My Philosophy & Values
"As people we live in temporal points in time --'past, present and future simultaneously'. The past is an archeological site, a grave-yard we visit from time to time. It is always helpful to go back and re-visit that graveyard, dig around to find out all of the things about you that make you-you. So the name of the game is: Visit the graveyard, dig around to find out the things about yourself you need to remember then get out to live life in the present and plan for the future."
Sometimes your journey might call for us to work on deeper levels. Going back to earlier periods of your life to helps you heal from the roots up. I believe that the core of almost all issues involves a historical childhood sense of abandonment and/or engulfment. The work we do is intended to help you discharge the old, painful feelings and help you approach your current relationships with a fresh, clear perspective.
"I believe that the journey you are on holds great hope and success."
This is the same journey that countless other people have traveled, including myself. I believe that I can help you gain the insights you need by working through the developmental issues and stages we all must negotiate to achieve a life well lived.
Listening and accepting you for where you are at is integral to the process but if you are not ready to get feedback of another person's experience of you during a 55 minute session-keep surfing that web.
"If I am going to challenge you on what sounds like 'BS', you have every right to challenge me on anything that also sounds like 'BS'. It's called keeping it real."
The general flavor of my style is drawn from a Gestalt approach, with means developing a highly interactive relationship between the two of us. This relationship becomes a laboratory for you to experiment with new perspectives and skills. After you have refined and practiced these skills with me, you can then immediately use them in your everyday life. The more real we are in the therapy session, the more powerful its impact on the rest of your life. I continue to learn and update my theoretical knowledge outside of the therapeutic session. I am part of an on-going study group with other counselors and consultants. I also retain the counsel of other veteran therapists whom I respect so that my work remains safe and grounded.
Walking my talk is the ultimate credential in being believable as counselor and therapist. Nobody died and made me Pope. I have to keep doing my own work in order to be sane, sober and serene enough to help you.
As a human being I will be always collecting held feelings and issues just like you. So, I go to a therapist myself who does a really good job of 'holding my feet to the fire on "my stuff"'. As a recovering alcoholic/addict I do my own 12-step work even when I don't feel like it. My philosophy is that I am only safe for my clients to the degree that I tackle the hard work in my own life. The more I keep my own nose clean in my life, the safer and more effective I can be for my clients. Also, it just seems like the height of hypocrisy to me to ask my clients to do something I either don't do myself or have not done in a million years!
"Everything about you, what you do and experience has a purpose. Stop judging yourself and learn to understand and accept the strengths and the loose ends that makes you uniquely you. Finding out why you do what you do prepares the way for you to make a choice around doing something different."
I believe that being a therapist is more than simply an occupation for me. My own continued growth and recovery are intimately connected to the work I do with clients. My journey through life has provided me with a wealth of experiences, such as a 23-year relationship, career changes, and surviving the loss of parents and friends to illness, as well as my own recovery issues. The work that I have had to do as a person forms the basis of the assistance that I can give to you.
"The first day of counseling should be the beginning of the last day of counseling."
Sometimes your work might be clear and straightforward, taking only a fairly short time to resolve. Sometimes the deeper work can involve a longer journey. In either event, my perspective remains the same: to work myself out of a job by teaching you how to become your own therapist. Hopefully, therefore, our time together will conclude neither too soon nor too late.
"I'm responsible for the structure--you are responsible for the progress and the content so get some bang for your (or your insurance company's) buck."
Taking responsibility for our lives starts right here, right. No blaming anyone or anything else-excuses, no fear. An essential element of the therapeutic relationship is using that relationship as a kind of "testing laboratory" for how we are going to run our lives in the larger world of our lives and all the relationships in that world. It is my job to keep you on your toes to continually make your own experience of your time and effort with me. You will get out of therapy only as much as you put into it. This is a perfect mirror of the reality that you will only get out of your life and relationships just as much as the effort that you put forth. You are responsible for the raw material of your therapeutic experience-what you want to work on and how you want to work on it is completely in your court. My job is to assist you in making structure, meaning and growth out of all that raw content.