Approach to Psychotherapy
“People say that we are seeking a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell
We do not need a new explanation, but a new experience (Frieda Fromm-Reichmann). My focus is to help my clients develop, experience, and live better versions of themselves.
I view psychotherapy/counselling as a means to touch, heal, and inspire your life, so that you can be free to be who you really are. And you do not need to have a “mental illness” to receive help.
At first blush, this might sound strange, when all you might want is to get rid of your problems.
The Mandarin word of crisis “wei ji” connotes not just an element of danger, but both danger and opportunity.
Indeed, dark times can serve as life’s great opportunity to work through past wounds, restore healing in the present, and open new horizons for the road ahead.
I do not think that therapy is simply about helping a person feel better. There are a lot of other ways (and cheaper!) to do so. If life was simply about feeling good, then drug addicts would be the happiest people on earth, wouldn’t it? I view therapy as a way to help people lead a full and fulfilling life, in spite of what life might throw at you, where we might not have control of. Rather, the purpose of therapy is to help you to utilise and develop from it.
As I have a broad spectrum of approaches that I utilise in therapy (systemic and collaborative therapies, experiential, intensive short-term psychodynamic, Ericksonian, contemplative/mindfulness-based, cognitive-behavioural, eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, person-centered, emotion-focused, etc.), I incorporate a Feedback Informed Therapy (FIT) in my practice. This means that I will keep track of how things are going for you so that I can make adjustments along the way, and create the best way for me to use my clinical skills to assist you in getting to your preferred outcome. In short, finding the right FIT for you to experience healing and benefit is of the utmost importance to me.
Let me try my best to state clearly what I’m not.
If you are looking for a cookie cutter, clinical and book abiding therapist, I’m really not your guy. Frankly, there are heaps of therapists out there who do a fine job with clients who stay with them, simply using a prescribed manualised based approach to therapy, and
If you are are looking for someone to only alleviate your symptoms and leave the rest of your life alone, again, I’m not your guy. I do not work towards just an improvement of yur presenting symptoms, I devote myself to having a high impact in your lived experience.
Now, let me try to state clearly my one focus:
High Accountability for Success:
Your Experience of Benefit is My Top Priority.
By monitoring your outcomes and engagement levels (see my outcomes below) on a session-by-session basis, I devote my efforts toward tailoring to your specific needs, perspective, beliefs and preferences. This ensures that I have a better chance of helping you, sooner, rather than later in therapy. (By the way, it’s a myth that you have to get worse before you get better).
While I am steep steeped in the clinical research of psychotherapy outcomes and the development of expertise in this field (see Publications), I do not solely borrow from evidence-based practices (EBP), and make claims that a particular approach works best, for more than a decade, I develop a practice-based evidence (PBE) for each and every client.
For example, if a client isn’t experiencing benefit from a cognitive behavioural approach in treating her social anxiety, it would be silly for me to insist on doing the same thing in the face of no benefit. Most clinicians end up labeling the client as “resistant” to the evidence-based treatment. I say, hang on a second. We must be informed not only by EBPs, but also our own PBEs. The trouble is, most clinicians to date do not systematic track the outcomes of their clients (Miller, Hubble, Chow, Seidel, 2013). In other words, if the client isn’t clicking with a particular approach, I’m prepared to take a different road. It simply isn’t fair to treat clients as if they walked into a K-Mart store. Rather, they have walked in a tailor shop. My job is to serve what fits.
You Wanna Know More?
People are more than the just the sum of their problems/symptoms. I aim to work with my clients in the most respectful and life-giving manner, treating each person as a unique individual with a set of special resources up their sleeves.
Given my background in hospitals, private and school settings, and foundations as a youth worker, I enjoy working with a wide range of clients, and I have experience working with people with emotional (e.g., self-criticism, grief, unresolved issues), relational (e.g., family and couples concerns), psychological (e.g., depression, anxiety), as well as other mental health concerns (e.g., traumas, OCD, phobias, voice hearing experience, psychosomatic).
Particularly, I have an interest in working with people interested in creativity, dealing with spiritual/existential concerns, difficulty in making decisions, and those who are interested in self- & professional-development. My outcomes across the years also suggests that I’m helpful with people facing anxieties.
When I work with youths, I strive to work creatively with them, so as to keep them engaged. At the same time making it as highly inclusive with their family members and carers involved in their lives.
Last, I am happy to work in your preferred arrangement, be it as an individual, a couple, with a family unit, or even with a close friend, at different points of the treatment process.
All Mental Health Practitioners Should Track Their Outcomes
I work towards helping clinicians to make their outcomes more transparent to the public, so that they can make more informed (and less complicated) decision making in choosing their service provider. (For an exemplary, see my colleagues Jason Seidel Psy D. and his team in Denver,Colorado, and Tony Rousmaniere Psy D. in Alaska websites). I train practitioners and agencies in such an outcomes-informed approach as well.
My Actual Effectiveness:
For more than a decade, I have been collecting data about my effectiveness. My outcomes suggest that compared to the average clinician, I am
65% more likely to achieve reliable improvement (71% vs. 43%),
and about 72% less (13% vs. 47%) in dropout rates .
Contrary to the conventional wisdom that meaningful change takes longer rather than shorter time, my data suggests that on average, client experiences reliable improvement between the 3rd or 4th visit, and thus more like to experience gains in subsequent sessions.
No one is effective with everyone. I specialise in several areas, but if your problem falls outside of those areas, I will help you find the best therapist or agency for that concern. That’s my commitmment to you.