Psychotherapy is a process of exposure; a confidential* means of learning. Client and therapist work together to discover what situations, events and relationships are leaving you with distressing feelings or dysfunctional coping mechanisms. You work toward attaining fresh perspectives and powerful tools to conceptualize your experiences, beliefs and thoughts. Your actions become based less on defenses and hurt and more on understanding and choice.
Psychotherapy looks at the client and the many multifaceted components that have played a role in making every person distinctive. Psychotherapy assumes that there are aspects of our lives that we are not fully aware of which can act as a barrier, limiting our ability to function healthfully. Without active exploration both in session and at home, hidden assumptions, expectations and memories end up generating and perpetuating stress.
Depending on the client and situation, a psychotherapist may take on several roles including those of educator, facilitator, confidant and conflict resolution advocate. All of these roles serve to aid in the achievement of a more fulfilled and realized self.
Along with achieving personal insight, the psychotherapy process allows you to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of who you are, helping you come to terms with both your personal and interpersonal struggles. Ultimately, your energy no longer needs to be directed towards maintaining defenses, allowing time to refocus on establishing positive interactions in all aspects of your life.
When successful, psychotherapy creates a synthesis of intellectual knowledge and emotional understanding. Because self-exploration can often be challenging and painful, therapy often takes more than a few sessions. Fifty minute sessions provide the opportunity to become more comfortable with yourself and your world. This non-judgmental process slowly becomes integrated into your internal experience and lasts long after the journey of therapy has concluded.
* Though confidentiality is paramount to a successful working relationship, psychotherapists are bound by some limits including harm to self or others, child/elder abuse etc. I encourage all current and potential clients to ask about these limits as questions or concerns arise.