No two therapists are alike. This can be due to personality, theoretical orientation, or the chemistry created within the counselor-client relationship. While I cannot tell you if I am the best fit for you, 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 symptoms, 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 empathetic 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: we do not have to have “perfect” parents to function securely within relationship. While we all have varying degrees of maladaptive coping, we have opportunity to “gain security” through responsive and empathic relationships throughout the lifespan. Interpersonal Neurobiology discusses the science of why we need empathic & attune relationships in order to develop and thrive. 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.
Psychodynamic Therapy relies heavily on the interpersonal relationship between counselor and client with the understanding that healing comes through the context of relationship. This approach draws from psychoanalytic theory’s depth to explore the past and the unconscious mind. Using this approach allows us to explore with curiosity and walk through the trenches without judgment or shame.
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.