I’ve always been at odds. Basically, a shit-stirrer. But, like most shit-stirrers, the satisfaction isn’t the stirring, but pointing out the shit. Unfortunately, it’s been unpopular with family, friends, teachers and, in addition to setting former partners on edge, certainly hasn’t made for realistic career options. Or at least some concrete basis on which to choose. For example, my first attempt at 19, Why not be a writer? I’d still be a shit-stirrer, but a noble one. Not that my writing had ever been considered exceptional, but a high school teacher did once say, I wrote the way I talked. I assumed this was probably a good thing—and if I read enough literature, it would rub off.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt. But I’m not sure it rubbed off. Writing was laborious, so much stirring the shit became lost in the batter. In fact the shit was no longer a tangible, hunted-thing, like Ahab’s white whale, but a more convincing awareness of the shit in it’s being observed. If better writing didn’t rub off, the uncanny, first-person narrators I encountered certainly did. And probably no coincidence, those who were also at odds, shit-stirrers, but modeled a conviction.
No doubt these familiar, confederate, guides gave me fortitude. But apart from flattery by imitation, all they did for my writing was raise the bar. If this is classically part of a young writer’s development, it’s only in the movie version. Meanwhile people around me were entering what seemed like more promising lives. I wasn’t even crumpling up rejection letters. I was writing though. Several 800k floppy disks worth. But the furthest they went was to an external hard drive. Of course the purest in me didn’t think I was good enough. But in truth I didn’t know. The bigger truth, however, was I didn’t know what to do, or how to find out.
In hindsight, while I appreciated finding narrator guides, what I’d needed and been looking for was actual guidance.
I couldn’t have articulated this when I first tried therapy. Though, to be fair, I can’t attribute this just to therapy. Life is a crafty, relentlessly unbudging therapist. But one you continue going back to. Anyway, my first experience in actual, sitting-on-the-couch therapy was similar to being a narrator. There I was conveying, not my story, but me. With writing, because the reader was faceless, imagined, I could edit, or effect, how much of my actual point of view I revealed. Obviously I didn’t reveal everything. That’s not the point, or always necessary, but like any narrative, it takes to unfold and develop. The significant difference is that by having person, a therapist, who is experienced, focused on specifically on you, responding, suggesting directions, you don’t have wander down blind alleys, unproductive lines of think, only having to re-trace your steps. Therapy can save you from having additional shitty first drafts.
We all have issues, things we want to improve about ourselves and our lives. Whether our upbringing, or other experiences which prevented us from developing necessary abilities is secondary, to our need to develop them today.
Working with me
As a therapist I don’t see your problems as necessarily negative, but working examples for us to recognize your strengths and to develop the abilities to resolve what’s current a problem and apply to problems in the future.
I strive to be real, am informal, active, and collaborative. I seek to understand you by listening, asking questions, and and checking with you whether I am getting your point of view. I provide assistance, focused attention, a professional perspective, openness, enthusiasm, and encouragement. And where relevant and appropriate, real life examples, as well as humor.
What I can help you with.
Therapy can benefit and help you improve many areas of your life. For example, having more confidence, managing depression, maintaining your sense of self in personal or professional relationships. I can help you understanding the importance of boundaries and how to set them, for example by defining and distinguishing your needs from others. I’ve helped many men understand and improve issues around performance anxiety. I’ve also worked with couples to develop open, productive, intimate, communication, specifically the difficult, big picture things, like sex, marriage, having children, finances, or household responsibilities. But also more immediate, critical crisis, infidelity, separation, or divorce, developing and improving co-parent’s relationship.
If you’ve read this far, I suggest having a brief, phone consultation. You can give me a sense of what you want to address, and specifically accomplish. I will tell you how I’d approach what you’ve described, how we might best accomplish it, and answer any questions. This will give you a better sense of working with me, and whether I’m a good fit for you, and have experience with what you want to address. If I’m not a good fit, I can suggest other sources, or therapists more in line with you’re needs. This is your choice after all.