Why do people seek out counseling or wellness coaching services?

People pursue counseling or wellness coaching for a multitude of reasons. Individuals, couples, and families frequently seek out therapy when they are facing significant life transitions or difficulties, and their attempts at resolving concerns have proven unsuccessful.  This may include battling long-term struggles with mental health, addiction, interpersonal conflict, and/or debilitating distress in one or more areas of life.  When first starting counseling, some people may believe they are at a point of crisis, may express feelings of being overwhelmed, and their identified concerns prove to be barriers to their desired growth and happiness.

Wellness Coaching is a more individualized service:  It focuses on one person and his/her stated goals.  People pursuing  wellness coaching services frequently report less distress than those seeking therapy and are not striving to overcome past trauma.  Rather, they are in search of personal, professional, or spiritual fulfillment.  Thus, the focus of wellness coaching is less on mental health and more on actively engaging intrinsic strengths and developing a specified life plan or direction.

Who do you work with?

In addition to Wellness Coaching, I provide individual, couple, and family counseling services. Even when an individual presents for therapy, our work often addresses family of origin topics, learned patterns of relating, and the impact of that person’s most significant interpersonal relationships on his/her well being.  Therapeutic goals are developed based upon the preferences and desired changes of a single person.

When working with couples, our work first discerns the status and direction of the relationship (eg. reconcilation, separation/divorce). We then address the goals and skills needed to help navigate the relationship towards the partner chosen direction.  This could include a focus on strengthening communication and emotional rapport, addressing past hurts and violations of trust, as well as learn and practice strategies to manage stressors on the relationship. The focus could include aiding the couple in uncoupling from their relationship in a manner that preserves their co-parenting relatinoship and mutual positive regard. Couples counseling most commonly involves a joint effort in which both partners typically attend the session together; however, there are occassions in which only one partner is agreeable to attend therapy.  The process of change within a relationship can start with a single person though the most effective strategy is for both partners to commit to the process.

In the context of family therapy, the presenting concerns are seen as a function of the system—meaning, there is no single person identified as 'causing' the perceived problem. Rather, presented issues are seen as resulting from the collective behaviors and interactions of all involved family members.  For growth to occur, the counselor works with the family and engages members in a collaborative process of accommodation and adjustment. Thus, family therapy views the entire family unit as the client, taking into account every member's personal view, hopes, fears, and stated needs.

Are counseling and wellness coaching confidential?

Confidentiality in counseling is protected and regulated by both professional ethics and state law. Though confidentiality in wellness coaching is not specifically protected by law, I treat confidentiality for both services the same and follow the AAMFT code of ethics.

In general, all communications between you and me are confidential.  Information is not disclosed unless requested by you and only with your written permission. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, when working with couples, I maintain a policy of "no secrets" between partners, unless safety needs require it.  Additional exceptions, especially those pertaining to release of information to outside parties, will be outlined during our initial meeting and are provided in written form for you to review. I am willing to discuss and review possible limits of confidentiality on an on-going basis during the course of our relationship.

What does 'holistic' mean? 

I pride myself in offering services that are client centered and directed.  People consist of many 'selves' (e.g. parent, sibling, spouse, etc) and their unique differences are celebrated. I endorse freedom of choice and encourage you, the client, to engage in goal directed behavior.  You define your life plans and prioritize objectives based on your individual needs and preferences. There is no 'one size fits all' approach. I also recognize the benefit of both mainstream and homeopathic modalities that promote health, but provide recommendations based upon your personal preferences. Lastly, I view you as an integrated whole and thus, we examine the importance and level of satisfaction in all areas of your life.