Why seek therapy? The human experiences of anxiety, depression, and questions of personal direction and meaning, are among the more common complaints that bring people to call a therapist. Knowing this, I start therapy with a comprehensive understanding of the person, including his or her unique history, how the client creates meaning, what are his or her values, thoughts, patterns over time, and the person’s quality of emotions and manner of relating. Really listening and understanding a person in totality this way opens a whole mini-universe about that person. And that’s exactly where to set up therapy, like a quiet observation post, a place of very good work. This is a wonderful process of discovering what is happening and navigating new ways to live. I cannot say enough about this profoundly helpful experience.
What is it about psychotherapy that is different than a good conversation with a friend? In psychotherapy you find safe, confidential support, and receive the constructive feedback of a nonjudgmental, unbiased listener who can help you understand yourself. The therapist listens with curiosity to what you experience say about your life, relationships, your quest for meaning. More than a checklist approach of symptoms and diagnosis, therapy is a deep view into what matters to you and how you want to live. This can include ways to make beneficial choices that encourage improved relationships and quality of life.
Most people have only friends and family to talk with, and not one who is unconditional and can really see them, hear them, without some kind of agenda. In the psychotherapy that I provide, there is unconditional regard, and the only agenda is understanding and being helpful. I provide that focus, and I keep my eyes and ears on the client’s experience at all times.
What do I bring to the therapy? My clinical experience and training are grounded in psychiatric rehabilitation, community counseling, residential and hospital and private practice settings, and more than two decades of private practice work helping individuals and couples navigate relationships and life adjustments. I was fortunate to receive training in mindfulness-based psychotherapy about twenty-five years ago when it was a new approach in the field of psychology and psychiatry. This included dialectical behavior therapy or “DBT”. At the same time, I became acquainted with persons who suffered with borderline personality disorder, which felt like a natural fit for me and my clients, so I launched my career specialization helping people who suffered with emotion dysregulation and mood challenges. In addition to all of my clinical training and academic study, I have learned even more from the people that I have helped, their unique life experiences. Further, understanding individuals is not complete without due consideration of how they have been shaped by trends in society, aspects of culture, immigration patterns, world religions, and economic and political and historic conditions. All of these factors matter. It’s wonderful to know people and help them so completely.
Psychotherapy is a process of revealing and discussing your experiences confidentially. Understanding yourself and your circumstances can bring relief and help you make important life adjustments. And when you combine talk therapy with mindfulness practice you can make sense of and organize and construct your life in a way that is even better than mere anxiety and depression reduction.
It’s very good to know that you can deeply realize your freedom and make beneficial choices about how you would like to live, work and enjoy relationships.
Psychotherapy is a stable, beneficial personal project that is built on trust, wisdom, collaboration. It is a precious gift for client and therapist to value.
Niles D. Willits-Spolin LMFT
Encino/Los Angeles, California