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 Counseling Services

 
    While most health care services grouped under a specialty are usually similar (for example, one eye doctor is much like any other eye doctor) the same is not true for mental health specialists. There are significant differences in academic education, expertise in assessment, licensure requirements, and continuing education. In the state of Texas a Licensed Psychologist will have a doctorate degree (Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D.), graduation from an accredited program from a approved university, and successfully complete both a written and oral examination.

     Along with the extensive educational and practicum experience each therapist will tend to use a particular form of psychotherapy or counseling that fits their way of approaching the process. With over 400 types of psychotherapy there can be a wide range of possibilities as to what perspective the therapist works from.

     I tend toward a model of counseling that combines cognitive and behavioral approaches to help my clients achieve their goals. Cognitive therapy is formed around the idea that how we think influences and directs our actions. As we walk through our daily lives we engage in an internal thought process that establishes our judgments about situation and what actions we should take based on the rules that we operate from. These rules were established when we were growing up and sometimes do not fit our current situation. Learning to capture these "rules" and cognitively challenge them with more refined beliefs is the essence of this approach.

     Behavioral approaches emphasize the importance of gathering the "evidence" for a particular thought or action. A common issue in counseling involves negative self-image such as a sense that one is stupid or unable to sustain relationships. This "prediction" is challenged and a measurable plan of action is set up that will either confirm or deny the assumption.

     I view counseling as tending toward short-term length of therapy with the client involved in completing homework assignments between sessions. Written materials are provided to help this "real-time" practice so that central points can be reinforced.

     Individuals are typically seen for 45-50 minutes once a week. I encourage communication between sessions via the telephone or by email. More frequent sessions may be used in times of new stressors. Contact with others involved with the person in individual counseling may be included.

     Couples are seen when the issue surrounds the dynamics of this relationship. I will use active homework as well as digital video recording and playback in the office to facilitate the development of new skills in communication and conflict resolution training.

     I offer group counseling from time to time as sufficient numbers of interested individuals are found. Groups that I have offered in the past include: Coping with Physical Health Problems; Grief and Loss; Parenting; Finding Intimacy; and Effective Leadership.



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