Curt Arey, MA, LAPC
Confusion . . . is the beginning of understanding . . . – Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Some people come to therapy to deal with an immediate problem. Then they go on with their lives. Others want to explore deep issues of spiritual and emotional growth. In the therapy process we talk about life in a way that is different from everyday conversations. We connect with meanings underneath the circumstances. The therapy process creates a container for awareness, a place for important questions to become present. Psychotherapy offers you the opportunity to invest in your personal well-being and growth in the context of a helping relationship – to begin to understand.
What will we do with our time together?
A key component of the therapy we will enter into together is the relationship between therapist and client, between you and me. It is important for you to have a safe place to explore feelings and concerns, to receive feedback and support, to examine our habitual methods of interacting with the world, ourselves and others. I invite you to be an active participant in helping me to understand you and your concerns, as well as letting me know if there is anything occurring in the session that causes you distress. This information will assist us both in creating a safe and helpful environment and inform the work that we do.
I utilize a person-centered approach, which means that our sessions will start with you and your needs. Together, we will explore the issues that you bring to counseling in a holistic way, with emphasis on emotional and personal history perspectives, as well as how those perspectives are affecting you in the present moment (right here-right now). I will do my best to model kind, positive, boundaried, here-and-now interpersonal interactions, and to stay as much out of the way as ethically possible, encouraging and allowing you to discover the abilities within you to do the work. This component of our work together is directed at providing you with the tools and insights that will help you with your concerns and goals. Again, this will involve your active participation in sharing your “story”, exploring feelings and sometimes doing projects outside of sessions such as reading, journaling, drawing/painting, information gathering or making changes (homework, if you will). Very often, what you want will become clearer to you as you are able to talk about your feelings in a place of acceptance. This opportunity to explore and examine your experiences can lead to a clarity that enhances your insight and ability to make healthy and necessary changes in your life. In this way, you learn to access, trust and use your own internal resources for well-being and health. You also learn to identify and reach for helpful resources and persons outside yourself.
As with any intervention however, there are also risks associated with counseling. First of all, therapy is not an instant or even guaranteed cure. Secondly, risks can include experiencing uncomfortable levels of feelings like sadness, anger and anxiety. Some changes can lead to what seem to be worsening circumstances or even losses. For example, counseling will not necessarily keep a marriage intact. However, therapy can also be surprisingly easy and full of joy at times; the risks and challenges of therapy often leading to benefits. I will be working to support you through the challenges of change and look forward to helping you move toward the benefits and goals you seek in counseling. I appreciate your courage in considering counseling and taking a step in a new direction.
All real living is meeting – Martin Buber
A bit of background . . .
My educational foundation is a Master of Arts degree in psychology from the University of West Georgia. My training covers a wide range of theory and techniques, with emphasis on the humanistic approach to therapy and living. You might say that I see the world through a humanistic lens, one which directs my, and our, focus toward building a sense of wholeness and freedom, empowering us to make choices in life rather than allowing them to be made for us. As we direct our search inward, encountering our obstacles to growth and self-understanding, we will endeavor to address these obstacles, developing a deeper sense of connection to self, others and living and gaining insight into how we relate to and interact with ourselves and the world.
One question I am asked, perhaps more than any other, is: “What’s your specialty?” This seemingly simple question stymies me. I think I instinctually resist being pigeon-holed into one course of action. Another, and perhaps more pressing issue, is that I find it difficult to believe I have been at this work long enough to declare myself a specialist at anything. Except . . . perhaps . . . at being present. Really being there and with you is something at which I excel.
Often, I think the question really being asked is: “With what kind of people do you work?” My answer to that is much simpler; I work with a variety of clientele, including individuals (children, adolescents and adults), couples, and families in both group and individual settings. I also have experience working with those who struggle with anxiety, depression, life’s transitions, childhood and recent traumas, various other problems with living, and addiction in its many forms. I have worked in several different settings: inpatient stabilization unit, day hospital, and outpatient, the more popularized idea of therapy practice.
You may wonder if your needs and my approaches are a good match. That is one purpose of this little bit about me – to give you more information on which to base your decision to enter into counseling. I believe the best way is for us to talk about your reasons for seeking counseling and decide together if the ways I work might be beneficial for you. I do not work with clients whom, in my professional opinion, I cannot help using the resources and techniques I have available and will do all I am able to refer you to someone I feel may be a better match.