In the past when I have met an acquaintance and they find out for the first time that I do psychotherapy with people -I have often heard the remarks that I must have quite a job and see and hear a lot of weird stories. They seem to assume that the people I see are pretty dysfunctional and barely able to make it in life. They are a little surprised when I tell them that the people who come to me for psychotherapy are often very competent people with responsible jobs, have families and basically function very well.
Of course, these people are seeing me because some aspect of their life is not working as well as they would like. It could be with regards to their relationship with a spouse, an employer or close friend. It could be they feel depressed, anxious and/or lonely. Despite their basic competence, they have not been able to resolve these issues to their own satisfaction. I welcome them to the basic human condition that we all face from time to time and when we find we need assistance in dealing with some issue in our lives.
I conduct psychotherapy from a systems and relational standpoint as I believe relationships hold the key to unlocking our personal problems. I strive to create a secure environment with which to explore each person’s situation and to create a collaborating relationship with the patient(s). Together we work to understand how they got to where they are and how they may proceed differently. We examine the patient’s history of relationships and family of origin as a backdrop to their current situation.
We examine how they experience and cope with conflict and how they communicate what they need from others. We eventually come to understand the fabric of their lives in a coherent and understandable way that helps make clear what their struggle is and how we can go about redirecting their efforts so they feel more in charge of their lives, more productive and happier.
Insight Throughout Therapy
I have discovered so many people who have been of the mind that they only need to see what “they are doing wrong” and then they can correct it and things will be fine. However, I tell them that while insight (understanding) is important and often hard to come by it is only part of the story. The rest, the application of the insight is where therapy has its greatest strength and where the greatest good can come to an individual. The therapist can assist greatly in bringing about the application of the insight.
- Getting to Know Me – Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.
- The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.
- How Do We “Know” What We “Know?” and Change What We “Know?” – James L. Fosshage, Ph.D.
- The Use and Impact of the Analyst’s Subjectivity with Empathic and Other Listening/Experiencing Perspectives – James L. Fosshage, Ph.D.