Philosophy of Therapy
Therapy at a Glance
Real growth and change is very hard work but it’s also extraordinarily rewarding!! Staying stuck and falling in the same hole again and again is frustrating and boring. A meaningful therapy experience can help us grow and become better versions of ourselves. The word “psychotherapy” in Greek literally means “soul healing.” Psychotherapy can radically change how a person thinks, feels, and relates to self, others, and even God. At its best, psychotherapy is holistic ~ strengthening mind, heart, body, and spirit. Greater love, joy, peace, wisdom, and purpose are some of the fruits of good therapy. Developing new insights, skills, and capacities can lead to wiser decision-making, coping with stress more effectively, and having stronger, more fulfilling, relationships.
The following writing, is to help you get a sense of me and to offer a brief description of how I understand therapy as promoting healing, growth, and change. This is a simplified picture! What therapy will look like for you will of course depend upon you and your interests, needs, and specific situation, and how hard you are willing to work to bring about constructive change into your life. I primarily work from a cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and relational psychoanalytic perspective, which is a form of depth psychology which values a person's past, present, future and seeks to bring about lasting change by increasing self-awareness within the context of a honest and life-giving therapeutic relationship. I view insight and relationship as 2 key-interwoven factors which support significant grow and change.
“My real love is new understanding”-psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut
In order to solve a problem, one must first understand it. Identifying and working through the specific problems and issues which are hindering your life and relationships is generally what therapy is all about. Moreover, helping you to understand the underlying causes of your difficulties is essential. Unhealthy thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and relationship patterns tend to get repeated if they are not fully understood and worked through at a deep level. Gaining a deeper understanding of how your own mind works (i.e., developing greater psychological awareness) will help you build a stronger wiser mind so you can make better choices and live better.
“It’s the relationship that heals, the relationship that heals, the relationship that heals—my professional rosary” –practicing psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom
An amazing study by Orlinsky and colleagues (1986) reviewed hundreds of studies that examined successful psychotherapy outcomes. They found that the most important factor in determining the therapy’s success was the quality of the emotional connection between patient and therapist. It wasn’t the therapist’s theory or theoretical orientation that mattered most, it was the relationship. 1
Relationships which effect the most change are the ones in which we are "simultaneously deeply engaged, challenged, and supported."2 Relationships which provide the security and freedom to tell the truth and explore the deepest parts of one's self are the meaningful relationships which heal.
In conclusion, cognitive insight alone, about one's particular psychology, is rarely enough to bring about lasting change. Simply being told that one's thoughts are irrational and one's behavior is self-defeating typically doesn't guarantee healthier thoughts and actions. In order to truly form healthier thoughts, feelings, and actions a new healthier model of relationship needs to be experienced and internalized. As a phenomenal psychology professor once shared with his psychology students, "A person will choose life when they are able to internalize a healthy relationship." Human persons survive and thrive best in good relationships, always. Louis Cozolino (2010) The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (p.30)  Daniel J. Siegel and Marion F. Solomon (2003) Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, Brain (p.232)
"Little by little, one travels far.”
Clients Who Report the Most Progress Often:
- Come to therapy consistently 1 or 2x per week
- Value therapy as an important aspect of their lives
- Use what they learn outside of therapy
- Are as open and honest as possible about what’s truly bothering them
- Assume personal responsibility when necessary
- Are engaged in life and relationships outside of therapy