It is important that each client set his or her own goals. Your goals will guide our therapy sessions. If you are unsure of what your goals are, we will spend the first few sessions exploring what you would like to gain out of therapy, while building a trusting rapport. I do use cognitive behavioral techniques, which I find very useful when giving clients homework. Homework will usually consist of ways to apply what we have processed in therapy. Thoughts, feelings and behaviors are intertwined. Cognitive Behavioral therapy helps you to find the connections of how each of these may contribute to the issues that brought you to therapy. In my therapy sessions you can expect to have an empathetic listener who does not pass judgment on your lifestyle, choices, or your past. You will find compassionate dedication and attention to the difficulties you are currently experiencing. I will encourage you to discover new insights, problem-solving techniques, communication skills, and to search out new talents and passions.
Play therapy is the technique that I primarily use with children age 4 through 11. I find that sand tray boxes with different figurines, puppetry, dolls, art work, stories, and various therapeutic games help children to act out specific traumas, feelings, and thoughts.
I have helped develop and facilitate a program with the Superior Courts of Orange County. I speak to thousands of kids about their chains and what holds them back from finding their purpose in life, processing with them that sometimes we can find purpose through the pain. I have also realized that the issues teens are having are highly related to pain, grief, loss, and especially PTSD.
My therapy sessions tend to be more creative with the teens. Teens can become bored quickly and my role is to keep them actively engaged. I do meet individually with teens in my office, although some teens prefer a "teen life coach". The role of a life coach at times involves taking the client out into the community and giving them personal guidance to reach goals they have set. This is something that can be decided during the free phone consultation.
I begin all family sessions by first making a list of each family member's strengths. These strengths will be our compass when dealing with conflict and hurt during each session. Part of my goal is to observe interactions between family members. Another part is to observe the perception of non-interacting family members. If two family members get into an argument in a session, I may want to know how the other family members are dealing with the disagreement or the way in which the two fighting members present their conflict during the session.
One of my main objectives will be for the family to reflect on better ways of communicating with each other. Family counseling may in part be instruction and encouragement. Family counseling often teaches family members new and more positive ways to communicate to replace old, negative communication patterns.
Observations may also be used to point out how poor communication, especially when edged with a negative and aggressive tone, affects the behavior and happiness of children. Children can benefit from the safe environment of a session. This time may allow them to process the things they don't like about behavior of caregivers and/or siblings. This particular processing may not be permitted in the home setting. As a therapist it is not my intention to find faults in parenting styles or to point out "bad" parenting. My goal is allowing the family to begin to discover a more positive approach when interacting together, in lieu of negative communications and hurtful behaviors.
Family counseling may not take a long time to complete. Often families benefit from four to five sessions. Sometimes families require more help and might need 20-30 sessions to resolve significant or ongoing family issues.
Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Couples counseling helps couples, married or not, recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. My main focus with my couples is to increase positive and constructive communication. During therapy sessions there will be role-playing exercises to begin to practice different communication styles and positive response methods. I am a neutral presence in the therapy room. My role is not to pick sides, but to hear both sides and help each of you understand each other's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Through marriage, pre-marital, or couples counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or, in some cases, going your separate ways.