Dr. Lodrö’s View of Therapy
Fundamentally, I see therapy as a tool to enhance and maintain our emotional, psychological and even our spiritual health. As someone who’s utilized therapy, I believe that the therapeutic experience and relationship can be an invaluable experience for everyone because it provides us with a private space to get to know the deepest and most hidden places within ourselves. Therapy is also something that I believe people should use regardless of whether or not there are significant problems in their life. While therapy can and does address problems, it also allows us to enhance ourselves, our relationships and to improve our conditions in the present and for the future.
Sure, therapy addresses problems, but to only focus on what’s broken, what’s wrong, and to fixate on these things misses the point of our lives. It miss the whole you and the whole us. It’s our strength, our resilience and innate abilities that allow us to experience relief and deepen our level of contentment. Life is hard, really hard at times, and it can be that way for a long time. So yes, there are challenges when we’re in a really bad situation, but I know, from a great deal of experience, that everything is workable and change is inevitable. There is always hope and possibility and we can do a lot more than we think to steer our future in a better direction. We just have to muster the courage to accept support and gain insight
What Happens in Therapy?
It’s a team effort. While I hold a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and have been meditating and studying the human condition for over two decades, you’re the expert on you and the only one who has direct access to your mind. Some people have the misconception that a therapist can fix people, but this isn’t possible. A therapist is a resource for you, one that you choose to use or disregard. And this is where your willingness to change is vital because no therapist can make you better, only you can. Your responsibility is to explore your life, learn about yourself, take risks to change, and decide whether you want to use therapy. The amount of change is the result of us coming together, creating a space where you can be honest with yourself, and to learn how to master your mind, emotions and life. This can take time, but if you’re wiling to put forth the effort, change can happen very quickly.
What we do in a session is determined by what’s going on in your life and where you want to go. The tricky part is that you may not know what’s really going on, and you may not know what you want. So this is where we’ll start and what we’ll figure out together.
In Therapy, you’ll learn about your patterns and habits, where they come from, how they’ve influence your life and figure out which ones you want to change. We’ll also work to help you increase your emotional intelligence, your ability to be aware of what’s going on in the moment (within yourself and in relationship to others), and how to be flexible in life while doing what is in your best interest.
What Types of People Benefit From Therapy?
If you’re motivated to change and improve, then you can immensely benefit from our work together. Lasting change can take time but if you’re motivated and open, our work together will be very fruitful and will come at a faster rate. Change won’t happen over night but it can happen fast if you’re willing to jump in. I can and do adapt to each person’s, couple’s and family’s needs, so I’m able to work with most anyone. The list at the top of this page highlights the many types issues with which I can work. If you’re uncertain of whether I am the best fit for you, send me a note through the Contact Form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
For those who are leaders, business leaders, talented, bright and wanting to get to work so that your life can be enhanced, inside and out, my therapeutic intensives my be just what you need. Those who are in elevated positions may wish to undergo more intensive therapy to solve problems sooner. Our intensives will quickly get to the core of your issues, and we’ll work to implement change immediately.
Lastly, I have a strong background in Buddhism, mindfulness, meditation and religious individuals, so I’m skilled at understanding the unique challenges that these individuals face in today’s society. It can be very difficult for more religious individuals to feel understood and validated, which is why it’s so important to me to provide you with the support you might be lacking from others.
Do You Specialize?
While I consider myself a generalist, meaning that I can work with most circumstances, there are areas for which I’ve worked and studied. I’ve spent a great deal of time on human systems (couples, families, etc), mindfulness and meditation, Buddhism, working with adolescents and those who are passionate about business. If you’re looking to deepen the meaning and purpose in your life and find relief from feeling stuck in your mind, your emotions, or life, then I can help. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, anger, self-injury, are having relationship or family difficulties, I can also help.
For those of you who are drawn to Eastern practices and belief systems, I’m uniquely suited to support you. I’ve been studying and practicing Buddhism for many years. I’m also very familiar with Judaism and many other religions and cultures. Those who identify with non-Christian religions are, all too often, misunderstood by many therapists. My doctoral work and dissertation focused upon the integration of Western therapies and Buddhism. This focused upon integrating therapeutic techniques but more importantly, it identified the complications that result from the differences between Western and Eastern world-views. Consequently, I understand the depths of these issues and wish to support individuals, whom I believe, are under-served by the mainstream therapeutic community in the U.S..
How Do I Choose a Therapist?
