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The short answer, I use a lot of different therapeutic tools.  Why?  Because I've yet to meet two people who are the same.  That doesn't mean that I use a different type of therapy for each client.  It means that, like a carpenter (an occasional hobby of mine), I have a lot of tools in my bag, because I never know what I might need.  Also, like a carpenter, there are certain tools that I'm very familiar with and find that I use quite often no matter what I'm working on.  Unlike a carpenter, however, I will not be making you into something that I want you to be.  My job is to help you work on you.

No doubt you've heard of many types of therapy.  And, most therapists list as many

as a dozen types of therapy that they use.  I'm sure I could do the same.  However,

instead of listing all the different types of therapy that I'm familiar with (and I do use

certain tools from many), I would rather tell you what it is that I do.  

My therapeutic approach is Client-Centered, which means it's all about you.  My personal theoretical orientation is based on Existential Therapy, which focuses on universal concepts of human existence including death, freedom, responsibility, and the meaning of life and involves a philosophical exploration of an individual's experiences to facilitate a higher degree of meaning and well-being in the client’s life.  I utilize Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, which is based on Wittgenstenian philosophy, in a goal-directed, collaborative manner to establish what clients hope to achieve, efforts they have made, what has worked or not worked for them, and to develop a therapeutic plan.

In addition to this I also utilize Reality Therapy, which is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness, and Therapeutic Writing.  These and many other techniques, tests, and tools are used as needed to help unique clients work towards being their best unique selves.

The text that follows comes from Psychology Today, my own interpretations, and other sources.

Calm Sea


Existential therapy focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning and emphasizes your capacity to make rational choices and to develop to your maximum potential.

The existential approach stresses that:

  1. All people are capable of self-awareness.

  2. Each person has a unique identity that is known only through relationships with others.

  3. People continually re-create themselves because life’s meaning constantly changes.

  4. Anxiety is part of the human condition.

Psychological problems—like substance abuse—result from an inhibited ability to make authentic, meaningful, and self-directed choices about how to live, according to the existential approach. Interventions often aim to increase self-awareness and self-understanding.

Existential psychotherapists try to comprehend and alleviate a variety of symptoms, including excessive anxiety, apathy, alienation, nihilism, avoidance, shame, addiction, despair, depression, guilt, anger, rage, resentment, embitterment, purposelessness, psychosis, and violence. They also focus on life-enhancing experiences like relationships, love, caring, commitment, courage, creativity, power, will, presence, spirituality, individuation, self-actualization, authenticity, acceptance, transcendence, and awe.

Existential psychotherapies help you find meaning in the face of anxiety by choosing to think and act responsibly and by confronting negative internal thoughts rather than external forces like societal pressures or luck. Encouraging creativity, love, authenticity, and free will are common avenues that help move you toward transformation. Similarly, when treating addiction disorders, the existential therapist coaches you to face the anxiety that tempts you to abuse substances and guides you to take responsibility.

THE GOAL: You learn to make more willful decisions about how to live, drawing on creativity and love, instead of letting outside events determine your behavior.

Existential Therapy is focused on existence and purpose.  According to existential psychotherapist, Dr. Irvin Yalom, life’s universal concerns are death, isolation, freedom, and emptiness. Existential therapy focuses on the anxiety that occurs when you confront these inherent conflicts, and the therapist’s role is to foster personal responsibility for making decisions.

What to Look for in an Existential Therapist

In addition to their mental health training, existential therapists often have a background in Philosophy.

Dandelion Parachute Seed


Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) concentrates on finding solutions in the present and exploring hope for the future to find resolution of one’s problems. This method takes the approach that you know what you need to do to improve your own life and, with the appropriate coaching and questioning, you are capable of finding the best solutions.  SFBT is used to treat people of all ages and a variety of issues, including child behavioral problems, family dysfunction, domestic or child abuse, addiction, and relationship problems.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy accepts that the basic Nature of Human Beings is:

  • All people are free to make choices.

  • Clients feel empowered as they describe what they want to happen in their lives.

  • Clients have the personal resources to solve their problems.

  • Clients are encouraged to increase the frequency of current useful behaviors.

