Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced not only by our external environment, but also by our internal landscape, which colors our experiences and interpretations of ourselves and those around us. In individual therapy, you may be seeking to:
- Resolve unfinished business from your past so that it does not rule your present
- Learn to confront fear in the service of your growth
- Address painful and unproductive patterns that hurt your wellbeing
- Find a balance between caring for yourself and for others
- Develop more meaningful relationships—with yourself and others
Our early relationships shape our present ones. One’s relationship with one’s partner is often the most intimate relationship one has in adulthood. Therefore, this relationship can be especially intense. Your early life history and attachment patterns can be stirred up without your awareness of how these relate to your current relationship difficulties. You and your partner may be seeking help to:
- Feel safe in your relationship, especially when you are feeling vulnerable
- Explore how unresolved difficulties from your past impact your current relationship
- Understand the underlying meaning of your words and behaviors
- Enhance intimacy and connection while developing appropriate boundaries
- See and accept the complete person in each other
- Improve understanding of and empathy for yourself and each other
I provide play material and art supplies for your child or adolescent in therapy.
–Kay Redfield Jamison
The ability to play opens the door to learning, health, and vitality. Youths often play to connect with themselves and others and to express what they are feeling, thinking, and experiencing internally. Furthermore, playing helps them to work through concerns, worries, or events going on in their lives.
It is important to keep in mind that, from a developmental standpoint, youths may not have the cognitive and emotional ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings directly with words. Therefore, a developmentally appropriate way for children and some adolescents to communicate is through play.
Within the context of play therapy, I am given an opportunity to carefully pay attention to and interpret what your child may be communicating about her or his experience. I have been trained to examine the meaning embedded in the play material, communicating with your child about important themes in a developmentally appropriate manner.
–Donald Woods Winnicott
Youths also express and come to understand themselves through creating art, such as drawing, coloring, and making collages. Like play therapy, art therapy can be useful because it does not rely solely on verbal communication. Rather, it allows youths to communicate through visual and tactile means as well.
Research findings indicate that the strength of the relationship between you and your therapist is one of the most important factors in your treatment success—even more important than the type of therapy modality your therapist uses (Lambert & Barley, 2001). Among other things, a strong and safe therapeutic relationship allows for open communication, respectful boundaries, the ability to bear different perspectives, true empathy for your experience, and a willingness to understand and accept all of your feelings.
An important aspect of this work is building a trusting, non-judgmental therapeutic relationship, where you can feel safe. You know your life better than does anyone else. Therefore, we will hold great respect for your wisdom about yourself. Additionally, I will offer my knowledge, based on my professional training and clinical experience. Collaboratively, we can aim to address your needs in a way that is most helpful to you.
Ideas regarding what is healthy are, in some ways, defined by culture. Therefore, I keep in mind that your cultural context (including your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, and so on) can influence what you consider to be healthy or desirable. It is important that we work to honor the many aspects of your cultural self in your therapeutic work and to acknowledge that your unique personal, as well as cultural, experiences have shaped your perspectives.