Most adults come to treatment due to problems stemming from anxieties they have tried their best to manage on their own. These anxieties are invariably rooted in efforts to maintain safety and security within the complicated interpersonal vortex that is the basis of human existence.
Even the most secure and confident of us can reach the limits of our coping strategies and find ourselves spiraling into avoidance and depression.
Adult treatment focuses on identifying what is not working, pausing it, understanding its origins, and then formulating / learning / implementing effective coping strategies.
My approach is integrative in that I do not attempt to use one strategy to help my patients but rather work with them to create a tailored alloy of the many I have studied. The goal is a unique approach that best fits their needs and sensibilities. I like to think that there is not a “right way” but rather a “your way.” I believe it is helpful to view therapy as a restarting of the process of learning from experience— a return to our origins in curiosity and wonder to be taught by living.
Adolescence is defined as a developmental period that is between childhood and adulthood. If adulthood is defined as being able to function autonomously, then adolescence as an age range is a bit of a moving target. As our world becomes more complicated, it takes longer for any one of us to become autonomous. This fact has created an increasingly protracted period of time where an individual experiences a dissonance between their age-based desires and their actual abilities. This can exacerbate the tensions that already exist between parents and offspring as the latter seeks to define their selves as separate and unique from their family unit.
Think of adolescent therapy as being appropriate for anyone who is struggling with the void between childhood and adulthood. A great deal of the focus of such therapy is to define the individual’s values and clarify their identity beyond the one they have had in their family unit.
My experience working with couples has taught me that we often do not come to treatment for our relationships until we are in substantial crisis. The amount of hurt and resentment is frequently at a level that has created considerable contempt and avoidance. For this reason, I recommend that couples FIRST begin individual therapy to process the accumulated pain and understand its origins. The self-understanding and clarity regarding what is needed from the relationship makes having productive couples sessions possible. The couples session then becomes a forum for practicing, with coaching, effective methods of communicating, with an emphasis on listening and validating. If you are seeking couples therapy prior to beginning your individual work, I can provide the latter and offer referrals for at therapist for the partner as well as a couples therapist when the time is appropriate. If you and your partner have begun individual work, I will be more than happy to see you as a couple and coordinate with your individual therapists.
Parenting children in today’s complicated world is an increasingly challenging endeavor.
The most common difficulty arises from a parent’s well-meaning efforts to provide their child with what they wanted most in their own childhood. This ends up being a bit like “The Gift of the Magi”; the parents/guardians are giving their children something with love and good intentions, but the gift is no longer fitting / appropriate. I try to help parents and caregivers accept that their children are living in a world different from theirs and that they must seek to understand what their child actually needs rather than guess at and/or superimpose ideas based on their own childhood. Most of the struggle between children and parents comes from a child seeking to find their way to a meaningful life amid the desires and anxieties of their parents. I like to think of what I offer as assistance to parents in their creating a safe and secure “homebase” for their child to discover who they are and begin to build a life they feel is worth living.