GOAL-SETTING:  One of the first steps is to identify and clarify your goals. The therapist will question what you hope to get out of working with them, and question specifically how your life would change when steps are taken to resolve problems. By answering these types of questions, you can begin to identify solutions and come up with a plan for change.  One of the key questions the therapist asks is called The Miracle Question:

    “If a miracle occurred while you were asleep tonight, what changes would you notice in your life tomorrow?”

This opens up your mind to creative thinking and, again, to setting goals and developing a clear plan that will lead to life-changing solutions.

SFBT was developed out of an interest in paying more attention to what people want and what works best for the individual. One of the original beliefs of SFBT therapists was that the solution to a problem is found in those times when one is free of the problem or taking steps to manage the problem.

I like to think of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy as a four step process.

  1. What’s the problem?

  2. What have you done to solve it?

  3. How has it worked out for you?

  4. Building on your successes and accounting for setbacks, Make a plan for moving forward.

Through specific questioning techniques, 0-10 scales, empathy and compliments the therapist helps clients to recognize their own virtues, like courage and strength that have worked in the past and are likely to work well in the future. Individuals learn to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t, which allows them to find solutions and make positive changes more quickly

What to Look for in a Solution-Focused Brief Therapist

SFBT techniques can be incorporated into other forms of counseling and therapy. Look for a licensed, experienced counselor, psychotherapist or other mental health professional with training in SFBT and with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal issues.

Two Dried Leaves


Reality therapy is a client-centered form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy that focuses on improving present relationships and circumstances, while avoiding discussion of past events. Reality therapy teaches that while we cannot control how we feel, we can control how we think and behave. The goal is to help clients people take control of improving their own lives by learning to make better choices.

Studies have proven the effectiveness of reality therapy in treating addiction and other behavioral problems, and the principles can be applied to individual, parent-child, and family counseling. It also works with people in leadership positions in education, coaching, administration, and management, where problem solving, instilling motivation, and a focus on achievement play essential roles in their connection to others.

Reality therapy focuses on present issues and current behavior as they affect you now and in the future. Since reality therapy is solution-oriented, you will examine how your behavior is interfering with forming stronger relationships and figure out what changes you can make to get what you want out of life. You can learn how to reconnect with people and how to make new connections.  The therapist will show you how making excuses and blaming results in behavior that prevents you from improving relationships and reaching your goals. You can learn and practice new behavior and techniques in the privacy of the therapist’s office before trying them in your life.

Reality therapy is founded on the idea that everyone is trying to fulfill five basic needs:

  1. Power, or a sense of self-worth and achievement

  2. Love and belonging

  3. Freedom, or independence

  4. Fun, which includes a sense of satisfaction or pleasure

  5. Survival, or the comfort of knowing that one’s basic needs—food, shelter, and sex—are met.

Reality therapy is also based on choice theory, the principle that humans choose to behave in certain ways and that these choices can help or hamper your ability to satisfy needs and reach goals. You cannot change or control others, so the only sensible approach to solving problems is to control yourself and your own behavior by making choices that help you achieve your life goals.

What to Look for in a Reality Therapist

Look for a licensed mental health professional, a cognitive behavioral therapist, or a counselor with training and experience in reality therapy with whom you feel comfortable working.



Narrative therapy is a form of counseling that views people as separate from their problems. This perspective allows individuals to feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behavior and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.

Those who define themselves by their problems, whose lives are dominated by such feelings as “I am a depressed person” or “I am an anxious person” can learn to see their problem as something they have but not something that identifies who they are.

THE GOAL: Is for you to see how there are positive and productive ways to approach your life and your future when you stop identifying yourself by your problems.

The events that occur over time in a person’s life are stories, some of which stand out more than others. These significant stories, usually stemming from negative events, can shape one’s identity.  The therapist helps clients see that they (the clients) are the experts regarding their own life and, as such, can uncover the dreams, values, goals, and skills that define who they really are, separate from their problems. From there, stories can be rewritten and woven into the ongoing and future story of their lives.

What to Look for in a Narrative Therapist

A licensed mental health professional who has additional training in narrative therapy and someone you feel safe and comfortable working with.

Types of Therapy: Resources
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