What to expect

There are so many misconceptions about and stereotypes of a “counseling session.” Some may include the presence of a therapist couch where the “patient” lies down and says whatever comes to mind, whilst the “doctor” rarely speaks. Others may include the harried guidance counselor, thumbing through records as students wait in line outside the office. From one extreme to another, we all have some preconception of what to expect. And the counseling setting that you will visit can also vary greatly from one therapist to the next. And these settings reflect the particular approaches that an individual therapist adopts.

One common theme that I have observed is that regardless of counseling approach, they are effective only when a therapist addresses the unique personality, needs, and style of each client. One thing I have learned over these years is that one approach does not work with every client. Moreover, individual therapists work better with some approaches compared to others, and some clients and not others. 

In my counseling sessions, my clients and I adopt varied approaches based on the qualities that we both bring to the counseling “table.” My own integrative approach considers the whole of a person, including personal and relationship stressors, past traumas, presenting symptoms, and your own personal goals at the outset. I also advocate for a holistic approach and welcome collaboration between you, your other providers, and myself.

As a social scientist by training, I adopt approaches that are evidence-based. These includes those approaches that have been shown to be successful previously, as documented in the research literature, as well as in my own personal experience.

I am committed to understanding and processing your emotional and cognitive beliefs about yourself and your life and how these interact with your own personal goals. No one can be truly understood without taking into account their relationships, both past and present. Often, we will uncover patterns in your life that can be understood as related to cognitions, emotions, and your romantic, friend, and family relationships. If these patterns are not good for you, then we can work to interrupt these patterns on all fronts, namely by challenging your view of self and others, and the concomitant symptoms that you experience as a result.

I do draw from many theoretical orientations, such as cognitive, relational, trauma-informed as well as others such as attachment theory, somatic experiencing, and psychodynamic. I look at the sweeping approaches that we will likely adopt, based on all of the above.

Regardless of our approach, I can assure you that our success is built upon trust, openness, and mutual respect.