During therapy I'm focusing on and appreciating the other person as someone who is immensely deep and wise, who has an incredibly impactful story whether they believe it or not. I'm far from thoughts of evaluating or judging the person in front of me; I'm more so trying to empathize and understand. From a genuine place, I share my thoughts, feelings, and reactions: my experience of their experience. I will freely share information if I get the feeling that I know something that the client does not know that could be useful to them, but that is not the focus of my approach.
I find that many people coming to therapy would like to have their problem clearly defined and a plan for changing it laid out for them. I wish I could do that for them but I believe that for me to remain humble and curious is what will allow the process of therapy to unfold, which is the process by which the client can change as a person, update their perception of the problem and their approach to their problems. This sort of change is the special kind that therapy can help people achieve: change that will last for a lifetime and can lead to greater effectiveness in dealing with all kind of problems.
Clients who struggle with depression are reaching out to be understood and to share their burden, but find it difficult to find someone whom they feel understands and can handle being burdened with it. On top of that, they often struggle with shame and guilt for feeling the way that they do. In my approach to therapy, being that someone whom they feel understands and doesn't judge them is key.
My approach to counseling allows clients to begin to unpack and express the thoughts and feelings that they are anxious about. By bringing those thoughts and feelings out in a safe, positive environment, there can be a reduction of the fear and anxiety attached to them and the issues and options before them become more clear.
I feel those with trauma, regardless of how serious or deserved it may seem to them, could benefit the most from the respect and lack of pushiness inherent in a Person-centered approach, such as mine. The ways in which my approach helps with depression and anxiety apply to trauma issues as well.
I do not specialize in assessment and diagnosis as I feel that these can be detrimental to the kind of nonjudgmental, curiousity-driven therapy that I do. I typically do not write ESA letters or other such letters of professional evaluation because they are inherently assessment, diagnosis, and judgment-driven. So, I typically refer clients elsewhere who seek such letters, assessments, or official diagnoses. Although, to clarify, I do help clients explore a prior mental health diagnosis or one they are currently exploring as a means of understanding themselves better (e.g., exploring gender dysphoria, Autism spectrum or ADHD, disordered eating, psychosis, or substance use disorders). I believe that many people's goal for therapy and the problems they are experiencing can be dealt with in a Person-centered therapeutic environment without the necessity of an official diagnosis. If I ever feel that I'm not able to help a client or that someone else could help them better, perhaps with a different therapeutic approach or by means of a thorough assessment, I would discuss that with the client and may refer them to another provider.
Missouri License #2020043286
Professional ethics information: https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/ethics
Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors: https://pr.mo.gov/counselors