"I feel like it's weirder to
not have anxiety than to have it. Because I feel like if you're not
scared, you're not paying attention." - Aparna Nancherla
I describe my work with clients as being an integration of a few theoretical perspectives: interpersonal, humanistic, psychodynamic, and multicultural. I believe that human beings operate for reasons that are largely subconscious. Clients, like anyone, might have adopted a defense mechanism or way of being early in life that was adaptive and over time, the costs of operating in that way might outweigh the benefits for them. Or, they might have internalized messages or agendas that are not their own, leading to inner conflicts. I believe these types of possibilities to be within the framework of people’s cultural backgrounds that provide the precipitates to be introjected.
In session I strive to honor this complex and organic nature of people and their lives. I believe that how clients fill silence is most diagnostic; I focus on listening with my third ear and finding what unspoken messages might underlie their narratives. As such, I believe that there are very few things that clients *should* do, or *should* talk about in session. I believe that what I can consciously see is just the tip of the iceberg and I strive to find what is beneath the water: what makes clients tick, their worldviews, what they are trying to tell themselves, what is said through slips of the tongue or through what is left unsaid, etc. To make each session count, I try to remember to ask myself: in case this is the last time I see this person, how can I best help them to feel heard and understood?
Certainly there are situations for which asking specific questions, problem-solving or symptom management is indicated. However, my main interest is in development of personality. I strive to have a therapy relationship that is unique from clients’ other relationships in that I am mindful of not telling them something they might already get from others, or a book or the internet. Instead, I try to make, in as unbiased a way as possible, an observation or interpretation, or ask an open question, that can help them to take the first step toward meaningful change: having a deeper understanding of themselves.
"Maybe she's born with it. Or maybe she's trapped in a societal prison of impossible beauty standards." -Aparna Nancherla