My counseling approach is educational and supportive. I aim to help young clients, children (ages 9-12) and adolescents (13-18) utilize their resources, their skills, and their passion. My goal in therapy is to educate clients on their treatment options, refer to appropriate sources, and help them know what to expect and deal with obstacles appropriately. The goal of each therapy session is to teach coping skills, build insight, motivate self-learning, and encourage independence. My ultimate goal is to empower clients through knowledge and help them make informed decisions and realistically approach treatment. I integrate cognitive behavior therapy (looking at dysfunctional ways of thinking and behaving), trauma informed care (if necessary), and existential principles (spiritual views) into this framework. When I work with kids or teens who have behavioral problems, I use some forms of Applied Behavior Analysis such as positive reinforcement using point systems and token economies.
While I subscribe to a Christian faith-based perspective in my personal life, in my professional work I subscribe to existential/philosophical/faith-based principles that motivate evaluation of common questions and issues of existence, death and dying, suicide, and meaning/purpose in life. I often challenge clients and their families to consider what defines real “success” and what should and should not consume most of our attention and lives.
It is my belief that humans strive to find the highest level of success, often in all the wrong places, which leads to a form of mental, emotional, and spiritual decline. Each moment of life is spent living up to others’ expectations which are unrealistic, imbalanced, or shallow. Even our own goals, which appear purposeful in the moment, often end up not meaning as much as perhaps we once thought.
Thankfully, there are “tools” available to help us redirect our attention, our passion, and our strength in appropriate ways. Often, these tools are right inside of us and beyond tangible existence. Sadly, we, as humans, either do not know how to tap into these tools or have lost the ability to access them because daily challenges thwart our perspective. But healing begins when we pursue what truly matters and begin the process of gaining further insight. By using the tools that do not come ready-made through counseling books, theories, or technique, we can take new steps toward a brighter future.