IS THERAPY RIGHT FOR YOU?
A wise quotation from Goethe reads: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred…Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Questions you may be asking yourself:
Are you in a rut? Are you unhappy in a relationship or at work, or haven’t been able to accomplish a goal? Perhaps you’ve been thinking about a problem for a while and haven’t been able to resolve it on your own. If you’ve never had therapy, you may be wondering:
1. How can someone I don’t know help me?
Talking to a trained Marriage and Family Therapist, who won’t take sides or judge you, is a key benefit that friends and family can’t provide. Many people feel shame about seeking help or disclosing problems, but actually, it take courage to ask for help, and those self-judgments may be part of the problem.
2. How can therapy help?
Psychotherapy can help you sort out the causes and find solutions. It expands your awareness, self-esteem, and options. You will gain new skills and are better able to take risks you previously avoided, change your behavior patterns, and heal from past wounds and limiting beliefs. With situations you cannot change, you develop the ability to change what you can.
3. How do I know which therapist is right for me?
Therapy is a collaborative process, and the therapy relationship is an important part of healing. So it’s important to choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable, heard, and not judged.
In individual therapy, we explore your thoughts and feelings and behavior. Your sense of trust and safety is my highest priority. I strive to understand you and help you to understand yourself, your life experience, and your relationships. Your thoughts and feelings can change, as well as your reactions and behavior. You’ll gain greater spontaneity, confidence, and self-expression, and will experience more enjoyment in living, relationships, and work. I interact with feedback to help you accomplish your goals and gain congruence between your thoughts and feelings and your words and actions. I have worked with all ethnicities and gay and lesbian clients.
Sessions are generally in person or may be by telephone, and are usually weekly. Clients with addiction or major depression generally benefit from more frequent meetings. If you’re in California but live outside Los Angeles County, you may be able to combine in-person and phone therapy.
Coaching is offered for people outside the greater Los Angeles-Orange County area. Coaching sessions are by phone for 45 minutes. Single sessions are $165. For a discount, you may buy a package of 4 consecutive sessions. You may also schedule a single session, and if you find it helpful, apply the cost of it toward the balance of the package fee. Alternatively, you can purchase a package of 1/2 hour sessions at a prorated amount. Payment is made via Paypal or at www.Paypal.me/DarleneLancer. Contact me for package pricing.
Non-U.S. Residents: If you’re outside the U.S., the charge is $165 for 45 min. and $120 per 1/2 hour. (This includes Paypal merchant fess.) Packages are available for booking 4 consecutive appointments. International clients may call me via Skype. Email me for more information to set an appointment.
COUPLES and MARRIAGE COUNSELING:
Whether you’re dating, married, or in a committed relationship, couples counseling significantly helps resolve conflict, improve communication, and enhance intimacy. You uncover, decipher, and heal distressing, repetitive interactive cycles that lead to unhappiness and negative feelings. This creates greater mutual understanding, trust, and closeness, and allows for forgiveness.
Your marriage or primary intimate relationship should be a special, sacred place where you feel nurtured and free to let go and be yourself. It should support you to enjoy your life and pursue your career and passions. It shouldn’t preoccupy your thoughts the way codependent relationships do. What makes marriage work depends largely upon how you treat each other, communicate, and make decisions together. It’s the process of relating that counts, which is different than the feeling of love. Confusing the two creates problems. Predictors of long-term relationships are:
Acceptance of each others’ differences
Collaborative decision-making and problem-solving
Quality time together and apart
A desire to give and cooperate
Compatible needs and values
A common vision
Having individual friends
Healthy self-esteem and self-acceptance are key. They help you maintain your individuality and take responsibility for yourself. You feel more generous and cooperative and able to clearly communicate your feelings and needs. You also can listen without reacting. When self-esteem is low and boundaries are too rigid or too fuzzy, there’s more conflict and reactivity in the relationship. It’s a sign that codependency may be present.
In relationships, there are neither villains nor victims, only colluders and collaborators. Even if you’re being abused, your self-esteem or past may be preventing you from setting boundaries. You may not recognize or may minimize the problem. Some spouses withdraw sexually or emotionally. Couples counseling can help restore boundaries and the balance of power in the relationship.
Frequently, the symptom is not the problem and issues that you’re unaware of need to be addressed. In intimate relationships, there are at least six people involved – the couple and two sets of parents, or perhaps step-parents, too. From your parents, you learn lessons about intimate relationships that often influence your reactions to your partner.
Everyone projects the past onto present situations when they’re emotionally triggered. Counseling can help you distinguish feelings from the past that are affecting your present relationship. It can also help you separate your thoughts and feelings from those of your partner so that you don’t feel guilty and defensive in your communication. Seeing each other’s vulnerability makes possible the realization that your partner isn’t against you, lessening defensiveness. Couples counseling builds bridges of mutual understanding and empathy, which permit love and good will to return.
Many couples expect that they shouldn’t have conflict. This is unrealistic. Counseling can lessen conflict and anger, and help you learn to communicate in less hurtful ways that lead to resolution and actually bring you closer, rather than destroy good will. It’s important to seek therapy early. The longer wounds fester, the longer trust erodes and resentment builds. For more to help you decide if you can benefit from couples’ counseling, see my blogs “24 Tips for Positive Conflict Resolution,” “Do We Need Couples’ Counseling?” and “Signs of Relationship Problems.”
If separation or divorce is desirable, counseling will enable you to manage it with greater dignity and ease. Therapy is ideal if you’re experiencing difficulties parenting – sometimes, the entire family is affected by a problem between spouses. It is an alternative option if you’re having problems with a business partner or sibling.
Dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” said Freud. What you don’t know controls you. Your unconscious fears, beliefs, motives, and desires can thwart your goals and bring about ill health and unhappiness. By understanding and learning to trust the messages in your dreams, you are learning to communicate with your true self, your soul, and God. Carl Jung wrote, “He who looks inside awakens . . . The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and secret recesses of the soul.” Deciphering your dreams’ symbols, messages, and guidance unlocks that doorway.
Dreams are far more than fantasies and wishes. They reveal inner truths, are forward looking, and always transforming you to wholeness and greater satisfaction in living. They expose incorrect conscious attitudes and resolve conflicts, providing a healing and self-regulating function. Dreams can be of enormous help. They can predict a doomed romance, show you when you’re off-track or have misguided judgments, plans, or business dealings. Occasionally, dreams may be telepathic, clairvoyant, precognitive, or reminisces of past lives. Get a dream analysis by phone, etherapy, or personal consultation.