With no two therapies looking alike, defining the experience of therapy can be a difficult task. Nevertheless, my approach to therapy is grounded in psychodynamic methods, which allows me to give some “basic expectations” of the therapeutic process. First and foremost, therapy is not always linear. Patients will often feel an initial relief, but as therapy continues, other feelings and distress might arise as concerns are discussed and worked through.
At the beginning of therapy, goals are often discussed. However, many patients’ goals will change, or after reaching a goal, they decide to continue with therapy to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. In this vein, it is often not possible to predict the duration of therapy. Progress and insight cannot be forced, and deep-rooted patterns of thinking, feeling, and interacting will not begin to change until the individual’s psyche is ready and willing. It is our natural tendency to cling to our thoughts and beliefs about the world, particularly given that many of our emotional struggles originate in childhood. As a result, we are not always aware of why we do the things we do, and it can be challenging to see how engrained methods of adapting are no longer effective. Although people seek out therapy for many reasons, some of the common concerns include: not feeling like yourself or as if in a funk; anxiety; sadness/depression; loneliness; difficulties with life transitions; feeling blocked or unmotivated; loss; relationship concerns.
Through the support and trust of a therapist, coupled with feeling understood in the process of sharing one’s experience, an individual can gain valuable insight into their feelings and behavior, challenge previously held beliefs, make better decisions, and ultimately become more accepting and comfortable with who they are. This philosophy extends to all ages. While children, adolescents, and adults all have unique ways of sharing, the task of therapy remains the same.