It is never too late to begin awakening your spark for love and creativity! I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Northeast Portland, Oregon. I offer private counseling and life coaching sessions for couples and individuals, as well as workshops at my office in NE Portland, Oregon.
In therapy, do I have to lie on a couch and talk while you write down what I say?
The way I utilize sessions is more interactive. I will ask questions, act as a sounding board, guide you, and even challenge you. I work to help you gain more awareness and insight and perhaps a different perspective. I also bring in activities and exercises and will ask you to do homework between sessions. I use movement in my practice, so it can be a full body experience. I think that there is only so much we can do through talk therapy; by getting the whole body involved in the process, you can move through something that may be stuck. Back To Top
How long will I have to go to therapy?
The amount of time you will be in therapy is dependent on multiple factors. Some people just want to work on a certain issue and are finished when that’s resolved; others continue to work on other issues that come up. Therapy is not a quick fix; think of how long you have been in a certain dynamic. It takes time to get into patterns and time to change those. Real change takes work/play and time, which is why homework is important—it allows you to practice in your every day life, come back and talk about the challenges and continue to practice. Back To Top
How often will I need to come in?
Committing to several sessions can be helpful; it builds trust with your therapist and allows you to settle into the relationship. At the beginning of our work, I would like to see you once a week. I think there is more accountability with coming in once a week as well as continued movement forward. Some people like to come in less often as issue(s) get better—or once it’s doesn’t feel like such a crisis—we can taper off. Although once out of a crisis is often a great time to continue once a week because there is not the same level of stress and we can really dive in. The schedule is a conversation; we can discuss what makes the most sense. Back To Top
How do I know if I need therapy?
A lot of highly functional people utilize therapy for different reasons. Some use it as a support, or a sounding board. Some people come in for a crisis and want to continue on other issues after the crisis has abated. If something is not working well in your life, your relationship(s), or your job, talking to an objective third party who doesn’t take sides can be very helpful. Back To Top
What will happen in the first session?
We will talk about what has been going on, what you want to see happen and how you will know when you are done with therapy. I will answer any questions that you may have about the process and about our therapeutic relationship. We will discuss what has and has not worked in the past. I will probably give you homework so that you can practice new skills and behaviors in your everyday life. The first session is also about getting to know each other, to see how we work together, so that we can make sure it is a good fit. Back To Top
What sort of homework do you give?
Homework depends on the issues. It is a chance to practice what we talk about/do in therapy into your everyday life. I will see you for a short amount of time in relation to the hours in your day/week. By practicing what is brought up in therapy, you are able to integrate it into your life. Sometimes it is hard to practice in your everyday life, and then we will talk about the challenges and obstacles. Back To Top
How does therapy work? When will I see changes?
Therapy works by bringing more awareness and insight into issues, dynamics, and commitments that we are acting out in life. Some people may see a quick change, and with others it may take some time. Part of it depends on your commitment to making a change; some people aren’t aware there is a problem, others know there is a problem but aren’t sure what to do, and others are aware and are ready to make a change. We can see what we are committed to by looking at what is going on in our lives. We will work to bring those unconscious commitments to the surface and create conscious commitments on which you can follow through. Back To Top
What if my partner doesn’t want to come?
There are a couple of options. You can come alone and we can work together; change can happen with one person, because that shifts the dynamics.
Encourage your partner by letting them know that you want to make things better and that it would be helpful to you if they came. Take responsibility by using “I” statements. For example:
“I don’t like how I sometimes react when you _______ , and I would like to learn how to react differently. I think it would be easier if you were there.”
“I think that you feel upset (or frustrated, angry, sad) when I __________ . Will you come to therapy with me so that we can work this out?”
“I want to improve our relationship and would appreciate if you would be a part of that.”
It can be easy to get into name calling or blaming. If you can take the responsibility and be a little vulnerable, your partner will be more likely to come, knowing they are part of the solution. Don’t resort to guilt trips (or manipulations, threats, or coercion), as this will make things worse in the long run. Back To Top
What if my partner isn’t a big talker?
That is okay. If they are willing to come in, that’s the first step. We can address that in the session because it is probably a dynamic that affects other areas of your life together. Back To Top
What if one or both of us are thinking of ending the relationship?
I would suggest that you both commit to 12 sessions before making such a big decision; actually commit and not just go through the motions because that is a waste of time and money. After this amount of time I believe that you will have a much better idea of how much work it will take to improve your relationship. You can then decide if you are ready to do that work and if you want to do so with your current partner. If you do end the relationship later, you will be acting with wisdom and confidence rather than reacting out of pain and hurt. Back To Top
How do I know if it is working?
Whenever you’re feeling stuck in your life or repeating the same patterns, you are playing out a dynamic. With the skills you learn in therapy, you’ll start to notice this, take a different perspective on it, play with it, and move through it with ease. You will reach new levels of fun, love, passion, and creativity in your life. Back To Top