In my time working as a therapist in Palo Alto, patients and prospective patients have often asked how I work to achieve improvement and change. Though the answer to these inquiries is somewhat complex and multi-layered, it is certainly important to explore it.
My approach is eclectic, which is to say that I borrow from a variety of different treatment traditions and philosophies when treating patients. By far the most important element of treatment for me is the close and intimate connection between the therapist and the patient. I believe strongly that forming and nurturing that connection is a large part of the work. This is true because we know that it is the honest and open sharing in the context of an intimate relationship that creates therapeutic change.
Beyond the constant focus on the connection between therapist and patient, I also utilize some of the following:
(1) Symptom reduction approaches that focus on a clear identification of the symptoms that the patient wishes to shift and/or reduce and coming up with an individualized approach to reducing or eliminating those symptoms. This involves a plan upon which I and the patient collaborate so that we both know what our goals are and how we plan to achieve them.
(2) Cognitive-behavioral approaches that focus on working with patients to understand in detail their thought patterns, the core beliefs that underlie those thought patterns and the behaviors that result from the patterns and beliefs. We can then work together at changing both thinking and behavior patterns in ways that reduce discomfort, increase pleasure and render the patient as happier and more functional.
(3) Investigative inquiries where I invite the patient to openly and honestly share about the situation that is causing difficulties, engage in a dialogue about the way in which the situation is causing pain or dysfunction, and work together at coming up with practical ways to shift the situation or pattern.
(5) Depth psychotherapy that focuses on helping the patient access and better understand thoughts, feelings and images that are not fully conscious. By working with more unconscious material, the patient can learn to become more integrated and whole and not be driven by patterns that were previously not consciously accessible.
(6) Gestalt approaches that focus on accessing different parts of the patient’s personality and character and seek to integrate them. By working with the different parts of the patient (such as the inner child, the teenager in us all, the student, the worker, etc.), the patient can experience a wholeness that combines the different parts into a larger whole.
(7) Value-based approaches that invite the patient to both discover and commit to his/her core values in order to imagine and then create a more meaningful and congruent life.
(8) Spiritual approaches that allow the patient to connect with religious and/or spiritual traditions, if the patient has a belief in and/or commitment to such traditions, to assist in the healing process.
(9) Collaboration with family and other professionals including physicians, psychiatrists, parents (in the case of adolescents and teenagers), school counselors, teachers, etc. so that I have a comprehensive picture of the patient and how to help him/her.
As indicated, the core of the therapeutic relationship is the moment-to-moment connection between the therapist and the patient. The best way to imagine how therapy works is that the therapist creates a safe and protected place where the therapist and patient can, together, find ways to make the patient’s life more comfortable, more functional, more productive and more meaningful. It is to these things that my work is devoted.
If you are seeking individual therapy with a therapist or licensed psychologist in Palo Alto, call me today at (650) 321-6372 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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