I am often asked, "How long will this take?" I do not have a standard answer to that question. Most clients want to work quickly to be relieved of their symptoms, but this is not always possible or advisable. The body can experience any sudden change, even a change for the better, as a shock, and it will not hold the change over time unless it is gradually prepared for it. Whenever a positive change is introduced, there is always some "negative feedback," an effort for the old pattern to reassert itself. We work in increments, and most likely, you will experience periods of feeling better and expand those over time.
When the presenting problem is a crisis, the process of treatment can be relatively short, a matter of six to twelve weeks, as the crisis is resolved and the family moves to a new level of functioning. When the problem is more chronic, involving character issues in individuals, the process of change can be slower and may involve some individual therapy as well. Meetings can be less frequent, often every other week, and then decrease over time, with the family coming back as needed. Most clients meet with me once a week, but sometimes it is necessary to meet more often for better containment, regulation, or depth work. Termination occurs when your goals have been met and you feel that you can maintain the progress on your own.
Just as there are many types of therapists or counselors, there are many kinds and techniques of therapy. Many therapists use a combination of approaches. I will briefly describe the theories I use in my practice. It is difficult to determine how long the process of change will take.
I work with children, adolescents, and adults, in individual therapy. Individual psychotherapy can facilitate the recovery and healing process of medical and mental disorders by:
Loving and supportive relationships are necessary for optimum health and well-being. We all strive for healthier relationships yet we can get off track at times. I am committed to helping couples get on track and stay on track to a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Typically, couples or families seek help when there is a conflict between members, a crisis, or a severe medical or mental disorder in a member. In all cases, the integrity of the couple or family feels threatened, and members are looking for a way to feel safe in their most intimate relationships.
Conjoint therapy includes spouses or unmarried partners. Family therapy may include two or more family members, other than spouses or partners. Usually family therapy involves parents and children, and sometimes extended family members. One of the benefits of all relationships is that taking a closer look at your relationships—and, specifically, the nature of your experience in your relationships—gives you access to some of the most useful information you can get for your own personal growth and development. With this in mind, I can help couples grow both as partners, and as individuals. Relationships that make room for the growth and development of each individual are the most rewarding and satisfying.
I usually begin conjoint or family therapy by meeting individual members first and getting a good history of the relationships and problems from different perspectives. By meeting individually first, family members often feel less defensive about being exposed or attacked by others, and can often speak more freely. I can also see what challenges there are to healthy connections and change.
Each partner or family member usually fears being identified as "the problem" or "sick one." Most of the time, however, "the problem," as identified by the couple or family, is actually a symptom of another dysfunction. In working with couples or families, I am not looking for "the culprit." My role is not to judge individuals as good or bad. I am looking for faulty interactions and unproductive patterns of communication. To correct these patterns, I am looking for flexibility and "agents of change" in the partnership or family system. People are usually relieved when they discover that the treatment process does not replicate the conflicts and patterns at home.