Thoughts about Therapy

Short, Soft, Slow, Simple

Psychotherapy hinges on the therapist’s ability to listen carefully and respond appropriately.  Since people pay me for my opinions I am happy to share them.  A big part of my job includes knowing when to listen and when to talk.  Sometimes it's helpful for me to give a client a lengthy perspective about what we are discussing.  My goal is for my clients to see themselves or a situation they are dealing with in a new light. 

Questions to Deepen Self-Understanding

I've previously written about what I consider to be the major differences between counseling and psychotherapy. As a person who provides both services I know what kinds of questions can lead to deep levels of insight and healing. I've previously published a list of things to consider before your first psychotherapy or counseling appointment. I now have a new set of questions which can help increase the benefit of psychotherapy.

Two Types of Challenges

There are fundamentally two types of challenges that bring a person to a therapist's office: problems of external circumstance and problems of internal struggle.  Life puts some problems before us, while others we essentially create for ourselves. As a therapist and counselor I help people deal with both categories.

The Best One-Word Question in Psychotherapy

As a counselor and psychotherapist part of my job is to help clients explore important life issues that can bring lasting positive change.  One advice I can give to my younger colleagues in the field is to not stop too soon when exploring a particular question.  Like excavating a treasure or drilling for oil, deeper explorations can yield valuable results.

Ten Will Get You Fifty

People obviously seek psychotherapy or counseling to make changes in some part of their lives, and nobody wants to engage in a lot of effort for only minimal benefit.  I sometimes use the phrase "ten will get you fifty" to describe situations in which a small effort can yield a large reward.

You Get More Of What You Notice

This concept is not original to me (there is truly very little new under the sun) but I've found the idea that "you get more of what you notice" is so helpful that not only do I encourage my clients to put it into practice but I try to do the same in my day-to-day life.

What Would the Old You Have Done?

For a therapist, asking the perfect question at precisely the right time is an art form. I love being able to say to a client "In 25 years I have never asked this question before....." because it announces the possibility of a perspective that is truly unique to both of us.  I'm also fond of a few tried-and-true questions that have served me well for many years.  One is to ask "what would the old you have done?"

Heal Your Wounds, Honor Your Scars

"Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."     (The Princess Bride)

To be human is to hurt: pain is the price paid for the privilege of being alive. While wounds of the flesh can cause great injury, wounds of the heart and soul pierce deeper and linger longer.

Searching Where You Haven't Looked

I recently found myself feeling a bit unsettled during a therapy session with a client I've worked with for several months. Since we trust each other's instincts I described to him what I was experiencing and suggested that we review what we had just been talking about.

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