Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Psychotherapy is a process designed to help you when one or more problems in your life are often negatively affecting you, your relationships, your job, your eating habits, or your sleep, and you have been unable to resolve these problems on your own. You may feel trapped in a situation with no alternative or notice yourself getting into self-defeating or unfulfilling situations again and again. You might feel worried, sad, or angry frequently and without understanding the cause for these unpleasant feelings or you might know what is causing these emotions but feel unable to do anything about the cause or the feelings. Most importantly, you might find your problem not improving or getting worse no matter what you do and decide you can’t or don’t want to keep on trying without some professional help. Engaging in therapy with an open heart and an open mind is an investment in yourself and in the people important to you.
Although I draw from many perspectives, I am primarily a Systems and Structural therapist, which means I am generally solution-focused and view life problems in the context of the repeating patterns of behavior by and between people and the structures (relationships) these patterns create. Such therapy generally is relatively short-term (lasting perhaps a few months) but might last longer for more serious or intractable problems, especially those that have persisted for a long time or when the client wishes to engage in a deeper exploration. It is not unusual for therapy to end and then resume when a new, difficult problem arises or when you find yourself in a situation similar to the one that brought you to seek therapy initially. “Life,” a wise person once said, “is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” Even though I am primarily problem-focused as a therapist, I accept and believe that therapy is simply a part of life, a tool you can use to understand and live the mystery as best you can.
In Individual Therapy, the focus is on your relationship with yourself and others. We meet together to examine your life and the problems that are troubling you and to consider options for making your life better.
In Couple Therapy, the focus is the couple’s relationship, their patterns of communication, frequently dealing with the issues of intimacy (including but not limited to sexuality), power, or competition.* If there are children, co-parenting counseling may be a part of the work.
Family Therapy focuses on the structure of the family and the interactions (communication) between and among family members in order to encourage positive change. A family can be any strong unit of people with relationships intended to be long-term but who might or might not be related by blood or marriage. Families might consist of one or more married or unmarried adults with one or more children and might include people of other generations, such as grandparents. It is not unusual for families to enter into Family Therapy because of a serious problem one member of the family is having. Because of the importance of the relationships in families, however, if one member is having a serious problem, usually everyone in the family is affected, and everyone has a part in the healing.*
Reunification Therapy is a specialized form of Family Therapy. During or after divorce or separation that includes a child or children and an unfamiliar or estranged parent, parents may agree to seek or the court may require Reunification Therapy. Reunification Therapy is designed to attempt to develop or heal the relationship between a parent and child or children, who may be unfamiliar to or estranged from that parent for a variety of reasons. Reunification Therapy aims at reuniting the child or children and the parent, often under the watchful eye of the court. [NOTE: In some cases, the therapist may be required to report to the court the progress of the therapy or other information a judge may want.]
Reunification Therapy can provide the parent and the child with the opportunity to develop or heal their relationship under safe circumstances.* Without such therapy, the court may not allow contact (“visitation”) between the unfamiliar or estranged parent and the child or children. The parent and child or children may receive therapy individually and/or together in an attempt to help each of them express their feelings and to allow the healing process to proceed.
If parents agree to or a court orders Reunification Therapy, the unfamiliar or estranged parent must follow all rules set out by the agreement or order. The parent who has primary care (“custody”) of the child or children also must follow the agreement or order and may be involved in or at least made aware of the proceedings of the Reunification Therapy as the therapist deems appropriate, as the parents have agreed, and/or as the court permits or orders.
*If there are concerns about violence, chemical dependency, or any other problem that creates safety concerns, these must be addressed appropriately before couple or family therapy can be effective. It will not be possible for therapy to be successful if any family member is afraid another family member will become violent or if any family member is impaired by a chemical substance. A parent alleging to have been the victim of domestic violence by the other parent should discuss such concerns with me prior to the onset of couple or family therapy.