When I tell people what I do as a therapist, I believe it's just as important to talk about why I do what I do as much as what I do. And of course, a big part of that is wanting you to believe and trust in me. But as important as that is, there’s something equally important that you and anyone seeking counseling should know about.
In short, why I became a therapist demonstrates the ideal outcome that all therapy aims to achieve. That means by continuing here to learn more about me, you will also discover the immense impact that counseling can have on your life.
What Therapists Do
In the most general terms, people go to counseling to restore their mind and their spirit to what therapists refer to as a state of well-being. Well-being is a baseline condition of life and living that everyone strives to attain. In simple terms, it's achieved by experiencing fulfillment, joy, happiness, and optimism. And importantly, there’s a path to it for everyone.
What therapists do, in the most basic sense, is discover the paths that remove or manage what gets in the way of their clients attaining well-being. Very often such barriers present as anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and other common although debilitating disorders.
The underlying premise of counseling then is rooted in the restoration principle that well-being will naturally follow if these obstacles are managed or removed. To this end, therapists use a variety of approaches such as behavior therapy; psychoanalysis; cognitive therapy; humanistic therapy; and holistic (integrative) therapy. All of which are proven methodologies, principles, and practices that can achieve the critical objective of restoring well-being.
Well-Being is Only Part of the Journey
For me and counselors like me, there’s much more to therapy and recovery than simply achieving well-being. Well-being is good, but it’s not good enough as it’s merely a midpoint between crisis and a person’s potential.
My goal is a more complete recovery—meaning, a person has attained capabilities that take them beyond well-being by building inner strength and emotional competencies that fortifies their healing and recovery. The goal of which, ultimately, is to thrive and to do so long after therapy has concluded.
Living to Your Potential
Importantly, my approach includes building a long-term path to a better future and not just getting-by today or into next week or next month. My concentration aims to not only overcome the afflictions that people seek counseling to rid themselves of but to guard against their debilitating return.
To do that, I work on strengthening self-confidence and self-esteem by building new thought processes and patterns of thinking. All of which is a powerful means to overcome disruptive negative interferences and obstacles.
I use a blended approach of solution focused therapy and cognitive behavioral methodologies along with relaxation practices. All the while, I place great emphasis on purpose seeking and building a mindset of higher purpose—of living life to one's potential with passion and enthusiasm.
In every sense of the word, my approach to therapy is a journey to well-being, but at the same time, it's also a journey to learn that we can create our own reality instead of allowing the world and others to create it for us.
Central to my approach is recognizing that every person has a powerful and dynamic inner self that provides an incredible amount of energy and motivation to prevail, overcome, and succeed. However, for some, for a variety of reasons, this part of their inner self lies dormant. It must be roused and awoken. So, we go to work on this, to activate this dynamic power that you and everyone has within.
When we do this, something incredibly important happens. We discover, very often for the first time, that we can grow through joy and not through pain and hardship. But more, as we continue, we experience clarity recognizing our source of inner peace, balance and stability.
And of course, we can’t stop life from putting obstacles in our way. Sometimes they simply can’t be avoided. But when we develop a growth-centered mindset, we are far better prepared to deal with them in healthy productive ways.
So, Why Do I Do It?
I became a counselor because it is the path to my higher purpose and living to my potential. In turn, achieving what my clients set out to accomplish, assisting them in their crisis, or simply helping them find their way, is a continuously renewing source of energy for me.
In short, I love what I do. And because I do, I am immensely fulfilled and devoted to doing it to the best of my ability. But more, and importantly, I approach life and my work as a therapist with a growth-centered mindset—of which, although I do it for my clients, my community, and society at large, I also do it for myself.
I think of it in this way because I am an ardent believer in the power of purpose and passion. But it's much more than that. It's what the famed psychologist Abraham Maslow called self-actualization and what he really meant by seeking it. It's something so many have been taught in a general sense while never really knowing what it means to achieve it.
When purpose and self-actualization are properly understood they can be, and I believe should be, used as integral components to counseling and healing therapies.
In fact, the topic is so important that I reveal to every one of my clients a lesson I learned long ago. It set me on a path of higher understanding of what purpose and passion really are. So, I share it with all my clients because it really can change their lives.
The lesson that set me free is this: The very first and most important purpose you have in your life is to evolve yourself.
