Generally, I’ve found that the most effective approach blends psychotherapy and coaching, though the exact process is always collaborative, flexible, and unique to each client.
Therapy tends to focus on investigating the past and understanding how it informs your present. We’ll explore your mental, emotional, and spiritual history, and delve into the unconscious to gain insight, awareness, and healing. Therapy is also how we address any mental illness.
Coaching tends to focus on the future, and how you can shift your "now" to get to where you want to be. It involves defining actionable steps and achievable goals.
Either way, you can be sure that much of our work together will involve returning to the now, whether we're working on your healing of the past or your hopes for the future.
The metaphor version:
Therapy is where we examine the roots and see how it formed the actual tree. Coaching is where we study the branches and the leaves, and figure out where you want the fruit to land once it's ripe.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Aside from the usual hopes for insight, change, and growth, here are some of the things you can realistically expect in the course of our work together:
While I will always do my very best to ensure that you feel and are safe, and working at the pace that is best for you, there will be discomfort. This is okay!
This is good, in fact. Discomfort happens when you find yourself feeling confronted with things you've avoided facing. It happens when you hear things you don't want to hear but know you need to (even and especially from yourself). It's by accepting, surrendering to, and working through this discomfort that change and growth happen.
We often want things NOW, or at the latest, by the end of the week. But inner work lasts for a lifetime (or lifetimes). As such, patience comes in handy when handling your heart and sorting out its contents, and in our work together, you will learn the art of patience (if you don't already have it).
There's a reason not everyone chooses to do therapy. Well, there are probably a lot of reasons, but the main one is likely that it takes work. You will not be reclining on my sofa every week and getting the answers to life's big questions handed to you (spoiler alert: I don't have them, anyway). While I am here to reflect, guide, and assist, only you can do the actual work of uncovering what you already know, somewhere in there. This doesn't mean you can't take breaks, of course, but remember that this kind of work always pays off.
Including but not limited to: meditation, reading chapters out of books (if not entire books), mindfulness and grounding exercises. Everything I suggest comes highly recommended, but is always optional.
If you want the kind of therapist who is a blank canvas/mirror for your emotional output, you are in the wrong place. I am not above jaw drops and laughter. I'm human! I can't hide it, nor should I, and I would never want you to, either. The therapy space is a good place to consciously work on how honest we can be, in ways tiny and not-so-tiny.
This one's more about me than you. As I said in the point above, I'm human. I say things you may find questionable (or flat-out wrong), and I may misinterpret signals or facial expressions, just to name very few examples. The exciting part about this one is that you are encouraged to let me know! Being able to repair a tear is an integral part of therapy and our work together.