Therapy with Alana
Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room so that I can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.
-Client A is a sexual trauma survivor who is coping with her trauma for the first time in over a decade. She explored self blame and the feeling that she “shouldn’t have been there that night.” My response: It sounds like you’re carrying around a lot of self blame from the night of your rape. That’s not uncommon for trauma survivors, but that feels like a heavy burden to carry. How do you think that self-blame is impacting you today?
-Client B is thinking of buying a house. Client B has discussed unhappiness in his transition to his late 20’s, indicating discomfort in being somewhere in between his friends who are settled in homes with partners and kids, and friends who are still partying late into the night. My response: The late 20’s transition can be very daunting, and can feel isolating at times. It is a time of transition and change, which often has us feeling out of sorts. It is not uncommon to want to anchor yourself to a concrete solution during this otherwise uncertain time in your life. It sounds like buying this house would be more than a financial investment; what do you think this house represents for you?
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
My work is informed by humanistic, feminist, and social justice values. My philosophy is that the more empowered you feel to be your most authentic self, the more prone you will be toward making change. While we will focus on the relationship between your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, we will also contextualize this within who you are and your past experiences. You are the master of your own life; I am simply a reflection of what you bring to therapy and your commitment to enacting meaningful change.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
Overall, I value utilizing the time for your personal growth and the growth of our relationship. I share about myself when it feels beneficial to you and our relationship.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I am participatory, interactive, and collaborative. You will not be bouncing a ball against a wall! I will tell you my thoughts, share my opinions, and be an equal with you in the room.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I do not assign formal homework. I suggest that you actively work on subjects discussed during therapy throughout the week. For example I may close session with something like this, “Try to have a mindful conversation with a family member this week and we will discuss this during our next session.” Other informal homework I have assigned in the past includes participating in self care activities such as meditation or exercise, making a doctors appointment, or journaling.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
Talking with friends, family, and loved ones can be very beneficial. These people know you better than anyone in the world. However, our loved ones are unable to see things entirely from our perspective because they are biased by their own perceptions. Therapists are the closest relationship we have to unbiased guiders. Your relationship with a therapist will help you gain insight into your emotions, thought patterns, and behavioral patterns that loved ones cannot necessarily see. You will also gain insight into ways to cope with these newfound insights, which is something you will often not receive in your other relationships.
Is there ever a time when you would encourage me to leave or graduate? Or how do I know when it’s time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?
Yes! Therapy is not lifelong. You should feel empowered by your therapist to graduate and move forward if you have worked through your therapeutic goals. That does not just mean the immediate goals of "getting through my divorce" "making a career change" or “getting over my ex,” but also working through the underlying psychosocial factors and underlying pathologies that lead you to this crossroads in your life.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
Before private practice, I was a clinician at a substance abuse agency where I provided both group and individual counseling to adults struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I received my Masters in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University and have since been practicing psychotherapy. I have a certification in Motivational Interviewing, and hope to continue my clinical practice in future post-masters trainings.
What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of the work for me is when client's begin to gain insight into their patterns of thoughts and emotions that have been hindering their journey toward becoming their most authentic selves. It is an honor to watch people shift, change, and grow into their best selves.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
I provide a very beneficial combination of authenticity, empathy, and directiveness that allows clients to not only feel warm and heard - but allows them to safely grow and make the changes they need to in order to be the best version of themselves.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I bring it to the room. I think things left unsaid in the therapy room can be re-traumatizing for clients, indicating to them that diversity is a taboo topic.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
I can tell if you are benefiting from working with me if one of two things is happening:
Your life outside of therapy is slowly changing. This tells me that the energy you are emitting out into the universe is changing and creating more positive opportunity for you.
The here and now relationship is changing with me in the room. This will indicate to me that you are benefiting emotionally.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
Often if a client is feeling unseen or unheard, they will remain in the same patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, which creates the same "stuckness" in their life that has always been. If I feel stuck in the room I will use that to indicate to the client that the here-and-now feels stuck and ask them directly how they are feeling in therapy.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
Everybody’s journey is different. You may come in with a short-term goal that only take twelve or so weeks to resolve. Or you may be going through something that takes months or years to work through and resolve. Both are okay! But the minimum commitment I suggest to clients in order to invest in the benefits of therapy is twelve weeks.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
You should bring with you a general sense of your therapeutic goals for us to discuss during the first few sessions.
Do I need to bring anything with me?