Therapy with Alex
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
A combination of western psychology and eastern psychology inform my work. I believe deeply in creativity as a benchmark of health and helping someone to find that creativity in life, if it’s blocked up. This means finding a way of living that might never have occurred for you. I also believe in the power of stopping and checking in with our experience to see what is actually going on. Additionally, it might be necessary to question parts of our lives that might keep us from a sense of contentment (i.e. a job that is all encompassing and not rewarding, relationships that drain us, social media that we feel we must partake in, etc.) but makes us feel badly about ourselves.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
This is different for everyone I work with. I don’t think one size fits all is the key. I never want to share something that might get in the way or inform a client’s exploration. I’m also interested in the people I work with learning to trust their own intuition about a relationship, and fostering this process is key.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I’m pretty active in a session, especially if I see or feel something that might be important.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
Again, this is different for each client. For some people, not doing homework might be the homework. For others, a brief, daily practice might open up a new world of feeling at ease.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
The therapeutic relationship is different. I deeply care about my clients and always wish for them to be well, but our relationship isn’t contingent on you having a specific emotional or relational responsibility towards me. This allows for an exploration of how you relate to yourself and how you relate to other people, using our time together as training wheels.
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?
I think that you will probably want to leave when you find the answers that you came for. No more, no less.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I worked on Assertive Community Treatment teams for many years— this is kind of like the special forces of the mental health world. They are interdisciplinary teams who focus on helping patients with some of the most profound and severe mental health concerns. I’ve also worked in community mental health as a therapist.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I attended the famous Smith College School for Social Work to obtain my Masters in Social Work. The program has a historical precedent for instructing the first social workers in psychotherapy. The program continues to have the most rigorous clinical curriculum and clinical experience for an MSW in this country. I attended post graduate classes in both western based and eastern based experiential psychotherapy.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
It is part of my spiritual belief system. I also find the work fascinating and engaging. I want to heal people and help them learn to heal themselves when they can.
What is the best part of the work for you?
I get to hear people’s stories and deeply learn who they are. I get to be there for them in a radical way. Learning everyday is also very fun for me. I also get to help folks find a greater sense of being themselves and within that experience, living more contently.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
You can find meaning in deep exploration. I want to help you find safety so that you are able to feel experiences that might be new and liberating.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I believe in being an inclusive therapist. I want to work with people who have different racial, ethnic, or gender backgrounds. The most important thing about this is to make sure that we look at our differences and not just brush them under the rug. How are we different and how does this change how we communicate together? What seems relevant to you, potentially coming from a different background but working with a white, male therapist?
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
Sometimes you will know right away because you will be able to feel the change in the day-to-day experience. Other times, change can happen somewhat slowly until some part of you is ready to go deeper. I think it’s so different for everyone. I will often share with you what I see that is changing in your experience and remind you where we’ve been. It’s sort of like being a co-pilot on a plane. You’re flying, and I’m helping you to see where you have been and where we are now. One experience is that you will be aware of more feelings and sensations that are happening within you at any given time. This is a big indicator of a change process, even though the journey in therapy is not always linear.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
I would say that in general 3-6 months is a good start for the therapeutic process. With that being said, everybody is different. Some people will benefit from years of therapy, others will come for 3 months and feel like they’ve gotten some answers that they needed.
Do I need to bring anything with me?