When you think about it, not coming to therapy is often scarier and more painful. For many, therapy is a relief, a place where one can be and express oneself fully without fear of judgment, criticism, agendas, and punishment. At the same time, it can be intimidating to face oneself as a complex person with unflattering traits and qualities as well as flattering ones. Finally, the therapeutic process can be like wandering into the unknown, which is daunting for most people, even if it is to lead somewhere more desirable.
I see a significant part of my job as providing a safe environment. While my style is direct, I have no agenda or deadline other than to maintain a physically and emotionally safe place at all times. With couples, this might mean seeing them separately, disallowing loud, rapid-fire interactions, and with individuals, it might mean identifying and limiting (containing and prioritizing) how much the client takes on all at once. Or, it might mean providing a non-reactive place to explore freely.
My bias is that people do not want or intend to harm themselves and each other even though, in reaction and through inherited or habituated ideas and practices they might. I also believe that anyone who sets foot in my office is functional (not dysfunctional), but that something (be it internal or external) is telling them they want to find a different way of functioning.
In my role, I am sensitive to and I respect the pace, the vulnerabilities, and the needs of my clients, and I am able to “hold” whatever has become too burdensome for my clients to continue carrying alone.
Aaron J. Feldman, LMFT is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist offering individual and couples counseling & psychotherapy. His offices are in Walnut Creek and Pinole, easily accessible from Antioch, Bay Point, Benecia, Clayton, Concord, Crockett, Danville, El Cerrito, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Orinda, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Point Richmond, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, and San Ramon. He specialized in working with clients on anger management, high conflict and abusive relationships (including domestic violence), communication, intimacy, and other significant personal and relationship problems.