Whenever I speak with someone who’s considering therapy, I give them the following suggestion: “Think of it like dating. Usually after the first couple of dates (sometimes on the first!), you know whether you’re interested in the person, feel some sort of connection, have a sense of safety in the relationship, and want to connect with them. Choosing a therapist is a similar process, but without the intimacy part of course!”
Therapists have different types of training, therapeutic approaches and styles. As a result, they relate to clients in unique ways. While they can describe this relationship to you, it’s best to experience them directly. Sometimes a person’s approach may sound horrible but because therapy is meant to support our growth, we sometimes need what we don’t want…in fact, that’s often the case.
However, if after a couple of sessions you don’t feel some connection but have been honestly open to forming one, don’t hesitate to try someone else. Often times a referral from a friend or someone who is similar to you can really help…but then again, each of us needs something different. Bottom line, give the therapist a try and see how it goes. If your bar is set super high you may not find someone. After all, therapists are human too
A Helpful Individual Therapist Will: Generally talk less than you, work hard to understand you, be cautious when providing a diagnosis (Clinical Psychologists & Psychiatrists), explain any limitations in therapy, and will inquire into your primary problem(s) and/or goal(s).
Family and Couple Therapists: are professionals who have been specifically trained to work with families and couples. While many therapists will have “family and couple sessions” they may not be family or couple therapists. If you ask, they should be able to inform you if they’ve been trained/educated to work as a family or couple therapist.
Child/Adolescent Therapists: If you’re working to find a therapist for your child or adolescent, be sure to empower them during the process, regardless of their age. When someone is forced to go to therapy, it immediately undermines its usefulness. This is because a battle for control will likely get in the way. However, this can be reduced when you involve them as much as possible, even if you’ll need to force treatment upon them. Also, after the age of 12 the child has confidentiality rights. It’s important for them to learn how to use therapy for themselves so, as hard as it might be, you’ll want to respect your child’s privacy and refrain from asking about their sessions. But by all means, if they want to share and initiate the discussion, definitely welcome it. Be sure to speak with the therapist to clarify this and the limits of confidentiality.
How Do I Change Therapists?
The process of moving from one person to another is, logistically, often very simple. However, finding a new therapist that is a right fit can be challenging. Word of mouth referrals, searching for therapists on the internet, and going through your insurance company to obtain a referral list can be of help. If you aren’t having significant problems with your current therapist and are looking for a different style, you may ask them for a referral or even have a discussion with them about changing how you work together. Sometimes they’re flexible and sometimes they’re not. They should be able to explain what they’re doing and why.
As you consider changing therapists, you may want to think or journal about what you haven’t liked and really consider why you want to change. Sometimes we want to change because the therapist is touching upon something that we’re afraid of but might be very helpful. We might even be so scared to face something that our mind tricks us into thinking that the therapist is the problem when really, we just feel very overwhelmed. Yet, it might be that we don’t feel that things are a good fit with our current therapist.
I would recommend that you read through the FAQ entitled, “What if I Don’t Like My Therapist” as this might help you think more about the situation and allow you to make the best decision that’s in your best interest. We should be cautious when automatically believing our thoughts and assumptions because our mind, unfortunately, tricks us much of the time! In fact, this is often the very thing that leads to our problems.
If you connect and stay with a new therapist I would recommend that you sign a release so that your new therapist can talk with your old or other current providers. Even if your previous provider didn’t work well for you, the sharing of information between them could speed up the process with your new therapist. However, this is your decision and one that you should take time to consider making.
How Do I Pay for Therapy?
Paying for therapy occurs through your insurance company (assuming the therapist takes insurance and your carrier) and/or private pay (cash, check, credit cards). If you use insurance, be sure to speak with them about how payment works. Sometimes you can pay a copay and be done with it all but others may require you to meet a deductible. It’s better for you to figure these details out before your first session so that you don’t have to use your time talking about money. After all, you’re there to receive therapy!
If you don’t have insurance, then you’ll be a private pay client and there are some pros and cons to this. While this means that all of your costs are out of pocket, you might be able to deduct these when you file taxes (check with an accountant). Another benefit is that your therapy records are only held by the therapist and are kept confidential. This means that your insurance company will not be notified of your treatment. The only time that they could be released is if the therapist is required by law. For some, this level of privacy might be worth the out of pocket cost.
