"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."- Marva Collins
Important areas to attend to:
In the Beginning, and Ongoingly
Your hopes for yourself and what you would like to change, or improve
Your deepest desires for how you would like to be treated in relationships (including the relationship with your therapist)
Your biggest worries about how you might be hurt in relationships (including the relationship with your therapist)
Your understandings of how you comfort yourself
Your understanding of what gets in the way of your being the self you would like to be.
Filling out my Intake Information Form can be a start for clarifying these things. Please download it, fill it out and fax it to me at 310.838.6363 or bring it with you for our first meeting.
Intake Information Form
When you are ready to start right now, please call me and we will assess your needs including times for meeting that are convenient for you.
To get detailed directions to my office and directions for once you get here, click the link below.
First Visit Logistics
One of the Hardest-and Most Important
Things to Talk About is:
I offer you a secure relationship in which you will not be judged. That is what I have learned to do through my own therapy/coaching, character building and 17 years of trainings.
So it is extremely important to express the ways that I (or another your therapist/coach) may interact with you that leave you:
Feeling good about yourself,
Feeling bad about yourself,
With hurt feelings,
Angry or distrustful.
Your therapist should be respectful and interested in your experience, not pathologizing you for your experience.
The automatic ways we make meanings of things is what needs to be learned to be in charge of ourselves. Noticing and recognizing feelings is the place to start.
Daily Observations of Yourself
Writing daily can be an excellent way to keep in touch with yourself. We human beings have an innate desire to speak and write. We were born hardwired to speak, with the urge to name, order, create and share our experience. Picture a child learning to name “chair”, “nose”, “window” and you see glee. The joy of mastery, the joy of saying what is. The joy of sharing. The drive to name things, to speak is perhaps our third instinctual drive... “Feed me, touch me, let me tell you how it feels,” writes Julia Cameron in The Right To Write
We all need to be seen and heard deeply for our full development to occur. That process starts with our seeing and hearing ourselves. Writing slows us down enough so that we can learn to focus beneath the surface, so that we can hear our own voice and see our own pictures. We need a place to ask ourselves what we really think, and how we really feel about things.
Writing is an act of self respect, an act of dignity. Writing helps us value our own experience, as we pay active witness to our selves. Our job is to pay attention to the movies and voices in our heads. When we do this we connect more fully with our inner richness and with others.
I include lots-and lots-of downloadable files on the Self Improvement Articles page which may aid your self-observation.
The Fruit of Your Work
Ultimately, the purpose of therapy and coaching is to help you understand yourself. From this understanding you learn to manage and master your own mental states. You learn to be able to choose ways of interacting with others. This way you can then become proactive rather than only reactive. You can think about what is happening, rather than be mystified. You can comfort yourself when you are in pain, and activate yourself when you are depleted. You can think about what you would like to happen, and how to interact so that you are more likely to achieve your hoped for outcomes.
You learn in therapy, to recognize the following important aspects of your self:
1. Feelings (for example: joy, tenderness, compassion, sadness, agony, excitement, anxiety, interest, depletion, expansiveness, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, anger, contempt, disgust, distaste) and bodily sensations
2. Thoughts and fantasies (often repeated, or automatic thoughts about yourself, the other person, the world such as: I’ve got to get out of this relationship, I’ll get back at her, she’ll be sorry, I hate him, I don’t deserve this, I’m better off alone, If I just try harder, nobody else would want me, the whole world sucks)
3. Relational habits (examples: avoiding eye contact, slumped body posture, agitated attempts to self soothe by playing with jewelry, getting up and walking out, agreeing just to get them off your back, giving compliments, blaming or belittling the other person)
4. Activated relational premises or beliefs (for example: anticipation that your agenda will be dominated by someone else’s agenda, no one will pay attention, you will have to keep the connection, they will crumble if you tell the truth)
5. Associated memories of when that state had been activated before (i.e., you remember how creepy [or, alternatively, how both excited and guilty] you felt when it seemed your mother liked you more than her husband)
As you learn your own habitual relational patterns, you can also learn how to shift into other more useful relational states and patterns with their own associated feelings, thoughts, habits, premises, and memories.
Discussing and coming to understand your relationship with your therapist can be a most important mode of learning. By tracking what is hurtful and what is helpful in your interactions with your therapist, you learn to understand your own set of unique relational needs.
Some of the common needs are:
To feel connected to another,
To feel as if you belong,
To feel special,
To be able to trust,
To feel loved and to experience yourself as lovable
To be able to explore with curiosity,
To be able to put forth your own thoughts and feelings without censorship or self restriction,
To be able to argue without feeling looked down upon,
To be able to be different from yet still cared about and respected,
To be able to express aversion by withdrawing or fighting,
To feel powerful - able to have an impact,
To be able to compete and to hold your own “territory.”
Armed with a deeper knowledge of your needs, you are better able to find, nourish, and even leave relationships based upon your knowledge of what will best support you.