With Whom Do You Work?
Different walks of life
Although I work with clients from many different walks of life, many of my clients would see themselves in one or both of these descriptions.
Depressed women with important goals
Although I work with clients from many different walks of life, many of my clients are straight and queer women in their 20s and 30s. Often these clients come to me struggling with a low sense of self-worth. They have a harsh inner-critic and a pessimistic view of themselves and their opportunities. Many of these clients have strong desires to achieve particular goals that are important to them, but are deeply worried that they don’t have what it takes to achieve their goals. These clients are often intelligent, creative, sensitive and caring, but often struggle to see themselves in a positive light. Although these clients are often highly educated, they nonetheless feel worried that they are falling short of the goals they have for themselves. Sometimes the goal is to be in a safe, supportive and loving romantic relationship or to at least be dating people who are kind, available and respectful. Other times, a goal is to really establish themselves in their career of choice or to start taking steps to work on important creative endeavors. Another goal may be to improve relationships with their families of origin. Although these clients often have a clear vision for where they want to be, when they first come to see me they feel dragged down by self-doubt, guilt and insecurity. Many of them have difficulty sleeping or find that they are sleeping far too much. Although they feel enormous pressure to get up and "be productive", they can’t seem to find the energy to do the things they need to do and, as a result, feel tremendous guilt and self-loathing.
These clients are often surprised by how much growth they are able to experience in therapy. These clients learn to quiet their inner critic and learn how to regard themselves ways support rather than undermine their aspirations. These clients discover the origins of their self-defeating thoughts which subsequently diminishes the power the thoughts once had over them. At the end of treatment, these clients report improved self-esteem and better relationships with family members, bosses, peers and romantic partners. They find that they are no longer paralyzed with a sense of anxiety or dread. They are able to move forward in life more confidently and find that they have the energy and motivation to pursue their career and creative goals.
People Who Feel Like Outsiders
Another group of people with whom I commonly work with are people—men, women and gender non-conforming people— who often feel like outsiders. Although the reasons for people’s "outsider feelings" vary, the sense of being "different" from those around them is a frequent and enduring experience wherever they go. Sometimes certain childhood experiences seem to be at the base of this "outsider feeling". For example, perhaps the client moved frequently as a child and subsequently felt they they didn’t really "belong" anywhere. Or perhaps they were raised in a family whose temperaments and personalities were very different from their own. Some of these clients are children of immigrants or are bi-racial or bi-cultural, and these experiences contributed to a sense of being different from many of their peers. Other times, these clients had childhoods that were extremely unique, and they grew up in a fashion that was simply very different from those of most of the other kids they knew.
Regardless of how their outsider feelings first developed, the experience is now very familiar to them. They notice the ways in which they are not like other members of any given group. They have thoughts that seem to be different from the thoughts that others have. These clients are often sensitive and creative people. Some of them prefer one-on-one interactions rather than big group experiences. They may consider themselves shy or introverted, although these clients also sometimes are artists who perform or present their work publicly. These clients often do not have a strong desire to change themselves to fit in better with others—they often like their quirkiness or appreciate the unique perspective they bring to things. Nonetheless, feeling oneself to be on-the-outside can be a painful experience, and these clients often wish to find others somehow more like themselves or to feel a greater sense of general belonging. These clients mostly seek to feel comfortable within themselves and to find others who are accepting, kind and like-minded.
These clients find relief in having a space to speak in which they are not regarded as odd or "too sensitive" and where their uniqueness, depth of feeling and thought is valued. These clients experience a sense of acceptance in therapy which eventually translates into an internal sense of belonging and "okay-ness". Like the depressed women with whom I work, these clients find at the end of treatment that they are able to move forward in their lives with a greater sense of self-confidence. They also find that the energy once sapped by painful internal experiences is now freed up, and they are able to devote more time and energy towards projects that provide a sense of meaning and purpose.
If you're ready to make an appointment, please call my San Francisco office at (415) 261-2989 or email me to schedule an initial therapy appointment. You can also send me a text. I am looking forward to hearing from you.