To help prospective clients begin to get to know me, I’d like to offer this introduction. Usually when therapists describe themselves they provide some of the facts: years in practice, schools attended. But I don’t think this really helps a prospective client get to know the person with whom they will be sharing so much of themselves. By way of an introduction, I’d like to begin at the beginning of the therapeutic process: that is, with the act of listening.
I had the very good fortune to attend a school, and particularly a training program, that did start with and emphasized the fundamentals — particularly the act of listening. There is something intrinsically healing in the experience of being listened to, really listened to closely, by another person. There is something powerful in the act of being witnessed, in sharing one’s life with another person. We are, after all, social beings: we live and grow through relationships.
While in my early education, I learned useful and important theories and techniques, mostly what I practiced was this technique of listening deeply. And while there are theories and other techniques that I utilize today, still the act of listening forms the foundation for the work which occurs.
I feel fortunate that my earlier adult experiences as a writer have helped me develop my ear for listening. The writer and the therapist share a careful attention to language. Both must listen intensely, of course, for the meaning of words, but also for the silences between words. And being able to find the right words, the ones that are doors to open up (the story or the therapeutic process) inner worlds, is the art.
Of course, there is more to the therapeutic process than just listening. I have heard from many clients about previous therapists who “just sat there” or said “uh ha” repeatedly. I am not one of those therapists. I think you will find me to be an active listener and engaged participant in the dialog about your life. I view our task as thinking together about the issues that distress you. I welcome the opportunity.