Theoretical Approach

“You helped me get my light back.” — Former client

During our conversations I will likely draw upon theory and methods from various schools of therapy such as Adlerian Individual Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy, Humanistic Psychotherapy, Existential Therapy, Experiential Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Mindfulness and Body-Centered Psychotherapies, and various schools of Sex Therapy.

Adlerian Individual Therapy

“To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another.” — Alfred Adler

Although I draw on a large variety of theories and techniques, perhaps the style that best describes what my therapy is like is that of Adlerian individual therapy. According to Diane Gehart, Adlerian therapists are often quite encouraging, very optimistic, and hopeful about their clients. They tend to see the best in their clients and maintain a fundamental belief that clients can change their lives in meaningful ways. From the other Adlerian-oriented therapists I have met, I tend to think we also have a good sense of humour and a strong sense that we ought to work together to form supportive and mutual relationships.

Adlerian psychology is a holistic theory grounded in a developmental perspective that considers biological, psychological, social, environmental, and childhood experiences that have impacted and shaped who you are. Helping clients is as much about solving the immediate problems that motivate a client to come to therapy, but also helping to shape and improve the long-term life path of clients. Adlerians call this life trajectory the “style of life” which can be defined as the conscious and unconscious pattern/habits each of us develops and uses to respond to the main tasks of living (i.e. friendships, romantic relationships, work, family life, leisure, etc).

Adlerians believe that in order to develop a healthy psychological way of being, we must achieve a feeling of gemeinschaftsgefühl—a safe and secure sense of belonging to a community and a mutual interest in the well-being of others. When we achieve that state of psychological well-being we develop a sense of freedom, of safety, of happiness, and of courage. However, it is not unusual for clients (and therapists) to struggle with fears of failure, inadequacy, discouragement, depression, and so on. Often these feelings compound when we pull back from others, think that we should solve our problems on our own, fear becoming a burden to others, and think that we will end up alone crying into the darkness forever.

If you’d like to know more about Adlerian Individual Therapy, this video by Dr. Diane Gehart is a wonderful resource.