Traditionally, therapy has had a stigma…the stigma is usually one of “sickness”, embarrassment and a lack of control of “one’s life. It also has led people to feel they have a mental illness. Even our coding manual is designated to establish a diagnosis of Mental Illness. These codes derived from this diagnostic manual are what insurance companies utilize to pay providers of medical and mental health claims. Among other things, it usually leaves people with a “negative vibe”. It’s ok for everyone else but not unless you “really” need it. When people feel embarrassed about a service, they are also more likely to be reluctant to seek help.
My passion has always been to help others in many various ways. My private practice for many years was focused on just that; helping people with the pain that they bring into the office. That thing they would love to eliminate from their lives. It is this pain, that brings people in for help and, believe me, it has to be pretty bad before some people believe they have to deal with it. I look forward to the day when people push to be the best version of themselves that they can be. I want to be a part of raising people up to this optimistic version of themselves and reducing the shame they feel from focusing on their “sickness”.
Over the years, I have continued to read, study and personally work on ways to manage the continual growth issues that have presented themselves in my own life (there have been a few). In my pursuit of personal growth and change, I went to a conference on Positive Psychology. I was so intrigued and found that this field of study in Psychology really resounded in my spirit. This field of study has been led by Dr. Martin Seligman at Pennsylvania State University. He has written several books and his research has grounded this area in credibility.
I have worked to make the Positive Psychology philosophy and field of study one that I can teach to others. How is this different from traditional therapy? Well…. Traditional Psychology and therefore, therapy, has been problem focused and pathology focused. What this means is that change comes from understanding the pathology one holds, instead of the gifts they bring into this world. In some ways, this isn’t a bad thing but really limits the breadth of change that is possible in a human. It is also a much more negative approach, enabling client’s to feel they are flawed and sometimes disempowered in how they solve their problems.
Several changes have come to be very effective in this new focus. People are learning what their strengths are and how to take control of their lives…feeling empowered, sometimes for the first time. Things like depression and anxiety have tangible solutions that, if implemented, remove the obstacle and leave much more time to focus on good energy and positive growth.
Focusing on the research-based outcome of Positive Psychology reveals a whole new focus! The idea of actually looking at the gifts you are given and the strengths you hold opens up a whole new world for people who already feel really bad about who they are. Research has proven that focusing on the development of one’s strengths is much easier to develop than trying to change weaknesses.
Therapy can be a fun process if we look at change as a chance to do what we desire and be who we’ve always wanted to be. The choices are limitless. In our lives, we pursue purpose and strive to find why we are on this big planet earth…. I believe that young and old need the hope that they can always be the person they hope to be and sometimes that means leaving behind the negative influences and limitations that they have been taught.
In my practice, I strive to help you find your strengths, answer your questions about pains with alternative solutions and help you find the path you are meant to be on right now. It is possible that through this endeavor, we may help others grow and achieve new heights.
One thing I know for sure is that when obstacles of negativity and shame are removed, people can soar in higher forms than ever imagined. I hope to see more people doing this and being who they are meant to be. I also hope to be able to continue this different kind of therapy for a long time to come!