Who goes to therapy?
A wide variety of people with a wide variety of struggles go to therapy. Sometimes clients have a specific goal for their therapy such as reduction of anxiety or depression, nurturing more fulfilling relationships, coping with life changes, recovering from trauma or difficult life events. Other times, someone may seek out therapy because of a general feeling of unhappiness, feeling unfulfilled or having a feeling that something is missing in their life. Some people seek to understand themselves better.
How long does it take?
Depending on the goal of therapy, it can take weeks or years. It is important in the therapeutic relationship that a foundation of understanding and trust is laid before heading into the really tough work, and this can take time. Although things can often start to shift for the better very quickly for the client, long-term therapy is where the big changes happen. I believe it is for you, the client, to decide on the pace and the direction of the therapy, my role as a therapist is to guide and be with you where you need to go.
How does it work?
My primary goal in the therapeutic relationship is to understand, to the best of my ability, what things are like for you. This involves more that me just listening, I often ask a lot of questions in order to fully understand your perspective or to clarify something I might feel confused about. I also sometimes offer my musings as a springboard for discussion, for you to confirm how well or how little my thoughts concur with what is going on for you. In the course of helping me understand your perspective as accurately as possible, what usually happens is that things start to make more sense to you as well; we make sense of it together. Slowly, confusion gives way to clarity, enabling less burdened life choices, and increased self-empathy.
Very often, feelings of depression, anxiety and anger lessen in the process as well.
Is what I tell my therapist confidential?
Yes. Although the client is free to discuss our work together with whomever they choose, the therapist is not. Anything said to me during our sessions (or by phone or email) will remain confidential with three exceptions. First, if I am led to believe that either you or someone else is in danger, I am obligated to report it. Second, I regularly visit with my supervisor,who is also bound by confidentiality (although any identifying information about the client is omitted from these discussions). Third, a court subpoena may direct me to share my notes.
What does it mean that you are in supervision?
I meet weekly with my supervisor to discuss my client work in order to ensure that I am providing the best therapy I can. No identifying information about my clients is shared with my supervisor, and my supervisor is also bound by confidentiality.