What Is Counseling? What’s It Like to Work With Me?
Many people comment on how easy it is to talk with me and how my style and approach to therapy is different than their prior counseling experiences. I view my clients as mentally healthy individuals having understandable reactions to stressful, upsetting, disappointing or difficult aspects of life. I take an active, conversational, trauma informed, results-oriented approach to counseling clients, balanced with the compassion, empathy and nurturing support that is essential for good therapy.
The way TV shows and movies depict what counseling is like would make most people have no interest in meeting with a counselor. Those scenes where the therapist doesn’t say much and the client feels nervous and leaves puzzled wondering what was the therapist thinking is SO not the way I work.
My counseling style is to communicate with you in my natural conversational style and to be my genuine self. I believe the more open and genuine I am in our conversations, the easier it is for you to feel comfortable and be yourself with me. Besides it would be too difficult and a waste of energy if I tried to be something other than myself.
In our counseling or therapy sessions, we’ll be having conversations focused on you, your feelings, and what’s going on in your life – both the problems and what’s going well. We’ll collaborate on what we work on and be mindful that we’re working towards achieving your goals. In our first few sessions, I will also gather information about your childhood and experiences as an adult as adverse childhood experiences, and other types of upsetting experiences or trauma are often at the root of anxiety, depression, shame, relationship and career problems.
As a former marketing professional with years of experience in the business world, both as an employee and being self-employed, my counseling approach draws upon my business skills as a problem solver, strategic thinker, manager, and change agent, combined with my knowledge and skills as a therapist, counselor, and career coach. I’m result oriented and don’t want you to spend years in therapy working on the same issues. One of the reasons, I love EMDR therapy is that it treats the root cause of the problem and clients report significant shifts in automatic negative thoughts, and a reduction in anxiety, depression, and shame in just a few sessions.
I have a positive attitude and upbeat energy. I enjoy my life and the work I do. I am grateful for the privilege of hearing clients’ stories and helping them heal, make changes, and feel better about themselves and their future.
An Integrative, Root Cause Approach Based on Brain Science
I use well researched, evidenced based, brainscience based approaches to identify and treat the root cause of the symptoms and problems that often bring clients to counseling.
Our brain controls how we feel, think and behave. So the root cause of symptoms and problems involves: 1) how the information you’ve learned over time and your experiences have been coded or stored in your brain and 2) how the foods you eat or don’t eat have a huge influence on mood, concentration, energy, behaviors and health. This is referred to as the gut-brain connection, and it is why our gut is considered our second brain.
Through my training and education, I am skilled at identifying the root cause of present day problems, and using integrative, natural approaches to help you remove the emotional or behavioral blocks that are holding you back from feeling good and achieving your goals. One of those approaches is EMDR Therapy. My personal experience with the effectiveness of EMDR therapy, led me to specialize in it. EMDR works faster than traditional talk therapy and executive coaching, because it facilitates the brain’s natural system for reprocessing information and removing blocks. You can learn more about it and view my EMDR videos at What Is EMDR Therapy?
Another approach I use to identify and treat the root cause of problems, is educating you on your second brain or the gut-brain connection. I was fortunate to be introduced to the concept of food as medicine very early in my life. I have studied and applied to my own life the power of nutrition to help with mood issues. I offer various questionnaires to gain a better understanding of your mood symptoms and brain health, and then provide education on how to use nutrition, supplements, and other drug-free approaches to improve the health of your gut and treat anxiety, depression, fatigue and other mood symptoms. To learn more about that, see my Brain Health Coaching page.
Genuine Connection – A Route to Better Relationships, Career Satisfaction and Stress Reduction
Relationship problems, career dissatisfaction and everyday stress can happen when you are not able to be yourself. This often happens when past experiences have led you to believe that who you are, how you feel, and how you behave are not okay. If this happens a lot, it leads many people to abandon or bury their genuine or authentic self.
Much of our distress in life is due to a lack of genuine connection with ourselves and with others. When you increase your understanding and acceptance of yourself and how you relate to others, you are better able to achieve a sense of well-being and move through difficulties. Various life experiences, from childhood through the present, can compromise your ability to be yourself or lead you to repeat behaviors that no longer serve you well in your personal life or at work. Often people think that these early experiences are no big deal or are no longer influencing them, however they are surprised at how much better they feel after we do some brief, focused work on these experiences.
Our counseling sessions can help you get a more realistic view of who you are and reconnect with your authentic self. You’ll also gain a better understanding of what has shaped your perceptions, feelings, choices and behaviors. When we improve your understanding of yourself and your comfort level with being yourself, one of the outcomes is a greater sense of well-being.
Anxiety, depression and other types of distress are also often due to a lack of genuine connection with ourselves and with others. We have the technology to reach someone 24/7, yet many people go for days without a single meaningful conversation with someone. Our addiction to email and cell phones illustrates our hunger for connection. We seek consolation in text messages, substances, material goods and constant busyness. A more effective route for soothing our distress and feeling more fulfilled is to connect with our authentic self.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do I Have To Talk About My Childhood?
The amount of time we spend talking about your childhood will vary depending on the issues you’ve come to me for and how you’d like to spend our time together. At a minimum, I will spend a few sessions in the beginning of our work understanding your history and how it may be influencing the present day issues.
Of course, if you’ve come to me for trauma therapy or issues related to the family you grew up with, then we’ll be spending more time talking about your childhood.
All of us have experienced upsetting life experiences or some form of trauma in childhood and as adults. For example, criticism, rejection, bullying, teasing, betrayal, heartbreak, humiliation, disappointments, loss of relationships, loss of jobs, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, lack of nurturing in childhood, accidents, hospitalization. Often we think these types of experiences or past events are no big deal, but in reality, our past becomes present and is having a big influence on our present day relationships, self-esteem, career choices, and our ability to achieve what we want in life.
How Trauma Affects Us and How We Can Heal
Kalpana Murthy, LPC was interviewed as a trauma expert on the podcast Still Becoming. In this interview she discusses: what constitutes trauma, how do we know we’ve experienced it, common misconceptions and worries about trauma focused therapy, ways to heal from trauma, and EMDR therapy. She also shares the experience in her life that has had the biggest influence on her personally and professionally. Click below to listen.
If you’d like to have a short phone conversation to get a feel for what counseling is like with me and to determine if I’m the right fit for you, just give me a call or send me an email and we’ll schedule a time to talk. I look forward to connecting with you soon.
With A Smile,