Why Psychotherapy

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a process that involves a trusting partnership that will enable you to feel comfortable sharing the most intimate details about your life. You need to feel safe enough to explore your feelings and attitudes without being judged or experiencing a sense of inferiority or helplessness. Most individuals have learned to manage the difficult aspects of their life through inefficient coping skills and by developing a set of armor that prevents them from experiencing the fulfillment that life can offer. My goal is to develop a rapport with my clients so that they can let down their guard at a pace that “feels right” and comfortable for them. By slowly chipping away at detrimental belief systems and dysfunctional behaviors, you will learn more effective ways of dealing with demands and experiences and develop a “toolbox” of strategies to use when you need them most.

My approach to psychotherapy and working with your challenges will be uniquely tailored to your personal needs, values, and desires. Although I will challenge you to go deeper and think more intensely about your problems, I will not coerce you or make you feel that you are not capable of progress. In fact, we will continuously push your limits and take time to notice and applaud your successes. The idea is to not strip you of your armor without replacing it with more protective gear. Think of your current coping skills as a shield and your defense mechanisms as a bow and arrow. Although they are effective in offering some protection, you are still exposed to tremendous risk. Whereas, if you had a suit of Kevlar armor and advanced lasers, then you will be more prepared for battle and more secure in accepting devastating blows without fear of being injured so deeply.

How Psychotherapy will translate to meaningful help for you

As an example – you may have an anger management problem that interferes with your social or family relationships, or that is detrimental to your working life. You must first be comfortable in accepting and admitting that you have a problem in this area. In our psychotherapy sessions, we will first identify current coping skills that you are using that are helpful in these situations and also explore those that negatively impact your life. Together, we will process your anger in more manageable ways, identify and understand your triggers, and explore the consequences of your actions. We will identify several strategies that work for you, and I will teach you how to develop better strategies in order to get what you want out of life, without hurting yourself or others. We will build up your armor with exercises and control strategies so that you feel confident that you can protect yourself, even in the face of vulnerability.

Once you have achieved this level of comfort and proficiency, you can now go deeper into your past and analyze the reasons for the emergence of the maladaptive behaviors that you have learned over time. You can question them critically, without judging yourself and being fearful that you are exposing yourself to risk. You can then learn the patterns you have developed over time and make conscious efforts to break the cycles and exert control over your emotions and ultimately your life.

This approach to psychotherapy is similar for almost all difficulties and conditions. First accept, then develop skills, then challenge beliefs and behaviors, then go deeper to explore the roots and patterns, and then plan for change.

People often ask me how many sessions? or how long will it take? The answer is as much in your hands as it is in mine. Those who take therapy seriously and put their full effort into the process will likely achieve desired outcomes more quickly than others. Even with tremendous effort and conscientiousness, unique challenges may prolong the process. However, growth and personal achievements along the way make the experience exhilarating.

I enjoy my work in Psychotherapy immensely. Each day, I learn about myself and life by working with you. I will do my very best to create an atmosphere for healing and growth, and look forward to talking with you in the future.

A Note of Caution

Therapy is often very challenging and uncomfortable due to the process of self-reflection, awareness, and insight. Some patients find it difficult to face these obstacles and resist the therapeutic process. As with most life challenges, “the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.” It is important to engage in the process and share these concerns with Dr. Hartman when necessary.