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Counseling is like Physical Therapy

Most people know how physical therapy works. You are in pain so you go to a doctor who diagnoses the problem, and then you work with a physical therapist who identifies which muscles need to be strengthened & which need improved flexibility. Then they offer exercises, stretching and massage to reduce your pain. For example, maybe you have back pain and it turns out it's caused by weak core muscles so you go through a series of strengthening & stretching exercises to support your back. The PT gives you exercises to do between sessions and little by little, over several weeks you notice more strength and less pain.

However, most people don't know how mental health counseling works. We just know what we've seen in the movies: You go and talk about your problems, your counselor says something very wise and insightful, and then you understand things differently and poof! You're cured! The reality is therapy is pretty pedestrian. My approach is just like PT. We assess your symptoms (depression, anxiety, anger, relationship problems, lack of positive feelings, habits & addictions) and pinpoint the negative thoughts and behaviors that are causing those symptoms. In opening up about your emotional pain you receive warmth and caring from someone who isn't going to judge you. Then, we explore all the good reasons you have to stay the same vs. change, and depending on what you decide, we can come up with a plan to change those negative thoughts and behaviors. Then one by one we practice exercises to rehab your thinking. Between sessions you do exercises to strengthen healthy thinking and relationships. It's that straightforward.

The Hollywood version makes for much better entertainment, but the real life version makes for a lot more happiness.

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