PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH AN EDGE
Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. -- Joseph Campbell
Welcome and congratulations on taking this initial step toward a better quality of life. On whatever path your mental health journey ultimately leads you, I wish you well and bon voyage!
WHY COUNSELING? AND WHY NOW ESPECIALLY?
When you look around at the world today, do you get the feeling that the wheels are starting to come off the bus? We've barely emerged from a devastating pandemic that wrecked the economy and killed a million people (and counting) in this country alone, and already we're facing the worst inflation we've seen in 40 years; gas prices are soaring; political upheaval and division are tearing this country apart; rates of suicide are climbing; mass shootings have become commonplace; climate change is growing more severe, with worsening drought and water shortages in the west and southwest ; and war has broken out once again in Europe resulting in thousands of deaths, millions of homeless refugees, atrocities against innocent civilians, and the prospect of mass starvation among needy populations, with the specter of nuclear war as a prelude to WWIII lurking more tangibly than ever before. Not surprising that these global concerns are having a detrimental impact on you personally: your relationships, finances, and general sense of well-being. If you're feeling more stressed-out in daily life, more pessimistic about the future, and more hopeless about your ability to give yourself the life you want than ever before, you aren't alone. The question you're probably asking yourself is, "What can I do about it?" The answer is, "More than you might think." But it probably involves trying some things you've never tried before. Because in a world in which so much is beyond our control, we can still--and must--find a way to take care of ourselves.
BEGINNING THE JOURNEY
We've all probably thought at one time or another, "I don't need counseling--that's what my friends are for!" So we bend their ear over lunch or a beer, and maybe feel better for a little while. But when our problems persist, it's likely because our amateur therapist lacked the training, education, insight, knowledge, objectivity, and experience to help us. When we get sick, do we seek help from a friend or a doctor?
For over fifteen years I've helped people improve the quality of their lives through the cultivation of mental health. My master's degree in counseling psychology is from the University of Denver, and I am a fully licensed and credentialed psychotherapist using the most clinically proven approaches. In addition, I've had to work through great personal loss, relationship struggles, and self-defeating behavior patterns myself so I know first-hand how challenging--but also how rewarding--that process is. I'm also a former U.S. Marine who understands the unique challenges that military veterans can face.
More, I offer a SLIDING SCALE if needed to help you afford treatment, daytime as well as EVENING HOURS so you don't have to miss work, and the convenience of TELEHEALTH so that you can acquire the help you need no matter where in Colorado you might be.
For many, a counseling stereotype exists of the bobble-head therapist who nods as the client vents while nothing really changes--wash, rinse, repeat, see you next week! This rendition has cast both the profession and pursuit of mental health in a poor light, in my view. And while many counselors defy this typecasting, the misnomer persists. In contrast my style is interactive and encouraging toward the client's acquiring insights and skills that result in psychological healing. Homework assignments are a vital part of what I do to help clients build on things covered in session. At the same time respect, empathy, compassion, and encouragement always will be part of your therapeutic experience with me.
I believe this approach is vital as it utilizes the latest research, knowledge, and wisdom in the field rather than dated norms. In that sense it is on the cutting edge. And contrasted to that milquetoast model of a couch-side manner noted above, you could also say it has an edge to it. While some might prefer the old way, those seeking an evolved alternative to what has become the butt of cinematic parody and late night mockery will find me refreshing and precisely what the doctor ordered.
MY COUNSELING PHILOSOPHY
In the 21st Century, psychotherapy is more insightful, knowledgeable, and methodological than ever before. In the case of counselors who have acquired a master's degree (MA) with state licensure (LPC) and national certification (NCC), thousands of hours of theoretical understanding, clinical experience, and professional supervision/development have been gained prior to starting a private practice. All of which make the mental health practitioner a highly skilled professional who has exceptional knowledge about how to help people improve their psychological functioning. This is no trivial thing! Sound mental health allows us to live happily, create peace of mind, dare to hope and dream, achieve goals, enjoy satisfying relationships, and treat others (as well as ourselves) with love, dignity, and respect.
Next, over the course of my practice I've come to the realization that one's ability to be fully present and aware both mentally and in one's body is crucial not only for a heightened sense of well-being but also to appropriately address the numerous challenges that arise in our lives--challenges that require a here-and-now solution rather than ones effectively muddled by backward-looking modes or fantastical thinking. If we have unresolved psychological issues that keep our minds predominated by past or future fixations, then our ability to be fully present is hampered or compromised. Thus a main goal is to teach clients the formidable skill-set needed to be fully present, here-and-now.
Finally, the achievement of good mental health involves skills we all can learn. Implicit in this view is the recognition that becoming our own best counselor is the ultimate fulfillment. In that sense, psychotherapy is about cultivating within the client not dependence upon a counselor but independence from him. One of my great professional satisfactions, then, is to see my clients move beyond our sessions equipped with the personal insight, self-awareness, and psychological tools needed to help them achieve their greatest happiness and well-being.
YOUR FIRST SESSION: WHAT TO EXPECT
Partly as an outgrowth of the Covid pandemic, as well as through continuing advances in Interpersonal Technologies, telehealth has become the go-to medium for mental health counseling in the 21st Century. It offers safety, privacy, economy, and convenience far exceeding in-person visits. I utilize DUO, a HIPPA-approved videophone app that's free to download and easy to use. Upon first connecting, I'll go over the legal and ethical preliminaries to ensure you fully understand your rights as a client as well as the framework of our counseling relationship. Then we'll begin to talk. Sharing only what you're comfortable with is your privilege, even as I'll ask questions intended to facilitate the counseling process. Gradually the reason for your visit will take shape for our viewing, as will my therapeutic entree` into how it might best be addressed. (I'll likely give you a homework assignment from the jump, so have pen and paper handy!) By session's end, you will have gained important clarity about what you're facing. You may also feel hope, perhaps for the first time, that resolution is not just possible but within reach.
Are you ready to begin?
The Child In The Desert
Brian M. Keltner
Soon the child set out . Days became weeks, and weeks months, until he reached a gnarled, scoured, barren landscape. The soil was baked by a relentless sun, and the rocks misshapen from hellish heat. "This must be the desert!" he thought, and ran forward in anticipation as he imagined the nectar on his tongue like dew on dry leaves. But atop the lonely ridge, within the dead valley, across the stone-fired lake of earth he found no sign of what he sought. "I must have missed it," he muttered, and retraced his steps again and again until the whole wide desert was marked in vain with his footprints.
POINT: Clinging to others' notions of how to live inevitably leaves us thirsty.