Dr. Heller’s Therapeutic Approach
I consider each client to be a unique individual, and therefore, my therapeutic approach to each therapy, assessment, or consultation case varies. I work from an integrative theoretical orientation, and employ strategies from psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, family systems, and other theories to meet the needs of each client.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Choosing to begin therapy is a personal choice, and one should enter treatment with an open mind as well as ideas of what they wish to obtain from treatment. I always tell clients during the first session that I want them to get everything out of their treatment experience that they want. Thus, my therapeutic approach encourages frequent feedback on the treatment process. For example, if clients feel that they are not going into enough depth about issues, are being pushed too much to open up about sensitive topics, not receiving enough practical suggestions, or have other concerns, I encourage them to discuss the issue with me so we can work collaboratively on making treatment more conducive to their individual needs.
As part of any new therapeutic relationship, I always explore previous therapy experiences and encourage clients to discuss what they have liked and valued in previous experiences as well as what they have disliked. This provides valuable information that can make therapy more effective. Therefore, I would encourage anyone starting therapy to be open with their therapist about what they are looking for and make sure that the therapist is receptive to their needs and able to provide the kind of treatment desired.
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
The client-therapist relationship is crucial to a successful treatment outcome. My therapeutic approach strongly emphasizes the development of it during the early phase of treatment. Clients can expect that during the session I will allow them to use their time in whatever manner is most beneficial to them, while guiding treatment to ensure that it is effective. I am always very open to feedback, and encourage clients to offer suggestions on how treatment may be improved. It always amazes me how many clients come in for the first session and discuss how they have not liked certain aspects of the way a previous therapist conducted sessions, yet instead of speaking with the therapist about their concerns, they simply stuck with therapy or quit.
In addition to conducting therapy, I also do a significant amount of psychological testing. Since testing is time-limited, often times I believe the importance of the client-therapist relationship is not focused on enough. In my clinical work doing testing, I take the necessary time in order to foster a strong client-therapist relationship, as I feel that this is vital in obtaining accurate results. Furthermore, I am always available to clients for follow up after the feedback session at the conclusion of an evaluation.