My Commitments to You

My Commitments To You

  • I will respond genuinely to you and to what you say. The “blank screen” school of therapy believes that therapists ought to show nothing of their reactions or feelings to their clients. For folks who’ve  have felt that other people aren’t there for them, a “blank screen” can be harmful.
  • I won’t let your therapy drift. We check to see how you’re doing every session . And if you’re not doing well, I change something. I have even consulted with experts with worldwide reputation on behalf of my clients.  Some people think therapy is an endless journey with no real destination, but not mine. I won’t let your therapy drift.
  •  Whether you’ve trusted unsafe people too quickly or you’ve struggled to trust anyone at all, I’ll do what I can to help you to gauge your own sense of trust and mistrust with me, and to honor your need to keep yourself safe.
  • I’ll protect your confidentiality (Except for in super rare and obvious cases where I need to break your confidentiality to help protect your safety or that of someone else. You can ask me about what these situations are.). What you say to me stays with me. In my talks, trainings, and writings, I will not share identifiable details about you. The stuff that happens in our work together is up to you to share or to choose not to share with whomever you choose.
  • I will never ask you to keep a secret about our work together or anything that happens in it. What we talk about, what I say and do, everything about our work, is okay for you to discuss with anyone you want to!
  • I’ll welcome your thoughts, your intelligence, your intuition, your feelings, and your feedback.
  • I’ll welcome your whole range of feelings and reactions.
  • I’ll show up for you. I heard a story by a guy named Jack Watkins. He had a client who stormed into his office in a rage and tore all the books from his bookshelf at the end of their session together. Jack, without missing a beat, said, “So I’ll see you at the same time next week?” Whether you’re happy, mad, sad, ambivalent, or numb, I’ll be there. (That said, I’ll also help you to find ways to express yourself that don’t include destruction of my stuff or yours!).
  • I’ll help you to avoid overwhelm and overload in therapy. You probably have some intense memories and feelings, and I can help you work with that stuff at a rate that works for you.
  • I’ll  honor all the different parts of you. Maybe you’re in a difficult relationship, and a part of you wants to leave, and a part of you feels very attached to the person you’re in the relationship with. I’ll honor both parts. Maybe a part of you wants to be in therapy, and a part of you just wants to get the heck outta there! Good therapy will help you to honor both parts.
  • I won’t do all the talking, and I won’t leave you to do all the talking! What we do together will be interactive.
  • I will share with you what I know that can be helpful to you. Understanding the effects of trauma, ways to counter shame, and why your reactions make sense are all helpful pieces of therapy that help to deymystify what you’re feeling and what’s happening for you. In some ways, I’m like a consultant to you, sharing information to help you to gain expertise about yourself so that you can move forward.
  • I’ll help you to find the sense of space and/or closeness you need in order to find your own thoughts, needs, and feelings.
  • I’ll acknowledge it when I think I’m wrong. (And still keep an open mind when I’m pretty darn sure I’m right!).

When looking for a counselor, use the list above to notice which things resonate with you. When you interview a counselor, avoid seeing a therapist just because they’re covered by your insurance, or they’re close by. Take care with your healing, and find someone you connect with. Someone to really share with. Someone you can cry in front of, fight with, say no to, and ask for more from. Neither their Olympian detachment nor yours helps.

Therapists need flexibility as well as relatability.  A therapist who you can connect with who knows several ways to help you to move forward is preferable to a therapist who knows just one. Ask a prospective therapist questions, and listen to your feelings, your thoughts, and your intuitions, as well as to their answers.

And if these commitments sound good to you and you’d like to explore working with me, you can set up your initial consultation here.

Author: Michaela Lonning

I'm a counselor in Corvallis, Oregon, and I work mostly with intelligent and sensitive people who are struggling with a sense of connection to themselves or in their relationships. Near Corvallis? Come see me. Not near Corvallis? I work with clients around the world via Skype: Come see me.

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