I have some important news for you: Your life will never change just because you want it to. There’s only so far you can go before hitting up against the walls of fear, anger and shame. These are the negative parts of ourselves that can keep us stuck.
The most valuable strength that you have to avoid this trap is hope. It’s not your history, the circumstances of your life or how good or bad the people around you are. It’s the attitude and energy you bring to the table by taking charge of your life and navigating the ups and downs that follow.
But if you need help to get there, you don’t want a therapist who simply just sits there, nodding, and politely asking, “And how does that make you feel?” You want someone who actually supports AND challenges you. To be better. To think of different ways of saddling up to the side of your problems, rather than facing it head on. To call you on your B.S. when what’s keeping you stuck is you. To offer guidance and direction and help you truly become the best version of yourself. Otherwise, you could waste years in therapy without actually changing a darned thing. And trust me, that sucks.
Why Change is Elusive
One of the most important secrets I want you to know about is in how you think about yourself, your life, and those around you. How you view things matters significantly. I’m not talking about lying to yourself about your issues or your circumstances. Instead, I’m wanting you to simply be more realistic in your thinking.
Having an optimistic, positive and responsible attitude towards your life will open up more opportunities than you could ever possibly imagine. Not just when things are good, but also when you find yourself stuck or struggling to cope. If you approach life with an attitude that you can handle whatever is thrown at you, you’re much more likely to survive in the end and come out far ahead than those that don’t. And isn’t that the real goal? Being able to face our fears without letting them choose for us. Being able to turn our dreams into reality. And that is what makes personal growth so profound.
But sadly, that’s not what many people end up with. Sometimes it’s as simple as thinking that we’d be lying to ourselves about how bad our situation really is. It can be a fear of what might happen when the other shoe drops. Or believing ourselves to be unloveable. Whether this is a result of our past, depression/anxiety or simply the the ups and downs that are inherent in life doesn’t really matter. In an effort to be “realistic” and “honest”, we shoot ourselves in the foot. This sort of negative thinking ends up being the very thing that keeps us stuck forever.
“Before I felt like I had hit the end of my rope, everything felt like a complete spiral with no idea where to begin to climb out. Now I am trying to become aware of what’s happening and why and then what to do next.”
Becky C.After working with Dave on issues concerning relationships, anxiety and work-stress
What I’ve Noticed
I’ve worked with many clients throughout my career. And I’ve noticed that those that tend to narrate their life in terms of the negative often struggle significantly more than those that don’t. You might struggle with fears about “what might happen”. Thoughts of personal failure or blame. Being so angry, frustrated or embarrassed that nothing in your life has changed. Fear that taking care of yourself would be selfish. That you don’t deserve love. Or you’re worried that nothing will ever change for you.
Please listen closely: Stop focusing on what you fear, or the path you’ve chosen or what you should have done instead. Stop beating yourself up about how you’re “not good enough”, undeserving of love, or about how you’re stuck. The secret to genuine change requires that we start with one key ingredient: To stop being paralyzed by the negative energy of fear, guilt and shame.
I genuinely believe that what we avoid facing has the power to imprison us forever. Fear, anger, and shame are often the main obstacles to true happiness. They trap us into doing the wrong things (or not making any change at all) and cause us to miss out on the smart choices that can actually propel us forward in life.
I am asking you to face life with a different point of view. To let go of any fear, shame or anger that lurks in the corners of your mind.
“Before, it felt like torture to be in my own skin. I beat myself up for everything and guilt ruled my whole life. When I started, I couldn’t cope with life at all. Now, I’m not beating myself up compulsively and I feel hopeful about the future for the first time in a long time.”
Sarah S.After working with Dave on issues concerning stress, anxiety and self-esteem
You can’t rewrite history, undo your choices or guarantee certainty of a particular future. But in terms of your mental health, you do have significant control over how you will live right here, right now. There is so much you can (and must) do before you can actually unlock your full potential. For those already on this path, being able to reflect and re-evaluate your approach can make the journey ahead even more rich and rewarding.
I come from a multi-generational family of therapists and psychologists, I have grown up in this environment all my life and “breathed the air” of psychology, so to speak. I designed Directed Therapy and Supportive Counseling with you in mind: Those that are struggling with their purpose, those that feel stuck and those lacking a path forward. Those that are worried, fearful or anxious. I know you need help navigating the path ahead. I’ve guided people toward happy and secure relationships with themselves and others, and now it’s your turn. To learn concrete strategies. What to do and what not to do to actually change. To be genuinely challenged to your full potential. But honestly, none of that really matters if you can’t master this one essential concept:
The only way to move forward is through action.
