Good therapy gets to the heart of the matter, typically, within 6 to 8 sessions. It is about helping you to undo and relinquish unpleasant or negative emotions, which are sustained by certain unidentified thought patterns and core beliefs. When you can get right to the feelings; when you can identify the “inner conversation” that you play to yourself over and over it is often a very rapid process of letting the feelings go.
Between each session, I will give you homework which will reinforce our sessions together. Therapy is not only about helping you deal with the problem for which you are seeking help but also to teach you some powerful tools which you can use for the rest of your life in virtually any troublesome situation. (see The Art of Letting Go article). Out of our sessions together you will:
- Identify and pinpoint unwanted or troubling emotions in various areas of your life
- Identify unfinished emotions from your past
- Learn to take an accurate “emotional pulse”
- Learn to take responsibility for your emotions and your ego
- Learn to evaluate your emotions as either helpful or hurtful to your peace of mind
- Discern when to communicate feelings and when to deal with it “inside”
- Learn the Art of Letting Go process
- Learn to replace your negative emotions with new possibilities of thinking, feeling and perceiving
How Long Does Therapy Usually Last?
Typically, the length of therapy is tailored to your unique situation and individual needs. Some people need a more protracted relationship with a therapist to address the many facets of a problem for which they are seeking help. If you are coming in with your partner or family members, therapy is a place to open up honest communication, which may take several or many sessions (see Marriage Counseling Orange County). Others look to the therapeutic environment for periodic support to get them through a difficult time while some appreciate on-going support for their everyday lives and thus use the therapeutic environment to kind of “check in” with themselves on a weekly or sometimes monthly basis. Yet others look to a therapist for some direct answers or help with making a decision, which is generally a short-term endeavor. Ultimately, I believe, the length of therapy should be a function of the accomplishment of your purpose and goals. And the clearer you are with your goals, the more certain you will be when it is time to end. But even though the ending of therapy may be goal determined, I believe it is always helpful to set a flexible time frame when therapy will be over. This insures that therapy is not an open-ended process. And my goal is to make myself unnecessary in your life in the least amount of time.
What Brings People Into Therapy?
While each person is unique, there are two basic perspectives on why people seek help. The first view is situational. For example, you are struggling with a problem, a difficulty, or a relationship. The problem seems to be “out there” in your external world or perhaps “between” you and another as in a marriage or relationship. Perhaps it has to do with somebody’s undesirable behavior, or you find yourself in a difficult situation, or you are uncertain about “what to do” about a particular circumstance. Thus you might seek out the services of a professional to help you solve the problem and determine your choices.
Another way of looking at your motivation is that you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling or emotion. The problem is more “in here”. You are struggling with an inner experience or negative behavior that affects your happiness and well-being. Anger, depression, sadness, anxiety resentment, hurt, loss and so on are all examples of undesirable feelings. Overeating, substance use or poor performance on a job or at school are examples of undesirable behavior. It is useful to recognize that undesirable behavior and emotions often go hand in hand. Negative emotions fuel negative behavior. And trying to change a behavior without dealing with the underlying emotions often does not work (as in New Year’s resolutions) because it does not get to the root of the problem.
Whether you are coming in with a situation or undesirable feeling or behavior, you may eventually discover that the root of many of your problems is really centered on how you feel about yourself. This is how many problems are often reframed in therapy anyway, that is, to help you see that “the problem” isn’t so much “out there” but rather in what you are doing to, and feeling about, yourself. When the problem is “out there” or when it is about undesirable behavior either in yourself or another you often find yourself helpless to deal with it because you are not getting to the root cause. Sooner or later you realize that “trying to change” the undesirable (either in yourself or in others) often brings about the opposite result–no change at all (see article on Getting the Most out of Therapy). If you can grasp the notion that the problem is within you; that your problem is your own emotional response and negative thinking; that it is the feelings that you hold about yourself or others, then maybe short-term therapy is all that you need.
Taking the First Step
If you would like to set an appointment or if you have any questions call (877-372-8784) or email me. The next step will be to download the Intake Questionnaire which will give me an overview of your situation and background. We will go over this information in more detail during our first session, which is primarily meant for information gathering and to establish goals for therapy. During this first session we will identify the emotions and major areas of your life that will be the focus of our work.