Therapy with Paul
From your perspective, what is therapy?
From my perspective, therapy is an outlet for an individual to share their issues and work with a professional to help identify the core problems. The goal of the therapist is to provide a safe, non-judgemental environment where the client feels comfortable to challenge these issues and start making meaningful changes.
I also believe therapy is a place for an individual to take control of their lives and invest in their future potential.
Additionally, therapy provides guidance on how to work as part of a team along with practice to get the most out of interpersonal relationships.
Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room
I like to view the room as an escape from the reality that exists downstairs in the busy streets of lower manhattan. The room is used as a safe place to discuss the challenges each individual faces and to give them undivided attention and the type of support that is not commonly available to people in NYC.
A tool we will use in the therapeutic space is role playing, which I have found useful especially in situations where clients have found themselves powerless. The use of role playing provides the participant an opportunity to rewrite the narrative of what they believe happened and determine the correct course of action. The benefit of rewriting the story or narrative is the participant will control the situation and hopefully realize they are a very powerful individual, capable of making a difference.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
I believe humans are very resilient and we are all capable of achieving great things. Furthermore, in my opinion all individuals have the ability to work through traumatic events and become stronger with the right type of support, which starts by reaching out for help. Additionally, I believe all people are inherently good but need positive reinforcement to encourage this behavior and provide recognition.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I will share a few small things in our time together but I will be mindful about what I share. For example, I will make sure my self-disclosure is relevant to our course of treatment whether it pertains to a personal experience or professional schedule.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I participate a little bit in sessions, but I prefer the focus to be on the client. For example, I will participate to reflect back on important topics but I will not talk a lot about myself or analyze our conversation. I believe each individual has the capacity to make positive changes in their lives, they just need some guidance of how to get there which is my role.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I fully believe in assigning homework for two reasons. The first reason I like assigning homework is that it provides the client with the ability to apply concepts in real time and start implementing changes on their own. Another reason I believe in assigning homework is that it provides the client a chance to challenge their commitment to change and keep themselves accountable for their own actions.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
Our relationship will be different than your relationships with friends or loved ones because we will have a purpose to each session and our time together will be focused on your goals. Additionally, I strive to create a non-judgmental environment where your thoughts and feelings are the centerpiece and will be treated with respect. I also strive to keep my emotions out of our work together and focus on helping you in the ways you see fit, rather than giving advice.
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 would encourage you to terminate or graduate when we both decide you are capable of utilizing the tools you learned in therapy completely on your own. I am not looking to keep people around for money or amusement. The goal of therapy, in my opinion, is to help individuals reach a point of self-reliance and to hone their abilities to utilize all of the resources around them for help.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I recently finished my Master’s Degree in Social Work and I worked at two internships during my time in school. The first internship I did was at Brooklyn College, where I helped young adults make the transition from high school to college. Additionally, I worked with some upperclassmen to aid in the transition from college to the job market. During my second internship I worked in a high school where I helped 9th grade students identify and work through challenges that were keeping them from reaching their full potential.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have received my Master’s Degree in Social Work and I am also Licensed in the State of New York to practice Social Work.
Additionally, I have taken several training courses on helping people who are on the Autism Spectrum work through challenges.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I discovered my love of helping people while I was in the military. As I started in a supervisory role, I became a resource advisor and confidant, which made me feel like I was making a difference in the lives of my coworkers. In turn, I applied for graduate school and discovered my passion.
What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of therapy for me is watching people grow and start to see how powerful they really are. Additionally, I like to watch people implement the skills we worked on together to help other people around them.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
One thing that makes me different from my colleagues is I have an interesting amount of experience with different cultures. For example, I lived in three different countries and I lived overseas for nearly 10 years, so I work well in unfamiliar environments and I am very open to different perspectives. Additionally, I have a lot of professional experience in adverse situations, which provides me with a good ability to put work stress into perspective.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I am very open to people with different backgrounds, and I have several years of experience living overseas. The experience living overseas has provided me with the ability to treat people from different backgrounds with respect while appreciating our individual differences and similarities.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
The first way I can tell you are benefiting from our work together is your body language. For example, I believe everyone should have times where they feel uncomfortable, which shows that our work together is having a meaningful impact on you. Additionally, I can tell if working with me is beneficial to you by discussing how your behaviors have changed and by monitoring your use of our interventions.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
I will be able to tell if you are stuck by seeing how you interact within our sessions and by discussing your interactions with other people in your normal everyday life. For example, in a session being stuck may lead to repeating the same thing in several sessions with the same perspective. In turn, you may be reporting that our plan to solve this problem is not working but you have not followed through completely to confirm or deny this conclusion.
A way to tell if you are feeling unseen or unheard is through our dialogue and your body language. For example, if you look visibly uncomfortable or unengaged those could be signs you could feel like I am not listening to you. Additionally, if the content of our session is vague and superficial, this could be a sign that you do not feel like I am providing the correct amount of attention to focus on the issues at hand.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
I believe you should originally commit to 12 sessions, because evidence-based practices have shown that it takes a minimum of 12 sessions to make meaningful change in therapy.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
I think you should just bring an open mind and maybe look up any ideas about what you would like therapy to look like.