Be Heard & Understood
Do you feel that no one has ever heard you out, has never taken the time to understand what your struggle is and what you want?
This is the first thing that I want to accomplish, to hear your perspective, motivations, intent, actions and needs. In couples and family sessions I take time to hear each persons perspective, which also gives others the opportunity to hear it, uninterrupted.
If you don’t feel heard and understood, it is very difficult to move forward.
Do you want to feel good for a moment, or want the problem solved?
Well, both would be nice, but solving the problem will help you feel better in the long run.
So even though it might be a bit difficult in the moment, we focus on what brought you in, take a look at it, explore how it might be solved and work to obtain a positive result.
Something I find particularly helpful is to explore the options available for a given situation, because we can get stuck in how we see things and what actions we take. Looking at the possibilities, considering their pro’s and con’s and exploring what we want and what gets in the way of getting it (feelings, fears and reactions) can be very useful.
When we have more choices and possible responses it helps us to become unstuck and opens up new possibilities.
In relationships, it is always helpful to improve communication. What is even more helpful is to improve understanding.
Sometimes there isn’t anymore that can be said that has not already been said. Where progress can be made is in understanding what is behind what the other is saying, their intent, emotions, fears and hopes. Only then can you move forward.
Stop the Negative
One of the first things I like to do is to interrupt the negative interactions and thoughts processes that I notice. They can be based on old patterns, false beliefs, fears, defenses, or for many other reasons. But they are not helpful and can block what you are trying to accomplish, what you want.
Then I like to explore more constructive, positive ways of expressing and thinking.
Having a clear set of goals for counseling keeps the sessions focused on what you have come in for. They can be revised, but having them is essential. Otherwise it is too easy to explore interesting, but unrelated and unproductive material. We can always come back to these tangents if desired.
During the first half of the first session, I will mostly be listening. Then I will be much more engaged. I find it beneficial to be interactive and not just take a passive position by occasionally asking the old question, “how do you feel about that.”
An example of what I do is to ask questions, explore different options, and offer different perspectives. Also, having someone to bounce thoughts off and get a thoughtful response can be a form or external processing, which can bring new insight and understanding.
Tools & Skill Building
Tools and skills are things that will help you do something different the next time you are faced with a difficult situation. An example might be when someone close to you criticizes you, which would typically start an argument in which nothing is accomplished. I would teach you how to slow things down, consider your feelings, what you are tempted to say, what would be more constructive to say (we really work on this part), and then say it.
It doesn’t take but 30 seconds to begin to cool down and become less reactive and more constructive. It can break a long established pattern that is painful, destructive and never leads to a positive resolution.
Call for free Phone Consultation
Give me a call and let’s have a conversation to see how counseling can help. It will give you a few ideas and only cost a little of your time.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (Lic # 52487)
Office: Downtown Los Angeles