therapeutic approach can manifest:
o Values Alignment: Do we have a thorough understanding of our core values, and are we living in a manner that is congruent with these pillars? Let’s examine and tweak where there might be some misalignments.
o Evolving Your Brand: What are you putting out there, for the world to see? Are you heading in a growth-promoted and -oriented direction? If yes, great – let’s magnify that. If not, that’s okay – let’s figure out why and shift accordingly.
My new clients usually ask me how frequently and for how long they ought to be in therapy. The answer, invariably, is everyone’s favourite, “It depends…” Generally speaking, I recommend weekly or biweekly to begin. This helps us to get some traction and momentum in defining and moving toward our goals. As clients get what they need to navigate the real world out there (i.e., life outside of therapy sessions), we stretch the time between sessions out. As things come up, we can condense the frequency to put chaos in its place. It’s a very flexible process, and my job is to figure out what overall plan is going to be the most efficient and effective way to get clients where they want to be.
Ultimately, my job as a Psychologist is essentially to kick you out of therapy – the goal is to get you what you needed when you came in, send you off into the world, and remain at-the-ready for any troubleshooting and/or proverbial pickles that arise.
Ready to hop on board? Send me an email or grab a spot online today – let’s get going.