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Archive for March, 2011

Last week, a potential client called and asked me how I work. He said he Googled the search term “Counseling San Diego” and found my website. I told him that I worked from a¬†Bowen Family Systems perspective and that I also thought about¬†relationships from an existential, strength-based perspective. He asked me what that meant. I informed him of my basic views on multigenerational¬†couples therapy and individual therapy. I also explained that I believed that it is in our most painful experiences that the deepest life lessons may be learned. Thus, one can become stronger as an individual or as a partner in a relationship not merely in spite of problems, but BECAUSE of them! I also told the caller about my basic views on collaboration and mutuality in the therapy relationship. Finally, I explained that my level of activity in any given session is not predetermined but rather is responsive to the context of the client and the particular session. In one session, I may mostly listen. In another session, I may ask good questions that open up the client to ask himself more questions. In still another session, I may offer my best thinking from a Bowen theoretical perspective or an existential, strength-based perspective. I try to ask clients how they THINK about an issue that they are grappling with rather than how they are FEELING about the issue. Feelings are automatic. THe effort to become more thoughtful in the midst of intense feelings is the stuff of good therapy, from my perspective. I try not to get in the way as my clients struggle and persevere in their efforts at personal growth as they work though their unique challenges. The therapy room may at times fill with laughter and at other times with tears. It is important to me to encourage clients to be able to step outside enough to allow humor to lighten their load. Occasionally, clients may be gently confronted about letting go of old defenses–defenses that once were useful coping mechanisms in another context and time in their lives, but that get in the way of effective living today. In my work, I try to be both creative and flexible. In my opinion, the art of good therapy, as in the art of good living, lies in the capacity to become increasingly adaptive to the changes and challenges that we all face as human beings. To learn more about my model of practice, visit my website at http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com

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