My approach to counseling flows directly from my perspective on what it means to be a human being in all its complexity over the lifespan. I believe that ALL human beings have inherent dignity and worth – simply because they are alive. As such, I treat each and every client with the utmost dignity, respect, and genuine compassion. I have stated my core belief about people and life so frequently over the years that I jokingly call it my “mantra”: “We’re all in this together. We’ve got to help each other!” I do not view clients as being the problem or having inherent problems, but rather, being challenged by problems in living.
My core belief is that: “We are all doing the best we can to make it through life with the personalities, characteristics and histories we are born with. Stated another way; with the influence (affirming or critical/abusive) of the families into which we are born, and the life experiences that have shaped us each successive year of our lives – whatever our current age.” Life is often quite challenging and sometimes our difficult circumstances temporarily exceed our normal coping abilities. At these times it can be very beneficial to begin working together with a professional counselor.
My counseling approach is firmly grounded in what is called Client-Centered Therapy and Existential therapy. What this simply means is that I never consider myself as the “expert” and that you are my “patient.” Just the opposite! I perceive YOU as the expert on your own life and I am privileged to partner with you in a collaborative relationship as equals as I walk alongside you on your journey. I believe that individuals have inherent inner wisdom, strengths, abilities, creativity, and potential that just needs to be identified, accessed, and lovingly nurtured so that the person can face and overcome his/her current life challenges and confidently face the future and grow into all they are capable of becoming. My job is to facilitate the process in counseling that allows my clients to process, learn and discover what they need to about themselves and their relationships.
Existential Therapy simply focuses on all that it means to be a human being doing her/his best to understand and cope with all of the ever-changing realities of existence in this world, every step of the way as we continue to grow throughout our lifespans. It focuses on each person’s need to find unique Meaning and Purpose in life and to accept that they are responsible for making choices along the way to move toward achieving this unique Meaning and Purpose. I continue to find with clients that the specific, often situational challenges and issues for which my clients seek out counseling, are almost always embedded in their larger “existential” task of finding their own unique Meaning and (life’s) Purpose in life.
Actually, I believe just the opposite! Only the clients I have served can answer this but I do not believe it is a hindrance at all. I believe that a unique strength I have, and thus can utilize in working with clients, is the diversity of life experiences I have had and the understanding of human beings from all walks of life, and all socio-economic brackets; this provides me with much wisdom that can’t be gained any other way, than simply living for many decades. I have worked just in the past few months with children as young as seven, currently with two boys 14 and 16, and with individual adults and couples from their twenties up through their eighties. I treasure each and every one of them! These clients state that our age difference does not matter at all to them. I’ve found that my growing life experience serves to complement my clinical experience. I encourage you to consider finding out for yourself! 😊
I joyously welcome this resource to be included in our counseling work together – but only if you, the client, desires it. While I can’t impose my beliefs on clients – spiritual or otherwise, I respect that it can be a powerful resource for many of those I work with. I come from a Christian background myself and find this to be a core part of who I am and how I view others and the larger society and world we all share. But I also continuously study with great interest many non-Christian spiritual beliefs and practices and find powerful wisdom in them all (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Native American “Earth” Spirituality, and others.) I counsel from a holistic perspective and believe humans are not just our physical bodies, of course; we are Mind, Body and Spirit and all are interrelated and interact with each other. I have effectively counseled Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and those who find solace and comfort in the so-called “New Age” practices. Incorporating a person’s spiritual beliefs into therapy is always quite beneficial.
From my earliest memories I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderfully loving, supportive, and delightful human beings, many of them quite colorful characters! I have had an insatiable fascination with people my entire life. I’ve also had a special softness in my heart for the elderly. This, and my Christian upbringing, have played a huge part in my desire to pursue professional counseling. I continue to be profoundly affected by individuals, couples, and families who are suffering, and my life’s “Calling” has been to minister to these hurting souls directly. THIS is what has always given my life Meaning and Purpose.
I have counseled individuals, couples, and families in the capacity of a Hospice Bereavement Coordinator/Grief Counselor; as a Hospital ER and Oncology (cancer) unit chaplain; serving as a Cancer counselor for a not-for-profit organization and leading many cancer support groups and a Spirituality Discussion Group. Most recently, as a Hospice Chaplain serving dying individuals, their families, and the marvelous individuals who work in Assisted Living Communities, Skilled Nursing facilities, and in Dementia Care facilities. Serving as a Professional Counselor is what gives my life profound Meaning and Purpose like nothing else I’ve ever done in my life. I am truly grateful.
Thank you, perhaps I’ll have the privilege of working with you one day!