Our approach to therapy is warm, positive and respectful. We focus on your goals and support you in achieving them. Our specialization extends to anxiety, depression, relationships, dating, self-esteem and spiritual issues. We have a client-centered style, informed by attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology. We believe a strong and authentic therapeutic relationship is key to lasting change. Regular therapy helps the brain rewire circuits and pathways to unlock one’s potential, and assists the nervous system in releasing fear and anxiety so that body and mind can cooperate fully in the fulfillment of life’s dreams.
There are different types of therapy. Here at Austin Professional Counseling, we offer individual, couple and group psychotherapy. Individual therapy is best for private matters needing specific individual support and exploration. Couples therapy is appropriate to work on strengthening your relationship, making it more fun, relaxed and fulfilling. Group therapy is effective in building emotional intelligence and greater skill in the way we relate to others.
The science of psychotherapy has gone through numerous incarnations since its inception. European therapists built on a foundation of personal growth methods they inherited from the ancient Greeks, which in turn were assimilated from personal development methods developed in ancient India and other parts of the East. Modern psychotherapy began with a psychoanalytic approach pioneered by Freud, Jung and others as a way to deeply explore the unconscious mind over a long period of time. Behaviorism (and later Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) emerged in response to analysis and advocated a shorter and more practically-oriented approach that addressed symptoms directly. Humanistic psychotherapy emerged in the 1970’s to address what seemed at times like a cold therapeutic relationship and to harness the power of relationship in the therapy session. In the midst of these phases, family therapists, body-oriented clinicians, and pioneers of several other models contributed to the development of the science. All of these models are still in use and enjoy wide acceptance as effective vehicles for personal growth. Although different therapists may espouse one style over another, research has shown that factors such as the therapist’s being and presence, the client’s motivation to change and grow, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship are more significant to therapy outcomes than the style of therapy.
The field of psychology is currently enjoying a new revolution due to modern neuroscience and research in the areas of attachment, change and trauma. Improvements in brain imaging technology are changing previous psychological theories and bringing more ‘hard science’ to theory and practice. Psychotherapy remains an ‘art,’ but that art is now informed by knowledge of how the brain, mind and body work together in a way we could previously only imagine. Modern neuroscience, which is changing our understanding of many areas, such as education, parenting, mating and athletics, allows us to tailor therapy more accurately to areas needing support and development. This new research is also confirming the benefits of mindfulness, lending validity to ancient holistic and spiritual methods of personal growth. Collectively, this transformation of the field of psychotherapy is sometimes referred to as the 4th wave of the science, after the first three mentioned above (psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology).
At Austin Professional Counseling, we believe that therapists should be engaged in their own personal growth work in order to be of maximum assistance to clients. Therapy is an art that is difficult to practice unless one ‘walks the talk,’ so to speak. Our therapists also have a healthy commitment to training and education so as to keep up with changes in the field and test their skills and knowledge in a variety of settings.
If you are seeking a therapist, it can be a good idea to ask around for recommendations. You might interview several therapists to gauge the best fit. Some issues benefit from specialized therapy, such as addiction, intense trauma/PTSD and eating disorders, among others. Be honest with a potential therapist about your struggles and goals, as that helps define the best fit to meet your objectives. Look for therapists with a warm, authentic demeanor that are engaged in ongoing education and training and keep sessions focused on your goals and needs.
There are many styles of therapy to choose from now, but what tends to matter the most is that you and your therapist feel you are a good match for one another. The therapist will verify they have the requisite experience to handle your needs, and you should make sure that it feels good, healing and productive to be with that therapist. Good therapy is often challenging, so don’t be put off if an occasional session doesn’t feel as good as the others, or if you have difficult emotions come up as a result of the work. It is helpful to bring such feelings into therapy and discuss them openly so that you and your therapist can process and address them.
In addition to individual psychotherapy, couples, family and group work are also considered effective ways to address concerns. Speak with your therapist about the methods most appropriate for the issues you are working on. Couples work, in particular, is receiving a lot of attention as a good way to address not only relationship issues, but individual concerns as well. Couples therapy harnesses the power of primary partnerships to unlock healing potential. Many of our issues begin in our early-life relationships with caregivers and others. Our current relationships have great power to serve as healing mechanisms for our psyches, wounded hearts and nervous systems.
In conclusion, psychotherapy is an effective way to deal with life issues and obstacles, to sharpen and support your mind so it can achieve its goals, and to help you develop greater self-love and compassion so can laugh more, feel greater peace, and form meaningful connections with others. Here at Austin Professional Counseling, we embrace psychology’s rich and ancient history of personal growth strategies combined with the latest science on how the brain and mind function. We see psychotherapy as a growth experience that can support many areas of your life, from your relationships, to your mental and emotional health, your stress levels, sense of loneliness, your spiritual life, managing anxiety and depression, parenting, and living with a sense of meaning. We very much look forward to supporting you in your journey toward health and wholeness! -John and the Austin Professional Counseling team