To be its most effective, psychotherapy is best approached with an open mind and heart, as this provides us with the opportunity to examine the underlying emotional or psychological needs being expressed through our actions and attitudes. It also enables us to determine whether our behaviour is meeting our needs in a way that allows us to grow, or is merely enabling us to “get by.”
What often gets in the way are our ideas and beliefs about who we are, or what we have experienced, and the emotional/psychological defenses we build to protect ourselves over the course of our lives. So, we must first work past these barriers. In order to do so, the approach to working with clients focuses on reducing the judgment of "right" or "wrong" in how we relate to ourselves and to others, and on developing an attitude of curiosity, understanding, compassion and acceptance instead.
Psychotherapy is not a passive process, or something that is “done to” someone; it is an interactive, participative process that can be challenging at times. This is because it requires a person to look inwardly at themselves – their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc. – and, for many, it may be the first time doing so. Psychotherapy requires courage and commitment to growth, particularly when facing the natural resistance all clients experience, which is simply part of the process.
The psycho-therapeutic process is also one that provides an opportunity for you to tell your story as you see it, in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
It is my role as therapist to use my knowledge, skills and experience to draw out what is there, and to be your guide along the journey.
The approach taken is also psycho-educational – meaning that you will learn about yourself, your motivations, your behavior, your brain, and you will discover new habits of mind to adopt.
There is a further learning component which involves homework! This means that you will complete small exercises in order to enhance and apply your learning. There is a very good reason for this – we now understand that it is not enough to “know” that something must change. In order to make the changes we truly want to make, we must identify new behaviours that create the circumstances we want, and then practice them, over and over again, until they become new habits! In other words, we must “do” differently, in order to feel, think and “be” differently.
To accelerate the therapeutic process, I recommend the use of the Striving Styles® Personality Assessment as part of a client’s intake (the initial information gathering stage at the beginning of therapy). Having worked for more than 5 years on the developmental team for this assessment, I have first-hand experience of how this assessment significantly reduces the time a therapist and client typically spend in the discovery of a client’s issues by allowing us to quickly identify and understand their emotional drivers and needs. Assessment is only a starting point for understanding an individual, not a limitation or a pigeon-hole. While it is not a mandatory part of your therapy, it is highly recommended as a resource to facilitate the process of self-awareness and understanding.
Nancy Dranitsaris, RP, RIHR, CAHT
Mindfulness and SMART Facilitator
Organizational Consultant and Coach
Imagine...If you truly understood that:
Your behaviour was learned long before you were ever conscious of the world around you
Your behaviour is simply a matter of programming that you are not aware of
Your behaviour is motivated by naturally existing emotional drivers and needs that must be met
You have the ability to change your behaviour and get your needs met simply by doing new things and thinking in new ways...
...What you could accomplish with your life?