Do You Want to Feel Better -- Or Get Better?

The aim of psychotherapy is to help you improve the quality of your life. It’s not enough just to feel better. We want you to actually get better. There is a difference.

Just talking about a problem will often make you feel better. It just feels good to vent sometimes — to tell somebody what it is like to experience what you are struggling with, be it depression, anxiety, a relationship problem, a work problem, a major decision, whatever. Talking helps. Of course it does. The act of talking in and of itself allows you to clarify what you think, feel, want, need, and fear, which can lead to some relief.

But getting better takes you one step further. After you spend some time in our sessions reflecting on the deeper aspects of your life, sooner or later you will find yourself confronted with a choice. Do you want to go on feeling the way you've been feeing, or do you want your life to be different? Because if you want a different life, eventually you'll have to do something to make it happen.

Getting better requires action, usually in the form of small steps. Therapy helps you identify what actions to take, and how to take them. (Hint: your brain/psyche usually resists change. Therapy helps with that.)

I love it when my clients feel better. But I love it even more when they make
progress towards a goal.

Interested? Maybe I can help.

Therapy and Cell Phones

Therapy and cell phones don't mix.

Sometimes clients will come into a session, forgetting to turn off their cell phones. When it goes off, as it invariably will, most people realize what an intrusion it is and then turn the thing off. I appreciate this.

But some people leave still their cell phone on, and then we spend the rest of the session listening to ping of text messages, or worse, the ringing from an incoming call.

I try not to be rude. I try not to say, "Turn that darn thing off, will you?" But sometimes I fail. Sometimes I lose patience.

Look, therapy is an activity that requires you to turn away from the press of day-to-day living and focus on the deeper aspects of your life. We need to focus on the experience of being you — your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories, and more. And for that we need your full attention.

So do me a kind favor. When we meet for our appointed hour, turn off your phone and put it away. No, I don't mean leave it out, turned upside down and within easy reach. Put it away. Be brave. You can live without it for an hour.

Let's focus on you. Let's make your life better.

You are not alone

In the United states, it is estimated that 15 million people struggle with depression. For anxiety problems, the number is 40 million.

If this is you, in other words, you are not alone.

Joining Forces

Many people avoid going to therapy because they're afraid to reveal a personal problem. They fear being judged, diagnosed, or possibly looked down upon. In a Facebook culture, where everybody is always taking selfies to prove what a great time they’re having, who wants to admit they are depressed, anxious, or struggling to cope with life?

Nah. No thanks, doc. I'll keep my private life to myself.

But before you dismiss therapy outright, let me tell you this. What I do is join forces with people. I do not judge, moralize, criticize, or condemn. I understand that human beings are flawed, vulnerable, irrational, and occasional conflicted.

There are no perfect human beings. Everyone struggles, sooner or later. Life is hard.

I cannot make life less hard for you — no one can. Nor can I change your past, your history, the things that have happened to you. What I can do, however, is join forces with you as you try to make progress towards some goal.


Today is Thanksgiving.

Sadly, many of us only think about gratitude one day out of the year. But I think it's a good practice for your every day life. Every now and then, you might ask, "What are you grateful for?"

Life is hard and sometimes it's just so easy to focus on darkness, pain, suffering, bad behavior, and struggle. But let us not forget the light, the good, the joy, the love, the gifts we are given…

What are you grateful for? For me, more often than not it's about people. But every now and then, the perfect cup of coffee, lunch out with my beloved, a delightful discussion with my daughter, the pleasure of good piece of chocolate…

Not to mention a good piece of turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Copyright 2008-2016 John Gibson. All rights reserved.