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A More Modern Approach To Therapy

The very first class I took while studying social work in 1991 provided the foundation for all work I would do with my clients, "stay where the client is". In this statement was the notion that it was more effective to meet the client where they were, rather than try to speed up the process if they weren't ready. Little did I know that this would then provide a deeper foundation as I began my quest for how to most efficiently and effectively help my clients achieve their goals and find happiness and peace of mind.

As communication began to change, so too did my practice. Prior to texting, speaking to a client in between sessions was always encouraged, but it wasn't very practical. Once I left the office I was a full time mother tending to three small children and my clients were also leading busy lives with little time to speak about something that may have been bothering them. Additionally, many of my clients simply felt uncomfortable reaching out and asking for more of my time.

As modern technology introduced email and text it became a natural, organic way for me to bridge the time spent in session from one week to the next. In addition to practicing modern psychoanalysis, I am also a coach. So when helping a client overcome codependent behavior as an example, having contact in between sessions became instrumental in helping to identify opportunities for growth and actually coaching them through it. When a new client enters therapy with me I explain the expectation that they will reach out if they feel the need to. On average it will take 4 months before they realize the benefit of this and actually start doing it. And once they do the growth is evident.

People no longer have years to wait before they figure out why they're so unhappy. Life is moving at an incredibly fast rate for most people. Most families have 2 income earners now. Life is more demanding, more expensive, more complex. I always allow the process to naturally unfold but I had to respond to the changing times as a way to help promote personal growth and achievement of happiness far sooner. My approach encompasses "life is short". Indeed, it is. I don't believe a person has to suffer when decisions they make or behavior they can change will leave them better than when they started. I never expect perfection. I do, however, give my clients a chance to tell me where they'd like to end up and then I get them there, just faster than a traditional therapist. People don't have 10 years to spend processing their childhood. So while they're processing we are tackling unhealthy behavior, overcoming obstacles and promoting empowerment far sooner.

We all know that moment when a child takes his first step, rides a bike for the first time, swims to the wall all by themselves. It's a moment when that child feels pride, independence and overwhelming joy. It doesn't hurt that they also usually have at least one parent clapping and yelling with excitement. That is exactly what I'm recreating with every healthy decision a client begins to make. They don't have to wait until their 1 o'clock session on Thursday to process the conversation they had with their boss, their spouse or their parent on Monday. Instead, we are in touch about it on Sunday night, Monday morning, and then afterwards. So by the time Thursday arrives they will have tackled the very difficult conversation AND journaled about it, so that by the end of the week they are much further along in the process of understanding how they showed up in that conversation than they would have been without those coaching moments.

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