Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and client, and the particular problems you are experiencing. Each person is unique. However, there are some aspects of therapy which are common to my approach with all clients.
During the first few sesions I collect information about the particular problems you face as well as your strengths and resources for overcoming those problems. At the same time, you get a sense of what it is like to work with me. We discuss your goals for therapy - how you want things to be different in your life by the time you finish therapy. I then share my impressions with you and suggest a plan for how to proceed. If that plan makes sense to you, and you feel comfortable working together, we then move on with the process of helping you get better.
I encourage a process of collaboration throughout therapy. This means working together as a team. My role is to bring certain forms of knowledge, understanding, expertise, and support to the process. Your role is to reflect on your own experience, share your thoughts and feelings the best you can, and, when you are ready, try to make some needed changes. The precise nature of the work you and I would do depends on your specific needs, situation, and personality. At each step I will try to help you discover the ways in which you are powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors.
The length of therapy varies from client to client depending on the needs of the individual. In order for you to get the most out of therapy, and reach your goals as soon as possible, you will be encouraged to actively participate both during sessions and outside of sessions. For instance, you may be asked to try out self-help activities or practice new skills between sessions.
During the last phase of therapy, sessions are typically spread out over longer intervals (perhaps every two or four weeks) to allow you more opportunity to gain confidence in the changes you are making.