I am a systems theorist, which means that I believe that the systems (family, work, school) have an impact on how we function from day to day. The attitudes and actions of others have an impact on our attitudes and actions towards others. I seek to teach people to live intentionally in a thoughtful manner and help them reduce their emotional reactivity. In this way, people become who they want to he and influence others in a more positive way.
I use two analogies to explain this:
One; when someone throws a rock into a pond a whole lot more happens than the rock getting wet. The ripple effects of the rock hitting the water goes throughout the pond’s ecosystem.
Two; I have my grandfather’s old engineers watch and when I screw off the back I see a lot of gears. When I wind it the gears start moving and not one gear moves without having an affect of moving another one.
My approach to family therapy is to align the family using Structural Family Therapy to place each member of the family in their appropriate role. I work to put parents in charge of their children and bring balance to the family system. I teach parenting skills that help parents establish boundaries using the three tools positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment that are available to parents. I know that blended families have particular challenges and I help each family member transition into the new family system.
My goal of couple’s therapy is to rebuild the emotional intimacy between the partners. We have a tendency to let life distract us from doing those things that initially brought us together. We then get into a negative feedback loop that pushes us further and further apart. I push my clients to stop the negative feedback loop and begin again the positive feedback loop that brings us together. The skills to teach to accomplish this task are assertive communication, structured problem solving, and intentionally loving each other to name a few.
I see couples who are required by their church to have premarital therapy or who want to enhance their relationship. Too many times couples focus all their attention on the day they get married and not enough attention is placed on the day after. I use the Prepare-Enrich program that has an extensive assessment of the couple and use up to 20 homework assignments to address growth areas in the relationship. There is a certificate of completion provided for those you wish to have it or pastor requires it.
I us a variety of tools to help people overcome the effect that trauma has had on their lives. Trauma is not restricted to just war, but is also felt by law enforcement, first responders, and victims of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. I want my clients to first understand that how they are acting is normal considering how their brain was affected by the trauma. We then work to change the brain so that we don’t see a normally safe environment as a dangerous one. I work with building capacity within the client so that they can regulate their emotions and thin use therapy models such as prolonged exposure to reduce the negative emotional energy associated with the event(s).