Would You Explain Your Credentials?
Yes. I chose to get an MSSW followed by a Certification in Marriage and Family Therapy because I did not wish to do research, but rather to develop my own styles of doing therapy (by integrating others’ research and expertise). FYI, to earn the above credentials I had to do 6000 hours of face-to-face work with clients and had to have 300 hours of clinical supervision.
After achieving licensure, I was not required to continue supervision/consultation, but I have chosen to seek consultation whenever it seems useful. For the LCSW credential, I am required annually to have 15 continuing education credits. My average of CEU’s over 34 years has been 30-50 hours a year.
Who Can be Helped by Psychotherapy?
The easy answer to this one is “Almost anyone who really wants to change!” Participation in psychotherapy can be helpful to those who truly want to enhance the quality of their lives. Reasons people may choose to participate include:
- Wanting to enhance or repair the quality of a relationship with a primary partner or loved one.
- Wanting to achieve a greater sense of emotional balance instead of letting some emotions (such as anxiety, blues, irritability, or mood swings) get the best of them.
- Needing help adjusting to challenging life changes such as relational break-ups, death of a loved one, health or career changes, etc.
- Inability to break some unhealthy relational patterns.
- Wanting to make behavioral or thinking changes, but seemingly being unable to do so.
- Struggling with the after-effects of some emotional injuries from childhood or adolescence.
What Is the Process of Therapy Like?
I see psychotherapy as a contractual partnership between the clients and myself. Clients set their own long-term and short-term goals. Many clients come with concerns about the relationships in their lives. Some clients come with very specific desires to change emotional, thinking, and/ or behavioral patterns. Other clients come to have a compassionate place in which to adjust to losses or changes. For others there may be a need to address present or past loss or trauma which is affecting their current quality of life. Some people come to have a special time and safe place weekly for support and advocacy. Sessions begin topically with whatever the concerns are at that time.
Will I Have to Take Medication?
I am not a physician and therefore cannot prescribe medication. Many clients can make the changes they want without it. However, medication may be very helpful when someone’s ability to function is significantly impaired by his or her emotional or cognitive states. In such a case, I can, at a client’s request, make a referral to a physician, or coordinate treatment by staying in contact with your physician. Of course, this can only be done with your signed permission. You and your doctor can decide together if medication is to be used short-term or longer.
How Often Should We Meet and for How Long?
Usually the first session or two may be of an assessment nature in that clients and I are getting acquainted as clients are sharing relevant history, goals, etc. After that, the frequency of sessions is up to the clients. Most find that it is helpful to participate in therapy weekly, particularly at first, and may over time choose to taper off as needs are met. My door is, however, always open for “booster” work upon request. I find that most clients know when their work is done. I have worked with people who have come for months, some for years, and some who finish and then pop-in occasionally as needed.
What about Coaching?
It is my preference to do psychotherapy rather than coaching. However, I got certified in Life Coaching because, as an LCSW, I can only practice Clinical Social Work in states where I am licensed. However, I can do coaching in other states and many other countries. If as a client, in Tennessee or elsewhere, you are interested in our using coaching techniques together, please let me know and we can discuss how we may implement those.