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Monday, March 20, 2017

Discovering Your Personal Strengths in Psychotherapy

People have many misperceptions about psychotherapy (see my articles: Common Myths About Psychotherapy: Therapy Takes a Long Time and Common Myths About Psychotherapy: Going to Therapy Means You're "Weak").  Another common misperception is that psychotherapy tends to be negative, but an integrated contemporary approach to psychotherapy also focuses on clients' strengths (see my article: A Strengths-Based Perspective in Psychotherapy).

Discovering Your Personal Strengths in Psychotherapy

Many clients who come to therapy, especially clients who are anxious or depressed, are unaware of their personal strengths either because it hasn't been their focus or because they're so immersed in their current problems that they forget that they have strengths.

When new clients begin therapy with me, especially when they want to work on unresolved psychological trauma, after I find out the presenting problem and get their personal history, we focus on reinforcing their internal resources and healthy coping mechanisms.

Discovering Your Personal Strengths in Psychotherapy

Often, it's a matter of perspective.  Even when clients come in thinking that they have little in the way of personal strengths, as we explore these issues, many of them are surprised and happy to discover these strengths.

Even clients with severe trauma, who feel they're lacking in internal resources, have strengths just based on the fact that they survived their ordeals.  But they often overlook this.

How I Work With Clients in Psychotherapy
I've been helping clients overcome psychological trauma since 1996, and over the years I've discovered that taking the time to reinforce internal resources as well as external resources is well worth the time spent (see my article: Coping Strategies in Mind-Body Oriented Psychotherapy).

It's not unusual for clients, who have a history of trauma, to want to delve immediately into the trauma.  The feeling is often something like,  "The sooner we get to the bottom of this, the sooner I'll be rid of these bad feelings."

But delving directly into the trauma without taking time to reinforce internal resources is a mistake.

Discovering Your Personal Strengths in Psychotherapy

Clients, who have significant trauma, need to have their internal resources reinforced and available to help them deal with working through the trauma.  Aside from having the therapist as a resource, these internal resources act as their "safety net," something to fall back on if they get triggered in session as well as between sessions.

Working on internal resources also helps clients to get a more complete picture of themselves.  They realize that they have many aspects of themselves as multidimensional human beings (see my article: Understanding the Different Aspects of Yourself That Make You Who You Are).

In the early days of psychotherapy, there was more of an emphasis on looking at clients' problems rather than looking at their strengths.

In fact, we need to do both.  We can't ignore either the strengths or the problems.  There needs to be an integrated approach.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you've been procrastinating about going to therapy because you're concerned that it will be a negative experience that is too daunting for you, you could benefit from working with a psychotherapist who uses a strength-based approach to psychotherapy.

By working with a psychotherapist who uses an integrated approach, you're bound to discover parts of yourself that you've been overlooking.

Rather than struggling on your own, consider setting up a consultation with a psychotherapist who is an integrationist and who will incorporate the positive aspects of who you are (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).


About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.







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