Most people come to therapy as individuals and there are some big advantages in doing so. When you see your therapist alone, you have complete control over what you talk about and who knows about it. This gives you the freedom to explore some things that you might be afraid to approach if you had to say it out loud in front of your friend, partner, child, or parent and face his or her reactions to it. This can make it difficult to follow something potentially scary to its conclusion.
Another advantage is that the time is all yours.
You don’t have to share it with anyone. Rarely are
we in a situation where we get another person’s undivided
attention. Rarely do we even give this to ourselves.
People come to therapy for any number of reasons and often have several concerns that they’d like to address. In general, the reasons for seeking therapy fall into two categories: 1) individual problems— concerns about your own feeling, thinking behavior—and 2) problems in relationships with others.
Many people seek therapy because they just don’t feel
right. Perhaps you find yourself irritable or sad
much of the time. Maybe you feel like you repeatedly
fall short of your expectations of yourself and are never
quite satisfied with the choices you make. Perhaps
you worry about things more that you feel is useful.
Some people want to figure out something important about their identity – for example, whether or not they are gay or lesbian, whether their job is really what they want to do for a living, or whether they’re on the right spiritual or religious path. Some people may have already decided they want to make a major shift in one of these areas, but know that making such a shift will come with its own challenges and want support initiating and navigating the change.
Maybe you’ve noticed that you often find yourself in
relationships that aren’t working the way you’d like them
to or think they should. Perhaps, for example,
you’ve had difficulty keeping long-term friendships or
have never been able to sustain an intimate relationship
for more than a few months.
Or maybe you have concerns about a particular relationship. Adult children often seek therapy for help in resolving conflicts between themselves and their parents or other family members. Parents often ask for help regarding raising their children or getting along with children who are now adults. Perhaps you want to make amends to your grown children for some way you hurt them when they were young, or you want to face and resolve some painful conflicts that are impeding your ability to have a satisfying adult-to-adult relationship. Or perhaps you have ended a relationship with someone and want some help to come to terms with the loss and learn how to avoid getting into a similar relationship in the future. These are all concerns that we can address in individual therapy although, in many cases, people find it very helpful to invite those with whom they are having a conflict to join the process or at least attend a few joint sessions so that they can work together on the problems between them with the help of a therapist.
Many people come to therapy because they’re in an intimate relationship that isn’t going as well as they would like. They may fight about things like how to spend money, how to spend their time together, how to raise their children, or how they communicate. Some people want help deciding whether to stay in a relationship, or want to learn how to make a relationship better. If your concern is primarily about an intimate relationship, you and I will explore whether couple therapy or Discernment Counseling would be helpful for you at this time.