Individual therapy can take many forms depending on your individual needs and personality. In general, my approach to therapy is a very holistic form of psychodynamic therapy. In therapy, we will discuss your current struggles and also explore how they are related to other parts of your life. Through exploring your current situation, your thoughts, emotions, relationships, dreams, fantasy, etc., we will find patterns and themes and then figure out ways to either cope with or break free from those patterns.
The therapy will address general concerns and specific struggles you may have such as excessive worry, anxiety, depressed mood, obsessive behaviors, substance use, self-harm, repetitive relationship problems, etc. We will build a strong therapeutic relationship and discuss ways to work through your struggles. Although the primary agent of change is the therapeutic relationship, other strategies might also be used. The specific interventions vary depending on the need and the personality of each individual person.
In addition to the current struggles and visible "symptoms", I assume that most struggles are part of an unconscious process that is largely outside of one’s own awareness. Psychotherapy helps a person understand many of these unconscious and conscious factors and work through them in various ways. For adults, this is primarily done through verbalizing one's thoughts and feelings with the therapist (talk-therapy). For children, this frequently involves play, talk, art, role-play, etc. I am especially tuned-in to pick up on the many verbal and non-verbal communications that the individual does not even realize they are “saying”.
Overall, the goals of this holistic psychodynamic psychotherapy are to help you through any current struggles, and bring about significant long-lasting changes that positively benefit your present/future and help you be the most complete and thriving person you can be. This therapy requires a strong relationship between the patient and the therapist and frequently requires a significant amount of time. In addition to the long-term therapy described above, I also conduct short-term therapy which can be a very useful part of managing a crisis situation or going through a specific life transition. For effective therapy, I recommend that patients/clients meet with me once per week if possible. Many patients find even greater benefit meeting 2 or 3 times per week.
A more complete description of psychodynamic therapy can be found here: http://www.jonathanshedler.com/PDFs/Shedler%20Scientific%20American.pdf
As above, my work with children and adolescents is strongly oriented in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory. In addition to individual therapy with the child (as described above), my approach is to also develop a strong relationship with parents/caretakers so that we are working together as a team. This helps me get to know other aspects of the child's life (such as early childhood experiences that the child does not remember) and help address concerns that the caregivers have (family conflicts, parenting difficulties, worries about the child). Most parents who have children in need of therapeutic help have tried long and hard to help their children themselves before seeking outside help. Although parents usually are able to “tune in” to their children better than anyone else, everyone comes to parenthood accompanied by the “ghosts” of their own childhood experiences. I am sometimes able to help parents to see their children in a new light; this can be a huge relief to parents as well as to their children and it certainly helps the therapy work as well. We will need to meet periodically, especially in the beginning, without your child present to discuss all of this. I will always listen carefully to caretakers' comments, brainstorm, and guide as much as possible. However, with older children and teens, I will keep much of the specific content of the child-therapist interactions private. I will certainly discuss if I feel a child is in imminent danger, but I want children/teens to know that they can share information with me in confidence. If there is something that I feel the parent/caretaker should know, I will talk with the child about ways that he/she can discuss it with his/her parents and/or ask their permission for me to discuss it with them.
Couples / Relationship Therapy
Romantic relationships are an important part of life for most people. Sometimes, however, these relationships can increase stress and be major sources of conflict. Relationship therapy (or couples therapy) can help the members of a relationship anticipate such challenges and learn how they can work with their partners to resolve conflicts in ways that help the relationship and each individual continue growing and developing. Relationship therapy is a very healthy way to work through common relationship challenges (e.g. communication problems, sexual concerns, financial anxiety, parenting differences). It is also especially useful in anticipation of major life events (marriage, birth of a child, retirement, empty nest, relocation) or in response to significant crisis (infertility, death of a family member, or infidelity). I work with couples in a way that helps each person develop deeper understandings of themselves and their partner's personality and history. We also practice ways of communicating that address the problematic issues in ways that are respectful and productive. By doing this, we explore how the different personalities interact and discover ways to cope with life's challenges so that the personalities of each person can work together rather than collide. As with individual therapy, consistent therapy sessions are vital to the therapeutic process. It is recommended that couples plan on meeting weekly if possible.
In addition to in person therapy, I am happy to provide videoconference therapy for anyone in Washington. This is particularly helpful for people who live far away from my office, travel frequently, have physical disabilities, limited transportation, or who need my particular expertise. These technologies allow us to keep the consistency of the therapy amidst the logistical challenges of life. If you think teletherapy might work for you, please contact me and I'd be happy to schedule a session. _____________________________________________________________________________________
Dr. Bobby Kizer