Beginning: In the first session, we discuss what’s brought you here – what motivated you to walk through the door, and what you’d like to get out of our work together. In the next few sessions I’d like to get a sense of your history in terms of family background, important relationships, emotional patterns, sexuality, any traumas or health issues, medications – the underpinnings of who you are today. Often we can interweave this kind of history-taking with your current concerns.
Middle: Exploring your inner depths is a collaborative process, but you are the final authority on your experience. I believe in the integrity of the present moment, and find the best work is often done by focusing on what’s going on right now, at deeper levels than we are normally aware. What to talk about in a session? What’s most important in your life and in yourself in the moment; what is truly of concern to you right now. This is not the same as listing your concerns or what’s happened during the week, though it may require a few minutes of this at the beginning to set aside the cares of the day. Use the hour to delve into what really matters to you; to speak from your concern rather than about it. Therapy provides a most valuable opportunity to focus at a level of depth that’s often lacking in our lives. I will sometimes share observations, trusting that you will know what is true for you, and that you’ll let me know if you find something I do or say to be off-target. If you’re feeling stuck in therapy for several sessions in a row, or suspect that we’ve wandered off track, bring up your concerns and we’ll work to reorient ourselves.
End: How long we work together is your decision; although I find the most productive work happens in the medium to long-term context – six months to several years. Your decision to end therapy can occur at any point. Ideally it will be a natural result of the work we’ve done together, a sense of accomplishing the goals you came in with. At whatever point you decide to terminate, please let me know at least one session in advance, so that we can work together to create a good ending. In our final time together we’ll wrap up loose ends, consciously acknowledge what you’ve integrated, and define your current growing edges and how you can continue to meet them. I view therapy as an enhancement to personal growth, a way to deepen our presence in our own lives, rather than a curative remedy or a one-shot deal. As such, I find clients naturally weave in and out of therapy, responding to the rhythms and demands of life – both inner and outer.