Therapy Style, continued…

Another important part of my therapy style is seeking and developing Exceptions. Exceptions are times/places/relationships when the problem does NOT present itself.

It can be argued that some suffering is part of the human condition; however, the worst problems have a way of becoming a dominant theme, encroaching on multiple areas of life. I help people develop problem-free zones. Articulating and building these exceptional experiences helps develop nuanced awareness and the increased personal agency required to respond to difficulties.

Therapy Style

When asked about my therapy style, people often want to know two things: what are some of my core assumptions? how do I relate to clients?

  • I understand that people have variation, including biological variation. One person may be fundamentally different from other people.
  • An individual’s biochemistry and personality may vary and adapt throughout time.
  • A pattern of thoughts/emotions/and actions may be described as a relational template. Relational templates that are adaptive in a previous context may become generalized into other parts of a person’s life. Unfortunately, the generalizations may become problematic in newer contexts. In that case, the person may revise their thoughts/emotions/actions.
  • I position myself as a collaborator with the client. Rather than take a prescriptive approach or a passive approach, I solicit the client’s participation. I expect clients to challenge themselves while I am an active respondent. We share power and control so that new dynamics and opportunities develop.

Trauma and Avoidance

Trauma often disrupts or prevents otherwise healthy relationships. One way to conceptualize this effect is through Attachment Theory, specifically the avoidant attachment style. People with avoidant attachment may provide vague descriptions of past events, idealize a person in a previous context, dismiss many problems, devalue intimacy, and over-emphasize self-reliance. With such clients, the therapist’s first task is to develop a safe relationship where a client can tolerate connection, exposure, and vulnerability. When a person experiences this vulnerability within a secure connection, he or she has a corrective emotional experience and may enhance other safe relationships.

Approach to Problems

Many people avoid problems–or at least avoid discussing them. Some people experience total defeat when a solution does not appear immediately. Here is an approach to problems I encourage and utilize in my practice:

-Problems are discussable.
-Most problems do not require an immediate resolution.
-Exposing problems may enhance opportunities and choices.