Another possibility is that a therapist might work on a sliding scale. There are many factors that determine how flexible a therapist is with their fee structure. For example, they might be starting out in their career or dedicate a certain number of client hours to a sliding scale. The range of this scale varies but is often between $70 and $100 per session. The best thing to do is to call the therapist’s office and to ask if they have a sliding scale.
How Do I Get Medications?
Medications are prescribed by psychiatrists, other medical doctors or those psychologists who have received additional education and have become licensed to prescribe medications (depends upon where you live and the laws of your state/country). If you are prescribed medications, it’s important that you visit your provider regularly for checkups.
Additionally, it is advised, by me and many others, that you work with a therapist as you’re taking psychiatric medications. If you’re comfortable, allow your medication provider and therapist to discuss your situation so you can receive the highest level of care. This requires that you file a legal document called a release. This is a form that you fill out and sign, which gives permission to both providers to discuss your confidential information openly but only between the two of them.
Some people may require medication for their entire life because of their specific condition(s), but many times people only need medication temporarily. It is my opinion that the vast majority of people do not need to be on medication for long periods of time (e.g., years) because we can change our lifestyle, behaviors and view of life in significant ways that will result in long-standing and positive change. Research has shown that such changes not only alter the levels of chemicals in our brain but can also impact our genes! However, your situation will be unique so this is something to figure out by you and your providers.
My professional view of medications is that they can be helpful and that there’s nothing wrong with using them, especially on a temporary basis. Sometimes we need to rely on them in order to keep our head above water. Unfortunately, our dominant culture in the U.S. is based upon the view that quick and easy fixes are better than ones that take time and effort. I believe that this approach to our psychological and relational problems only ensures that our difficulties continue. We can make many lifestyle changes that can improve or even solve our problems for years to come. These changes will always do a better job than medications in helping us feel more content and satisfied in our life. The best approach is to use medications for only as long as you need to and to implement healthy and exciting (though scary at times) changes so you can live a freer and happier life. Again, always consult with your providers so that your decision in this matter is as informed as possible.
When Does It Get Better?
Sometimes people feel some relief during the first session because they finally feel supported, heard, understood, and not so alone. For long-term relief, however, it takes time. It’s likely that it’s taken you many years to get to this point so there are many things to explore, address and to consider changing. While we might be suffering a lot at this moment and the wish for relief is very powerful, change and improvement can take some time.
Working with a therapist can help us feel less alone, that we have someone watching out for us and that there is hope for the future. Even still, there’s often a good amount of work to do and the pace of it is generally determined by how willing you are to be vulnerable, explore possibilities, and change. And when change is attempted, it needs to stay in place for some time to be able to determine whether or not it will be effective or right for you.
Many times clients expect that the therapist is going to “fix” them or they might hope that the therapist has a magical cure through some piece of advice. Unfortunately, this is not how humans work. You have your own will and nobody can force you to think or do anything. Consequently, it’s up to you to utilize the support of the therapist and make changes to your thinking, behavior and lifestyle. This takes courage and strength, so it’s important to be kind and patient with yourself. We are creatures of habit and change is not only uncomfortable but it can be very difficulty to keep in place. So do your best and be sure to celebrate the small improvements because they are just as important as the big ones!
And What is the Purpose of Therapy?
This is a wonderful question but also a big one. What complicates this is that therapists will differ in their response and so I’ll present my professional view and how other people might view it.
Dr. Lodro’s View of Therapy: Therapy is a time, relationship and experience whereby individuals can come to find and embody their innate or natural way of being so that their relationships and internal life become more optimal. It’s a time when you can open up to discover who you are and what a meaningful life is really about for you. I don’t believe that a person has to be broken, mentally or emotionally ill or disturbed in order to utilize therapy. In fact, I think that therapy is a resource that all should use at some point in their life. Therapy can help us actualize our life and truly learn how to master ourselves as humans. Most of us are not taught how to do this growing up or in school, and this is why I view therapy as a tool for enhancing everyone’s life.
The Medical Model and Dominant Views of Therapy: Insurance companies, psychiatrists and therapists who emphasize diagnosing generally view therapy as a tool to reduce or eliminate symptoms, but only when they reach a certain severity. If you are not “sick enough,” they may tell you that you don’t need to work with a therapist and your insurance might not pay for sessions. In a manner of speaking, if you’re “good enough” then you don’t need therapy, even though you could benefit from it. This approach to therapy and treatment reinforces the view that therapy is only for those who have major issues.