Your optimism and determination will be what transforms your dreams into action. It will propel you and those that you love forward towards a better life. That means no longer focusing on the past as you move forward. Grab onto what you you have today and what you can do to create a new beginning for tomorrow.
It’s true that therapy can’t solve all of life’s problem. It won’t stop the bad behavior of another person, it can’t make you stop excessively drinking and it will not overhaul a serious lack of empathy or compassion. Some situations, like responding to domestic abuse, are not issues to simply discuss but rather actions that need to be drastically undertaken. Some behaviors have long, drawn out family history patterns that may be difficult or impossible to change by simply improving your communication skills or self-esteem. In the end, not all problems are worth the time it takes to make a dent in the situation through therapy.
But for many people, therapy can be a lifesaver. It can guide and propel you forward. It can challenge you to be a better version of yourself in ways you’ve yet to imagine. Help you face your fears and examine the places that scare you with intense scrutiny so that you are no longer trapped.
“At first, I was afraid of conflict. I always assumed other people know more than me and that if we disagreed on something, they would leave me. Then, I learned to trust my opinions enough to voice them and how to stop worrying about saying something wrong. Now, I can be uncomfortable during conflict without being overwhelmed or waiting for it to pass or for someone else to resolve it. It’s so much more comfortable a feeling than what I’ve been living with up until now.”
Jay W.After working with Dave on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship, and self-compassion
Don’t Live Life as a Victim
A few years after I became a therapist in private practice, a client of mine found herself deeply struggling. She’d been through years of therapy with no real progress. Her life hadn’t yet taken off in the way she had expected it to. She had a very difficult past with a serious lack of any healthy relationships, and as a result she held people at a distance. In essence, she struggled to get any real traction in her life. When we looked at her life, it was interesting to find that she seemed to always have a reason why things could never change. Every opportunity for growth became a roadblock in her mind. In fact, she would rather not move forward with some risk even though she found it intolerable to stay where she was at. She was stuck living her life as a victim, and not as a survivor.
Her situation dramatically improved when she made one simple change that had evaded her for years: Viewing her situation as uncomfortable rather than intolerable. For her, that subtle shift gave her the permission to actually move the pieces of her life in a way that she had control over. She grew and became more confident in herself, and her relationships with others changed almost overnight when she stopped indulging in her view that she was utterly powerless.
And what really changed for her? What made the difference in the tangible improvements of her life? Simply put, it was the subtle shift of changing her point of view from being helpless to being someone empowered with choice. Situations being viewed as difficult, rather than impossible. This development of her resilience didn’t even require actual changes to the circumstances in her life at first; rather, the change was inside of her, without lying to herself. By simply being more realistic in how she looked at things. By focusing on what she could control rather than what she couldn’t. And it changed everything for her.
And she did make it. By making smart decisions about her life, by looking at situations from a different point of view and by having the boundaries to choose who she allowed into aspects of her life rather than being powerless when others treated her poorly. She focused simply on what she had and what she could have in the future.
“I like the idea of a more proactive, aggressive approach to problem solving and it sounds like I can find that here.”
Angela B.After working with Dave on issues concerning depression and self-esteem
Letting Go of the Past
For you to live the life you deserve, you’ll need to let go of the past. I realize that this might feel unfair to hear. There may have been things that happened that never should have happened to anybody. Or maybe it was a divorce, or growing up in an unhealthy and chaotic family. Maybe COVID changed your work in such a way that you are still digging out financially. Maybe you are genuinely grieving the knowledge that you have more emotional awareness than your parents ever had. And all of these things are valid. I truly get it. Issues like these can suck the life force out of you as well as alter the focus of your life.
But here is something I would like you to do every time you are overwhelmed, feeling stuck or afraid. I want you to take a moment in time to breathe, and then simply say these words out loud to yourself:
I am survivor. My feelings are my strength. I am not alone. And I refuse to be stuck anymore.
Now, I know that there are those that will take issue with this. “What are you saying, Dave? That’s the stupidest advice I’ve ever heard!” To which I gently sigh and say softly but firmly, “Yep, that’s what needs to be done.” Because here’s the truth: If you cannot pick yourself up, if you cannot start taking control of your life, if no one is going to rescue you, then who is going to do it for you?
Think about it. Who is going to actually save you while you’re adrift in your life? The unfortunate answer is no one. That’s why how you think about the problems in your life directly affects the quality of the life you live and experience. And again, we’re not talking about lying to yourself; we’re just talking about being more realistic.
