It can be a little overwhelming to select a therapist because counselors have a wide variety of training and special skills, and subscribe to different theoretical perspectives. However, research has shown there are a few consistent factors that contribute to positive outcomes in therapy. Whomever you choose to see, these three factors can contribute to a good outcome:
1) The quality of the the relationship between therapist and client
2) The client's inner resources and strengths are drawn upon to face the problems at hand
3) The therapist's degree of confidence that the support being provided can and will be helpful
My theoretical orientation:
My practice has been most influenced by Narrative Therapy. As the name suggests, it involves exploring how to shift the negative, problem-based stories through which we sometimes interpret ourselves, our lives or relationships, to something that serves us better. It is guided less by mastering techniques and more by honoring core principles that focus on how to think rather than what to think.
Basic ideas include:
- People are not problems (I can't remember the last time I met a person I didn't like. But I have met some really tough problems!)
- The therapist's role is to be active and influential, but the client's ideas and values are central to the work
- Curiosity is fundamental to the therapeutic process
- How we see ourselves--the story we have about who we are--will influence how we experience and understand our problems and expand or restrict what we perceive as possible solutions
- Our personal stories are powerfully influenced by family history, race, class, gender, etc. We have the agency to deliberately elevate, reject or alter elements of these stories through conscious evaluation
I have been attending trainings that support these core ideas for the last 20 years and have completed advanced certificate programs with John Stillman at Caspersen Therapy Center and Walter Bera at Kenwood Therapy Center. I also have many years of experience as a practitioner of meditation and mindfulness and am able to apply principles of Non-Violent Communication to support positive relationships.