I believe that the quality of the relationship I form with clients fosters long-term success. Research demonstrates that a combination of empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard are crucial in promoting client growth. I use evidence based approaches, including:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is effective with anxiety and depression. CBT involves, in part, guiding clients to identify their anxiety patterns and triggers. Often, individuals feel hopeless in managing anxiety they have no control over their anxious thoughts. CBT teaches individuals to replace irrational or negative thought processes with more affirming thought and beliefs, which diminishes anxiety. In addition, CBT includes relaxation training, such as meditation and visualization.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): The goal of DBT skills training is to help individuals increase resilience and build a life worth living. Mindfulness skills teach how to observe ad experience reality as it is, to be less judgmental and to live in the moment with effectiveness. Interpersonal Effectiveness skills help to manage interpersonal conflicts and maintain and improve relationships with other people – those you are close to, as well as strangers. Emotion Regulation skills teach how to decrease the frequency of unwanted emotions, decrease emotional vulnerability and suffering. Distress Tolerance skills help individuals learn to tolerate painful events, urges, and emotions when you cannot make things better right away, and to reduce suffering by helping you accept and enter fully into a life even when it is not the life you want.
The counseling relationship is a collaboration. I expect clients to commit to practicing skills, mindfulness, etc. intentionally and consistently. Sometimes workbooks can be helpful for clients between sessions. Effective counseling requires structure, including a treatment plan with measureable, attainable goals and objectives. I am always open to feedback, both verbally and through the use of the Helping Alliance Questionnaire.
There are many benefits, as well as risks, associated with counseling. Clients will experience uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration. Counseling may bring up painful memories, or disrupt a relationship. These changes are to be expected when an individual is making important changes in his or her life.
The benefits of counseling have been demonstrated in hundreds of well-designed research studies. Client’s relationships, communication skills, and coping skills may improve significantly. Client’s personal goals will become clearer, and clients will likely develop more confidence in their ability to achieve those goals. With the insight that counseling can provide, clients often grow in many ways. I strongly believe that every individual can reach his or her full potential and become happier and better adjusted in his or her life. I do not take on clients that I do not think I can help. I will begin the process with optimism about our progress.
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