When people come to therapy for the first time, it is natural for them to feel nervous and anxious. As I tell people, “coming to talk to a perfect stranger about very personal things, would NOT be on my top-ten-list of things to do either!” So it is only normal to feel a bit (or a lot!) apprehensive.
Talk therapy is only effective when people can begin to feel at ease with the therapist and be willing to be open and honest, not only with the therapist, but with themselves. For that reason, therapy should feel safe and secure. That is part of my job as a therapist is to help people feel comfortable in talking about themselves by developing a relationship with them that helps them do that.
The therapy process takes different amounts of time for different people. Each person and relationship is different. Therapy is really about having conversations with the therapist (and each other in couples therapy). The conversations are guided by the therapist so that a person can begin to gain insights into themselves and their relationships, then at the same time, challenge them to make the changes they need to make in order to be more successful in life.
Therapy is also being able to learn how to change behaviors and interaction patterns that are non-productive and lead to conflict in relationships. It is about over-coming fears and anxieties. It is about learning how to better regulate emotions and finding alternative ways to cope with life’s stressors.
Ultimately, therapy is about learning more about yourself and your relationships then making the changes you need to make to have healthier relationships and a better self-concept.
The first thing that I talk with people about when they come to therapy is “confidentiality”. Everything we talk about in the session stays in that room. The only time I would ever break confidentiality is if I thought someone was going to hurt themselves or someone else. As a licensed therapist I am bound by the State Laws of Tennessee for the practice of Marital and Family Therapist. I am also bound by the ethical codes of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist, of which I am a Clinical Fellow.
I am licensed as a Marital and Family Therapist by the state and a Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) with an Approved Supervisor designation. The requirements for licensure are that a person completes a Masters Degree and then at least a two-year internship under the supervision of another Licensed Marriage and Family who has been trained in licensure supervision. In addition, the person has to take and pass board exams in marital and family therapy.
I received my Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Mars Hill College and my Masters Degree from East Tennessee State University.