Q – I am incredibly nervous about beginning therapy. Do most people feel this way?
A – Most new clients contact my office feeling scared & embarrassed, believing that they alone are afflicted with these intrusive, & often unsettling, thoughts, feelings & behaviors. However, a conservative estimate is that in the U.S. alone, nearly 1 in 40 adults & 1 in 100 children have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Many people first show symptoms in childhood or early adolescence, with 19 being the average age of diagnosis. It is among the top 20 causes of illness worldwide for people between the ages of 15-44. While OCD isn’t curable, with the correct treatment, obsessions & compulsions can be targeted so effectively, most individuals can live happy, healthy & productive lives with greatly reduced or virtually no symptoms at all. My foremost goal is that you feel comfortable & at ease, during our initial session & all meetings thereafter. I know that building the trust, rapport & security of an effective therapeutic relationship takes time, so I always believe in applying the basic Social Work principle of “Starting where the client is”, whether that means that you are an open book or need to take things very slowly. You determine our pace.
Q – I have never told anyone the details of what I am dealing with. Just thinking about it causes me great shame & embarrassment. I am worried what a therapist will think of me. Will you see me as crazy, or too far gone to be helped?
A -I’ve included this question as it is something that I hear all the time. Struggling with Anxiety, OCD &Trauma can cause us to feel like we are the only person in the world who suffers with these thoughts, feelings &/or behaviors. I want to reassure you that this is so far from true! Millions of people experience the same symptoms that you do. Furthermore, as an expert in treating these issues, please know that there isn’t anything that you can tell me that will cause me to be shocked, or even be something that I haven’t already heard before. My office is a Judgment-Free Zone! Furthermore, CBT therapy is all about recognizing that we are “not” our thoughts, which is why we focus on learning how to get out of our own head, & end the negative, & often irrational, self-talk that we engage in.
After 25 years as a clinician, I have worked in a variety of environments & am not intimidated or upset by anything. Furthermore, as an expert in the treatment of these issues, I already know that Anxiety can cause us to have some incredibly irrational thoughts & behaviors. You Are NOT Your Thoughts! Nothing you share with me will impact how I see you as a person. Succinctly put, my office is a Judgement-Free Zone!
Q – How does therapy work & what can I do to make it most effective?
A – The most successful therapeutic results come when an individual can be honest in therapy (& with themselves), do all recommended assignments, & remain committed to achieving their goals. This typically means we begin with weekly appointments & slowly taper off in frequency when you begin to gradually achieve your goals. I am a solution-focused therapist, meaning that I believe that therapy should result in the attainment of skills that will enable you to overcome the specific obstacles that brought you to my practice, & empower you to have the confidence & skill to maintain your progress on your own. The greater your commitment & effort is in therapy, the more beneficial the results.
In the beginning, you are learning to get into the driver’s seat, take the wheel & be confident enough to choose your future path. I am helping you to create a map, find the best routes, with the least detours & construction, to get you where you want to go (Yes, I like using metaphors & analogies!). Regardless of what may have brought you to my practice, you ultimately are the key to making successful changes. Together, I know that we can accomplish this. I look forward to answering your questions & working to help you find the joy, peace & happiness that exists when you begin living your best life Fearlessly!