What happens in the first appointment?
Our first meeting is a chance for you to tell me about yourself and what has brought you to therapy. We start where you are. You can also find out more about my approach, ask questions, and get a sense of what it would be like for us to work together. In the first few sessions, we can talk more in depth about what you are currently grappling with. I would also ask about context to get an idea of your personal history. Often what is causing you trouble now has connection to the past−especially your attitude towards yourself and patterns in relationships.
What is my approach to therapy?
Essentially, my approach is insight-oriented combined with offering practical strategies to support your discoveries. There are many theories and models of therapy but what is consistent across the research is that there is a positive correlation between the therapeutic relationship (our working alliance) and treatment outcomes. In other words, what seems to matter most is that you feel comfortable, respected, and safe, and that I am reliable, flexible, and trustworthy. Then you can risk more vulnerability and honesty, and the work we do is more likely to lead in the direction you want.
What kinds of problems do I deal with?
Have a look at my Services page for a list of some of the problems that people come to see me about. I find that underlying most of these problems there are usually four basic issues that people are grappling with:
• How to be yourself (not who anyone else wants you to be)
• How to love and get along with other people (humans are interdependent)
• How to truly enjoy your life (otherwise what are we doing here?)
• How to practice self-awareness (not self-consciousness)
What is the therapeutic relationship?
The therapeutic relationship is an alliance between a therapist and the person who is seeking help. It’s the basis for our work together. I would attune myself to you and your concerns so that you would feel taken seriously, and safe enough, so that you might risk showing and expressing yourself. I would be on your side, in solidarity with you. It’s through the therapeutic relationship that we can inquire into your problematic thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. This would allow us to gain more awareness and insight into your situation, and enhance your ability to make changes. It’s easier to face problems and try new behaviours when you have someone in your corner – two heads are better than one.
How often would we meet?
This is something we would discuss in your first appointment. Often people start counselling with regular appointments so that we can work on certain issues, and then return from time to time when there is something more, or new, to work on. What type of arrangement works best for you, will depend on any number of factors, including motivation, your degree of distress, finances, availability of childcare, and your own sense of what feels right.