I love the different ages and stages of my clientele. My work with children enhances my work with adults and my work with adults enhances my work with children. The approach, however, is very different. I have three different approaches to counseling adults:
Acute Problem-Focused Therapy
is for individuals who, despite years of living a relatively happy and healthy life, find current challenges overwhelming and are in need of some support. Persistent Patterned-Focused Therapy
is right for individuals who have had a lifetime of dysfunctional patterns getting in the way of achieving a happy, healthy life. Motivational Counseling
is right for individuals who need support as they venture through life.
1.) Acute Problem-Focused Counseling:
Acute Problem-Focused Therapy is for individuals who, despite years of living a relatively happy and healthy life, find current challenges overwhelming and are in need of some support. Acute issues are immediate in nature and most clients want quick relief. Examples are when a client is transitioning jobs, acclimating to a new location, coping with the loss of a friend, parenting a challenging stage in their child's development, or anxious over a major life decision. In these cases, I work to create an empathetic environment in which we can analyze and assess your goal, problem-solve and add skills, evaluate change, ensure change, and follow that change up two to four weeks after our work is completed to make sure that change is continuing.
Acute counseling might take four to 12 sessions.
2.) Persistent Patterned-Focused Therapy:
Persistent Patterned-Focused Therapy is right for individuals who have had a lifetime of dysfunctional patterns getting in the way of achieving a happy, healthy life. Persistent patterns are long-term beliefs, emotional reactions, and behaviors that either encourage or discourage one's health, happiness, and goals. Persistent patterns are in a sort of continual feedback loop due to unconscious beliefs and behaviors that occur automatically and often without the benefit of fore-thought. Unless you become aware of the beliefs and patterns that keep you stuck, they will continue to direct your life. For example, you might have had anxiety very early in your life and adopted behaviors and a narrative around these patterns that keep you from achieving your goals today. You might unconsciously believe that the anxiousness drives you, and that without it you will be lazy -- so you resist giving up the anxious drive. When you become aware of this dynamic, you can consciously guide yourself to new, helpful beliefs and behaviors that assist you toward your goal.
Persistent Patterned Therapy is all about becoming conscious of your beliefs, emotional reactions, and behavior patterns and as needed replacing them with healthy beliefs, healthy emotional reactions, and healthy behavior patterns. We do this through empathy, trust, assessment, investigation, homework, compassion, understanding, practice, and above all consciousness. The difference between free will and determinism is awareness. Free will is a state in which one can freely direct one's choices, make changes, and choose one's path. Determinism is a state in which one is unable to direct one's life because patterns are set and thus determine one's choice. I have found that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive but are on opposite ends of the same continuum. We are on neither one end nor the other. Those of us who are highly aware and mindful of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors exercise greater free will than those who unconsciously live day to day.
We hear a lot about mindfulness, consciousness, or presence. These terms basically refer to the action of alertness and presence of mind. When one is learning a new behavior, one is consciously engaged in the actions. When that behavior is memorized, one is less conscious of the action. People are not as aware of their learned thoughts or emotional reactions. Once learned, however, both healthy and unhealthy habits, thoughts, or feelings become a sort of unconscious pattern. For example, once we learn how to drive, we don't really think about the details of the action. This is no less true of thoughts and emotions. Thus, once we become aware of them, we can replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones. For example, those who chronically get angry can adjust their belief, emotional reaction, and behavior with mindfulness. After angry patterns are replaced by conscious calm patterns, the new patterns can be practiced until they become automatic. I find that we slide back and forth on the freewill-determinism scale; it's like swimming underwater and coming up for air. The need for change demands attention, and consciousness is our ally in our pursuit for change.
The timeline varies for Persistent Patterned-Focused Therapy.
3.) Motivational Counseling-Coaching:
Motivational counseling is right for individuals who need support as they venture through life. For individuals who want encouragement, ideas, feedback, exploration, and a regular time every week to be mindful of their life and time to assess their direction, motivational counseling is the route to go. We all face many life challenges, and sometimes hiring a professional who is outside of your dynamic on a weekly or bi-monthly basis is a helpful way to: achieve goals, stay clear and focused, verbalize challenges, problem solve, stay conscious of routine behaviors and thoughts, and find inspiration. Often, clients who started to work on acute or chronic issues choose to carry over into motivational counseling as a way to maintain changes.
Motivational Counseling-Coaching timeline varies dependent on the desired support of the client.