In my experience, most people who state they want to improve some aspect of their family life really do want to improve some aspect of their life. They’re not lying. Of course, there may be old patterns or experiences that impact the outcomes people get… but what I see most often are people who don’t know HOW to help themselves or their families, or even which skills to develop.
As a specialist in anxiety, I recognize that getting help can feel overwhelming and complicated. Anxiety in all its forms thrives on being overwhelming and complicated! My goal is to do the opposite of what anxiety demands: be clear, concrete, and offer a plan.
Families often spend a great deal of time and money looking for the answers to WHY questions: “Why can’t I enjoy a social gathering? Why can’t my child go to school but is full of energy at home? Why is bedtime such a disaster in our house? Why can’t I get on that airplane?”
But productive solutions and strategies result from asking HOW: “How do I get my child to school? How do people who stick to an exercise program stick to an exercise program? How do I get myself to do things that make me anxious but are important to me and my family? How do I handle the way anxiety makes my body feel? ”
I describe myself as a HOW therapist. Just like the coach who taught you HOW to shoot a free throw or the teacher that taught you HOW to multiply fractions, I show and teach people what to DO differently. The past most certainly can get in the way–even as it helps us understand the patterns that exist–but it needn’t define how we move into the future.
Improvement and change require resources, both internal and external. My job is to help access the ones you’ve already developed (and perhaps forgotten about) and create the new ones you need.
From the first session, children and parents will learn skills that boost confidence and foster adaptive thinking and positive results. Success in therapy is often based on taking action, positive expectancy, and building some immediate momentum in the right direction. The focus is not on “getting rid” of thoughts, feelings, or sensations, but understanding them, at times expecting them, and—for both children and adults– learning how to manage them.