But why a survivor, and what if you actually are alone? Why did I select this phrase for you to use? Because I want you to take control of your life. I want you to have the courage to tackle the fears that have kept you stuck. To move forward and not give yourself any excuses to stay put any longer. And because you need these reassuring words to strengthen your determination since life is not always that easy.
“Before therapy, I felt a lack of control of my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and direction in life. I felt like my day-to-day was unpredictable. Now, I feel like I have strategies to deal with ups and downs and manage my way through any potential relapses.”
John C.After working with David on issues concerning stress, anxiety and relationships
The Power of Genuine Change
You have more power than you realize. It’s in all of us. What’s missing is the courage and (ironically) the stubbornness that will propel you forward. And if you need help, I can be there with you along the journey. Together we can tackle the struggles that try to derail your life to the side so that you can actually life your life rather than having it lived for you.
The ultimate outcome of all of this should be a life where you truly are happy. I don’t want you to pursue happiness as a goal, since happiness is actually a byproduct of our achievements. I don’t want you to stay stuck in a situation just because you believe there is no way out. Otherwise, years will pass you by and nothing will change at all. You deserve more than this.
I can be there to help you change all of that. No matter where you are in your life or what struggles you’ve been forced to endure. I hope to be an ally who you find will help you grow and change the direction of your life.
You’re Ready for Therapy if…
Therapy is for those that want to be challenged to move outside of their comfort zone in order to achieve higher levels of tangible success, rather than just “talking” about things. Those who are willing to move heaven and earth to make the necessary changes to their life in order to propel themselves forward and not wait for others in their life to change first. This includes anyone who feels like they’ve gotten as far with their struggles as they can and are tired of just “maintaining” and keeping their head above water. Progress may be challenging at times, but ultimately dramatic shifts will happen if you commit to change.
“I’ve had many other counselors over the years and I chose you because of your focus on CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy). But, I really relate to your more analytical, organized, solution focused approach verses just letting me talk and you listen. It feels more pragmatic.”
Tim K.After working with Dave on issues concerning procrastination, perfectionism, self-compassion and anxiety
You Should NOT Work with Dave if…
My type of therapy isn’t for everyone. There are those looking for a “Magic Bullet” to change their life without committing to doing any real work themselves. Some don’t actually want to take the time out of their busy lives to actually learn and practice the new tools and skills they’ll get from our sessions in order to gain any traction. Those that are stuck in the past. Or possibly avoiding or escaping life through alcohol or drugs in order to make it through the day. If any of this describes you, then I’m not the right therapist for you.
“I used to feel like a complete mess. I felt lost. Every emotion and thought I had felt wrong. I felt totally lost like I was drowning. I was so uncomfortable and very unhappy. I was starting to lose myself and everyone else that I cared about. After working with Dave, I learned how to be mindful and talk myself out of my spiral of endless worry. I don’t feel so completely lost or crazy. Instead, I feel more normal, more at peace. I’m not totally fighting myself at every turn.”
Brooke D.After working with Dave on issues concerning social anxiety, depression, stress and self-esteem
So, What Does Therapy with Dave Look Like?
Essentially, therapy is a type of relationship that is professional, healthy, and supportive. Frequently we’ll start by looking at the big question of whether or not you’re actually happy with where you are at in life, and look at how you got here. We’ll examine your goals, hopes and dreams, as well as your frustrations and fears about what may happen if things don’t change. We’ll tackle real advice that is specific to your life to help you make movement in a sideways direction towards change rather than head-on, something often overlooked in therapy. Then, we’ll look at where you want to be in life and what needs to change in order for real movement to actually happen. As you make progress, together we’ll examine how to keep you and your new approach to life on the right track, along with maintaining the resilience necessary to continue living an authentic life.
“I used to worry about what my coworkers are thinking of me. I was worried that they were going to think I’m not good enough or mean. At the same time, I did’t want them to think I was too happy or too bubbly. Dave helped me so that I’m no longer stuck inside of my head. Now, I can interact with my coworkers without being consumed by my own thoughts.”
Irene T.After working with Dave on issues of anxiety, relationships and self-esteem.
If all of that seems overwhelming, don’t worry. These elements naturally occur as we work together and serve as a checklist for how we’ll tackle issues together (technically this is called a treatment plan). It’s a guide for how to actually work forward towards change without needing to spend years in therapy, which can be a problem in and of itself. Knowing that you are actually making confident steps towards a future where you can make smarter choices without living on autopilot. And that is the ultimate goal as far as I’m concerned.
So, are you ready to take the challenge? Go ahead and reach out, and let’s get to work.
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