“A deeper self-understanding changes who you are. Making sense of your life enables you to understand others more fully and gives you the possibility of choosing your behaviors and opening your mind to a fuller range of experiences.”
Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Parenting from the Inside Out
In the above quote, Daniel Siegel describes some of the outcomes of deeper self-understanding. Dr. Siegel has made his life’s work the study of the brain and how the brain is affected by all life experiences, including psychotherapy. Through his work and that of hundreds of researchers, we now know that the brain actually changes through deep, relational work. As the brain changes, so does a person’s life.
These very important findings support what I have experienced in the many hours I have spent facilitating individuals seeking to change. It is not only possible to effect change, it is possible to effect changes that are enduring.
How does this process work?
At its most basic level, psychotherapy is a relational process between two people, each of whom brings unique knowledge to the process. Together, we identify your goals. Then, through a process of interaction, aimed at insight and self-awareness, problem-solving and guidance, you are supported in the growth necessary to achieve your goals.
During the assessment phase of therapy, we get to know each other better and I recommend a plan. For more information about the methods that I employ to support your plan, please see the section Therapy Methods.
The exact path toward achieving the identified goals is unique to each person. A teacher of mine once likened the process to taking a trip. You know where you want to go, say California, but there are many routes to arrive there. So too, are there many routes to personal happiness and satisfaction. Together, we would work to identify the best route for you. I make recommendations based on my experience and my training.
Is this for you?
If you are reading this, you may be considering entering psychotherapy. Most often people consider therapy because they are in deep pain or discomfort, the result of depression, extended grief, high levels of anxiety, or the challenges of work or relationship. Others are interested in knowing themselves better or achieving accelerated growth and come to therapy in less distress. Psychotherapy can be beneficial under either circumstance.
If you have tried to change on your own and continue to run into roadblocks, psychotherapy may be beneficial.
Because psychotherapy is a deeply intimate and sometimes vulnerable experience, it is very important that you feel comfortable with whomever you choose as a therapist.
What kind of goals are addressed?
Your reasons for considering therapy will determine your specific goals for its outcome. Many people seek improved self-confidence, reduced anxiety, more stable and positive mood, reduction in addictive behaviors, better capacity to stay focused on life goals. These are just examples. There can be many more goals for therapy.
In my experience, attaining greater self-knowledge and self-awareness leads to personal change that reduces pain, increases understanding and yields greater freedom and satisfaction in all the components of life: relationships, work, play, study and rest.
What factors contribute to a positive outcome?
The research continually identifies one single factor as being the best predictor of a positive result. Surprisingly it is not a technique, or modality, or specific theoretical approach. It is the relationship between the psychotherapist and the client. So it is important that you feel comfortable-- safe, supported, understood-- with whomever you choose.
There are other things that help move the process along, for example, thinking about ideas from therapy, doing homework if it is suggested, knowing what you want to talk about in session, i.e., investing in the process.
Although psychotherapy and physical therapy or training differ, physical training may serve as a useful analogy. If you work with a trainer or physical therapist once a week, you will achieve some improvement. But if you practice during the week, your improvement will be significantly enhanced. So too with psychotherapy, if you think about what you are learning about yourself and observe your self between sessions, you have the capacity to enhance your change process. How you are willing or able to invest in the process, impacts the outcome.
DISCLAIMER: The information on any area or page of this site is intended for information purposes only regarding an available clinical service. The diagnosis or treatment of any particular disorder by the information provided on this website, or the links referred to by this website, is not recommended, intended, nor implied. No therapeutic relationship exists between Rebecca Mueller, Psy.D. and individuals wishing to e-mail or telephone her for information or to schedule an appointment. A therapeutic relationship, if appropriate, will be agreed upon following the initial, in-inperson consultation. If a psychotherapy relationship is not possible, for whatever reason, appropriate referrals may be provided
Copyright © 2009. Rebecca Mueller, Psy.D. All Rights Reserved.