Many people that go into counseling are trying to get something that they need, and the problem is that they have a dysfunctional way of going about it. Regularly, people try to meet their needs by fulfilling wants instead, for example, desiring a sense of inner peace and supplementing by buying things on Amazon, using drugs or alcohol, or overusing video games or the phone. These examples merely satisfy a want. Without fulfilling the need, which is typically finding a sense of purpose, they will continue to practice possibly harmful behaviors.
During individual counseling, we focus on addressing needs to help improve consequential symptoms.
Issues that many of my clients deal with:
- Personality disorders
- Behavioral issues, such as explosiveness or poor interpersonal skills
Sometimes people resist going into individual therapy when they could benefit substantially from it. They might think that it is going to take a long time, or they may have negative, preconceived ideas of what therapy looks like, such as a touchy-feely, emotional exploration that does not have direction or results. In my opinion, individual therapy should be targeted and effective. The process starts with defined goals, and we work on those goals until resolution.
Examples of how individual therapy helps with goal-oriented problems:
1) People who feel overwhelmed around others often struggle to maintain a comfortable amount of space for themselves. For instance, they get anxious at parties, and they become explosive and yell at people to preserve their personal bubble. Of course, this does not mean that they do not want to have relationships with people; in fact, it is often quite the opposite. In therapy, we figure out how to manage anxiety while still being able to socialize with other people.
2) Sometimes people use addictions primarily to try and numb emotions. With counseling, the goal is to help them experience emotions, but manage them in a more productive way that allows them to achieve their needs.
3) When people are depressed or anxious, they feel as if they are not in control of their lives. This perspective leads them to indulge in behavior that puts things even further out of their control. During individual counseling, we break away from that line of thinking and focus on clarifying your goals and figuring out different, effective ways of operating and achieving them. Typically, I see people for a maximum of around six months, meeting with them in their homes or places other than an office.