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1. What therapy approach(es) do you utilize? What issues do you specify treatment for?
In my work I generally use a combination of clinical approaches. Those used most often would be cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and relational therapies focused on patterns of interaction. Whenever possible I use what I call 'impact metaphors' to assist clients with sensory integration, processing, and continuous dialogue about problems and solutions. I work with many children struggling with mood/emotions, anxiety, unhappiness about home life and conflict with parents, peer issues in school, as well self-harming and suicidal behaviors. With adults I often see those struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship problems (marital, divorce, co-parenting), challenges associated with parenting adolescents, work stress, family/work balance, and dissatisfaction about health and wellness factors (weight, medical issues, and self-concept).
2. How does one know if therapy is right for them?
Therapy is probably right for you after having been repeatedly unsuccessful with your efforts at problem-solving, or changing. When stuck in your thoughts and behaviors, you might seem to create the same dissatisfying solution time and time again. Therapy is a way to allow an impartial and trained professional help you process those thoughts and feelings to create movement beyond what has been already considered. You do not have to be clinically depressed or have significant mental illness to take advantage of the benefits of counseling. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, counseling would surely be an appropriate step towards safety and improvements. Even after starting counseling, you do not have to remain with the same clinician. In order for the therapy process to work to its fullest, you must have a therapeutic relationship with the professional. You must feel safe and not judged, respected, understood, listened to, and have a sense that your therapist is focused on your goals and needs.
3. What can one expect to gain from therapy?
At the very least I believe people can gain some sense of relief from therapy by merely talking through their dilemma in a professional setting, or with a professional person. Being able to hear what you are thinking sometimes makes a difference alone. Moreover, having a therapist reflect on what you are saying can sometimes trigger alternative experiences about your internal thoughts. This would be different from friends and family. The latter are more likely than therapists to side with you, or give direct advice about what you should do. Although friends and family mean well, their advice can sometimes maintain the same emotional stance that has kept you stuck. Therapists will take a less emotional stance while helping you explore your own beliefs, values, fears, worries, and so on. This process has potential to create new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with your concerns and goals. As such, therapists can help you identify your goals, monitor progress, and facilitate self-reflective problem-solving for achievement.
4. What is unique about you as a therapist?
What seems to be somewhat unique to me is my focus on metaphors in therapy. Metaphors are not something I expand upon from time-to-time, but have become more encompassing in what I do on a daily basis. I truly believe in the power of metaphors as a way to capture, or package, a multitude of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in vividly symbolic images. These images become a cornerstone for therapy discussions and can expand client stories/perspectives about themselves, others, life, problems, etc. Metaphors that have an impact on clients are typically discussed repeatedly throughout the course of therapy, they change or morph into other areas of focus, and they are remembered far beyond the wall of the therapy office. I believe my metaphorical therapy sessions delve deepest and extend farthest into client lives.
5. What relationship exists between mental health and substance abuse?
The relationship between mental health and substance abuse is a close one. Struggles with mental functioning/thought disturbances, having depression, anxiety, or other related conditions can lead to maladaptive coping, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution strategies. One of these is substance abuse. Mind altering substances are enticing when experiencing psychological distress, and especially when distress is prolonged or chronic. However, this momentary escape will confound those existing conditions, stressors and problems. An ensuing pattern of using substances to cope during psychological distress is the born. Because of the power of patterns and difficulty breaking these cycles, the backchannel effects are more psychological distress and more substance abuse. So, the relationship between mental health and substance abuse is close intertwined. This short brief is not meant to be an encompassing description of the relationship between mental health and substance abuse, nor to exhaust the contributory factors associated therein.
Greenville , NC 27858