If you get that, or if you learn what it really means and work to achieve it, all things are possible. But it is extremely difficult for many to understand or accept that self-love is actually an altruistic and benevolent undertaking.
Two very powerful forces can distort and cloud our thinking with misaligned deeply engrained beliefs. Society and culture can prevent many from seeing the importance of self and giving adequate attention to developing our most important source for attaining well-being.
The outcome of this restrictive barrier can be the cause of debilitating levels of anxiety and depression. When trapped by it, people live below their potential always yearning for something that is innately desired but socially forbidden—that is, to love one self. But again, it's only forbidden because it is so fantastically misunderstood.
And unfortunately, it's not only the individual that suffers. A person's family and friends, their community, the business they work for (or perhaps their own business), all of society pays a price for this disordered thinking.
Systems Thinking and Therapy
When we apply systems thinking to therapy, we view ourselves individually but also as a part of the larger system that a society is. And in doing so, we recognize that misguided cultural pressures can easily steer us away from the idea of individualism and loving ourselves. Such boundaries keep us from building self-esteem and growing the much needed confidence we need and must have in ourselves to grow and thrive.
For those that recognize this and overcome it, self-love is the flame inside them that energizes their spirit. While for others that don't know this, they simply allow their spirit to be snuffed out and extinguished and sadly live in the shadows of those that do.
All of which makes modern systems thinking so important for us to understand and utilize in our thoughts and our awareness of the world in which we live. Intersecting with Maslow's principles of self-actualization then, systems thinking discredits and debunks the minimizing guilt-inflicting perspective that society and culture often places on us—that prevents us from developing a growth-centered mindset.
Self-Actualization is Not Self-Centeredness
Make no mistake about it, taking the time to think of yourself and grow yourself is not a selfish act. It’s very much the opposite and very altruistic when approached with the right mindset. That is, if you understand what Maslow truly meant by “self-actualization.”
A true self-actualizing person, as Maslow wrote, recognizes that many benefit from our well-being, from our growth, and our personal upward mobility. In fact, in his original 15 characteristics of self-actualizing people, Maslow took a systems perspective that was far ahead of his time. The characteristics of self-actualizing people, he explained, are not all centered on the self. They include such things as engaging in “deeper and more profound interpersonal relations; tolerance for self and others; a democratic character structure; and a dedication to a vocation or calling that they [view] as being a service to others” (Compton, 2018).
In short, concern for the welfare and happiness of others is central to self-actualization, to evolving yourself. And importantly, this line of thought is entirely consistent with modern systems thinking. By evolving yourself to discover your higher purpose and passion, you are actually improving the lives of the people all around you, your community, and society at large.
In the end, self-actualization (of which includes your participation in therapy) is many things—but one thing it is not, is selfish. That's because so many can benefit from your sustained well-being and you living to your potential.
So, as we develop our growth-centered mindset then, we shed the crippling guilt, the debilitating self-doubt and anxiety that can accompany our concentrating on ourself and our personal development. And as we do that, we become free and increasingly more sure in our thinking that we can and must love ourselves as the first act in reaching for our potential.
The Marriage of What and Why
So, now that you know the story of what I do and why I do it, I’ll close by reminding you of what it all means for you as my client.
As we all well know, the world and the universe do not always align. Life has a way of putting formidable obstacles in our way that causes anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and possibly much worse. For many, this makes it difficult to achieve and experience the things that provide fulfillment, optimism, happiness, and joy. All of which can make discovering our purpose and passion distant mountains to climb when the struggles being faced are immense and seemingly insurmountable.
What I do then, is focus on three unique problems that many women experience—problems that cause distress and prevents them from achieving their potential. Together, we confront the challenges of anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, or any of the other obstacles. Importantly, we also confront the things that cause these crippling ailments and create a mindset to do more than merely overcome them.
Our goal is for you to re-discover yourself, or perhaps discover yourself for the first time. In either case, we aim to develop a self that lives with inner strength and stability, that knows fulfillment, well-being, and higher purpose. It’s a self that always believes in you and your potential. But more, it's a self that has the knowledge, the courage and the confidence to it and make it your reality.
A Note in Closing
Thank you so much for visiting me at the UCCA office online. I am very grateful that you took the time to get to know me, what I do, and why I do it. If you have any questions please call me or send an email. And if you would like to schedule your first appointment, please visit the “First Appointment” page by clicking the button on the menu bar.