The Whole Picture
MY UNIQUE APPROACH:
A one-stop shop for life changes
“Psychotherapy doesn’t work.”
After several of my clients returned to work on the same issues that seemed resolved years ago (or their kids were sent to me for the same things!), I knew had to make changes; I was failing to help people become permanently self-reliant, to get themselves out of their struggles and into a life of their own making.
The old school therapy model of “Got a few years? This is going to take a while”, or the modern one of “Uncomfortable? We have a pill for that” are setups for failure—suffering can’t wait and medicine merely dulls—not cures—pain; I wondered: Is therapy unintentionally creating lifelong dependencies on therapy?* I had to make my “medicine” faster, more comprehensive and permanent.
So I overhauled my entire model:
Whole-Picture Therapy: A Comparison
Definition of problem and solutions
Generic Psychiatric lens
Symptoms treated as "sickness"
Life Context Lens
(problem defined in life context)
Symptoms treated as faulty but fixable patterns of interaction
Type of goals pursued
Vague, open-ended conceptual:
(e.g. "Be Less Depressed")
Symptoms temporarily reduced
Specific and practical:
(e.g. "learn to confront without guilt")
Hope and skills improve at the same time
treatment approach used
- Talking and Insight
- Dependency on Therapy
One Client: One therapist
- Excludes clients' significant others
- Slow progress/resolutions
- Initiating Client
- Significant "Others"
- Primary Therapist
- Supportive Helpers
- Prioritizes and strengthens marital/family bonds
- Expands support network
Examine impact of past on present
- Narrow Viewpoint
- Incomplete treatment destabilizes marital/family unit
Address the whole and it's parts at the same time
Healthy relationships, patterns created, improving overall functioning for all
driver of process
Endless therapy increases fatigue or dependency
Phase 1: therapist stabilizes family unit
Phase 2: client drives/therapist guides
Clients regain control over life direction
Lengthy study of past until hypothesis reached
Significant change takes months/years
4 session assessment yields precise hypothesis and charts clear path forward
Immediate clarity and steady forward progress
The results were profound: the kids whose worrisome behaviors disappeared when their parents’ marriage strengthened; the once therapy-resistant husbands who now embraced couple and individual therapies; the couples on the brink of divorce who replaced their destructive patterns with the skills to create lifelong intimacy.
I became a one-stop shop for fast and comprehensive life changes.
These achievements were supercharged by the addition of 2 additional ingredients to my formula:
- My creation and use of the “Relational Venn Diagram” (RVD), a tool that graphically maps the sources of a couple or family’s trouble spots and the ways out of them, to ensure that continuous progress occurs both in and outside of the therapy room.
- Freeing myself from the intrusion and restriction of insurance companies; without it, my clients and I could ourselves design the most comprehensive and flexible plans to fit each person’s unique treatment needs.
Creating a method that is more “teach to fish” than “give a fish” allows me to fulfill my promise—to help people build a permanent internal foundation from which they can direct their lives, attaining true self-reliance. Moreover, each day I get to use all my skills, talents and interests--wrangling and taming crises, using my “x-ray vision” to discover what each person wants and unlocking the ways to get it, discerning when to lead and when to follow, connecting, teaching and learning--with these rare, brave badasses whose resilience and humanity inspire and move me each day.
*I am NOT referring to treatment for people suffering from serious mental illnesses, those who require higher and longer levels of psychiatric care to remain safe.