An employer emailed three of her managers requesting that each meet with her at 3:00 pm the following day. They were not told the reason for the meeting or who would be present at the meeting. On reading the email, one manager experienced palpitations. He also experienced difficulty focusing and had a sleepless night. He reflected on his department and the fact that although his department performed above average for the last quarter, his performance for the month was less than the previous month.
Another manager read his mail and pondered the reason. He recalled that during the most recent campaign he had difficulty with two of his coworkers and as a result his team was not as productive as he would have liked. He felt anxious. He hoped that his employer would not rate him solely on his recent difficulties and planned to show her how he is an asset to the company. The third manager read the mail and saw it as an opportunity to meet with his employer in person. He had hoped for a reason to discuss his concerns and welcomed a meeting.
The interpretation of the email was unique to each manager. The fears, concerns, or lack of were based solely on each manager’s perception and history or past experiences. In life, we behave and or react to any given situation based on our thoughts and feelings.
In other words, our behavior has more to do with how we view a given situation and less to do with the actual situation or event. It follows then that negative and irrational thinking result in less than positive behaviors and more accurate and rational ways of thinking lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
An important goal, in my cognitive behavior therapy practice, is to help my clients to look at the connection among their thoughts, feelings and their behavior. My clients are helped to learn techniques that change thoughts and behaviors to more positive and rational ways of being so that they may view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective manner. Some of these challenges include family conflict and communication difficulties, workplace difficulties, phobias, the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, difficult parent-child relationships, difficulty setting and achieving goals, difficulty believing in self and the experiencing of physical and or emotional abuse including sexual violations.
“I believe that the client wants the best for him or herself and is more than likely doing his or her very best given the situation. I do not judge.”
In a first session, I support and encourage my clients as they identify concerns and goals for therapy. Information about their physical and emotional health helps me to better understand how I may help them. Treatment goals, the approximate number of sessions that will be needed and the frequency of sessions are usually determined after the first or second session. I consider it my responsibility to ensure that my clients’ needs are met and they have confidence in my ability to help them. Therefore, if for any reason a client decides that we are not a “good fit.” I would be pleased to assist in identifying a therapist that can better help the client to achieve his or her goals.
I see each session as an encounter, a teaching-learning experience and a conversation, during which I listen without bias, reflect on what is communicated both verbally and non verbally, provide feedback, teach new skills and assign homework that will help to reinforce understandings gained and skills learned. I believe that the client wants the best for him or herself and is more than likely doing his or her very best given the situation. I do not judge. In fact, I realize that my client is the authority on him or herself. I will never know my client as well as he or she knows himself or herself. My goal is to get my client to develop to his or her fullest potential and live a happy and rewarding life.
My sessions are hands-on or concrete because I feel that it is important for my clients to understand what it is they want to change and what that change could look like. We, therefore, discuss and reenact real situations that have occurred. It is through those interactions that I assist my clients to identify and dispute irrational beliefs or self sabotaging ways and to adopt more positive thinking and behavior that enable them to live happy, confident and self-fulfilling lives.
Thoughts and beliefs are routed in self-image, world view and history and examining their views/perceptions to determine if the conclusions reached or beliefs held are accurate and beneficial, although necessary, can be challenging. It is sometimes difficult for clients to open up and share thoughts, feelings, concerns and work at changing negative and self sabotaging behaviors.
However, as therapy progresses, and within a relatively short period of time clients usually come to understand that it is through sharing thoughts, feelings, and concerns honestly and working through difficulties, even though they may feel vulnerable, that they gain the confidence that they need to change in a positive manner and, thereby, achieve their goals.
Thérèse Gray Counseling
2186 Halsey Street, Suite 1A
Union, NJ 07083
Ph: (973) 953-5771; Fax: (908) 686-3859