No two therapists are alike. This can be due to personality, theoretical orientation, or the chemistry created within the client-counselor relationship. While I cannot tell you if I am the best fit for your, I can explain my theoretical stance, which can hopefully give you an impression of me. I work from a highly relational structure, which places most importance on the counselor-client relationship. Therefore, while I believe behavior modification is important in helping reduce symptomology, it’s through relationship we have the opportunity to experience deep healing. With this core belief I prescribe to the following theories.
Attachment Theory is a well researched theory which attempts to describe the interpersonal dynamics of individuals within relationship. Infant attachment research shows that a child needs at least one attune and emphatic caregiver in order to develop socially and emotionally. Adult attachment research highlights an individuals way of responding within adult relationships. We can have either a secure or insecure attachment, which includes being anxious, avoidant, or fearful-avoidant. The most encouraging thing to learn from attachment research is that we need not have “perfect” parents to function securely within relationship. While we all have varying degrees of operating maladaptively, we have opportunity to “gain security” through responsive and emphatic relationships throughout the lifespan. Interpersonal Neurobiology discusses the science of why we need empathic & attune relationships in order to develop and thrive. We are physiologically created for connection, therefore Neuro-science goes hand in hand with attachment research by explaining what happens neurologically and physiologically when we experience emotionally attune connections versus the alternative.
Self Psychology is a modern branch of Psychoanalytic theory, which has been seen as the “relational” approach to psychoanalysis. The primary basis of Self Psychology seeks to understand clients from their subjective experience and does so through rich empathy. Self Psychology does not seek to shame, yet desires to be curious and explore the roots of a client’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior.
Emotion Focused Therapy is a theory developed for couples. EFT aims to identify a couple’s negative interaction cycle, then seeks to understand the core emotions and unmet needs hiding beneath a couple’s defenses. I often find it’s never “what” a couple is fighting about, it’s the undercurrent of hurt emotions that become inflamed. Our defenses, (such as: rage, contempt, stonewalling, blaming, avoiding etc.) are the very ways we try to protect ourselves from pain, yet often repel our partner away from us. Therefore, by identifying each partner’s defenses & understanding the “why” can help partners move closer towards one another.