Whereas my education and early training focused on family systems and psychodynamic psychotherapy, I have shifted to more of a solution-focused psychotherapy. It is as described, a therapy that understands problems, but knows how to emphasize solutions and how to help people go from the difficulty of a problem(s) to the solution. I think it is empowering for people, utilizing native resources, or building the skills you need.
I appreciate the impact of patterns learned from earlier times like in one’s family and subsequent relationships. I use identifying the patterns for the purpose of opening a door to a solution.
Thinking and Feeling
Some people need to focus on the way their thought patterns inhibit or circumvent what they want. It can be surprising for people to recognize how often their thinking is part of what creates or maintains the mindset of a problem. Others need a focus on emotions, sorting them out or regulating emotions for restoring a feeling of well-being. Couples often need help untangling their reactive emotional and thinking patterns that can become entrenched beliefs about one another or a pile of disappointments.
One of the joys of being a psychotherapist is the limitless supply of learning available to us to add to the basic foundation of our education. Being passionate about learning has kept me layering learning from that of cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mind/body medicine, behavioral health, models of health and wellness, and experiential psychotherapies.
As areas of research open up, so too does our understanding of what that means for mental health and improving function. Brain research is one of the most exciting areas that is contributing to this better understanding. We psychotherapists often talk about the “emotional brain,” the limbic center, as a shorthand way to help people understand how and why we react the way we do in different situations like when we are under stress.
There is another area of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex that is creating great interest because as we understand what it does, we discover what can strengthen it. If we are operating out of our pre-frontal cortex, we are able to stop and consider rather than be reactive. This often leads to decisions that allow us to make the better choice. It is the difference between impulse, “I want that piece of cake,” to; “No, what I really want is my higher goal, weight loss, or healthy body.” It is becoming abundantly clear, as the research comes in, that meditation and exercise strengthen the pre-frontal cortex, helping us have better concentration, will power and memory. Psychotherapists apply research to help people get better.
Reconnect, Repair, Rebuild, Re-negotiate
With couples, I have worked with relationships and marriages short and long, with couples who need some re-negociating, or couples who come back from the brink. Sometimes, if we care to, we can find an opportunity in the crisis, learning how to adapt or change, no matter whether the crisis is chosen or imposed upon us.
When one gets very experienced with hypnosis it becomes more than a technique, it becomes a way of thinking about problems and solutions to help those with whom I am working. It enables people with problems, needing solutions to find better ways of thinking about their problems that facilitates change. It is the difference between a stalled day on the lake and enough wind to set sail.