Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
I can’t tell you how many times (because it’s a very large number!) my clients lamented that their past therapies felt disappointing to them, for many reasons, but mostly because they had never been taught what to do when they are feeling badly.
I will teach you how to fish!
I absolutely get this! When I was a new therapist, I provided solely psychodynamic therapy. This type of therapy helps the client identify past experiences and how they affect the client’s present-day behaviors and relationships.
During my early years as a therapist, this was the type of therapy taught in social work schools and usually the only kind practiced in therapy clinics.
At the beginning of my career, I was also in my own therapy, and my therapist provided the same thing to me. (“I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client!”)
During those early years, I was frustrated with the slow process of providing psychodynamic therapy because clients often remained in treatment for a long time with very little change.
Sometimes my clients echoed to me words that I was saying to my own therapist: “I know why I feel the way I do. But what do I do about it?”
I didn’t have an answer for them. Just like my therapist didn’t have an answer for me.
Remember the horror movie script on the ABOUT page of my website? When the therapist ended the session with the client sobbing, hyperventilating?
The client asked what to do to feel better.
Right now. At that moment.
The client stated that walking out into the cold world feeling like an open wound was not a good thought. The therapist replied somewhat callously, “Think about it over the week, and we’ll pick it up next session.”
TRUE STORY. This part of the script actually happened to me!
I was the client. I found the response shocking. Unforgettable. Unforgivable.
But this difficult experience has made me a much more effective therapist. It spurred me on to find useful ways to actually help my clients.
Even though I did not know, at the time, how to teach my clients what to do about it, I always expressed empathy and was honest in my answers to them. “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together. Are you okay to leave right now? What is your plan for feeling better? What is your plan for after you leave this session?”
Having a plan always felt like a good idea to me.
In 2001 I was fortunate to attend a training in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy at the prestigious Albert Ellis Institute and to interact with the sage himself! Thus, began my love affair with and years of training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
“Now this is the real deal,” I thought.
“I can finally help my clients make practical and long-lasting, positive change in their lives!”
CBT is therapy with a plan!
Not only does CBT help you identify your unconscious thoughts, but it also helps you discover and practice how to change unwanted or unhelpful thoughts, thereby creating better moods and alleviating troubling symptoms.
For this reason, I provide a combination of psychodynamic therapy (it helps for clients to understand where their thoughts came from) and CBT, depending on your specific needs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the “current gold standard of psychotherapy.”
As cited in 2018 on one government website (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797481/), research and evidence point to CBT as the therapy with the best outcome results… and by a landslide. Simply put, it can give you a much better chance of feeling better!
With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you can expect to acquire skills that will stick and last a lifetime.
Put on your galoshes and come fishing with me.
Call me at (914) 400-3617.