How Can I Make the Best Use of Our Sessions?
Try to be as open and candid as possible in expressing whatever thoughts, fantasies, or feelings you have.  Whatever you are censoring may very well reveal and clarify an important element of your personal growth.  Of course, you are not expected to disclose ahead of your trust level.
How Will I Change?
Change and growth come with the persistent interplay of self-understanding, developing realistic expectations, and risking new, constructive behavior.  Couples change and grow as barriers recede and their emotional bond strengthens.
How Can Talking About the Past Help?
Of course, what has happened in the past cannot be changed.  However, the assumptions formulated to understand or endure those happenings can be changed.  Often they need to be changed because they were formulated by a child’s mind without much help and they distort one’s current life.  Then too, since those archaic assumptions may be deeply buried in the unconscious it may take significant effort to unearth them.  Of course we will not always be talking about the past.  Current and even in-the-room matters are also highly relevant.
What Can’t You Simply Tell Me How to Solve My Problem?
Sometimes my perspective can be of immediate help simply because you are so close to the problem.  More likely, however, your problem persists because it is so tied into your complexity as a person.  If we are successful, not only will you solve today’s problems, but also you will grow as a person and develop inner resources to manage better the challenges of your future.  Growth is a process that will bear dividends for the rest of your life.
What Can I Do to Help Myself Between Sessions?
  • Your dreams will often reveal basic feelings and issues that are beneath the surface.  You may want to record your dreams the first few minutes upon awakening before they recede into the unconscious.  Often the most productive insights will occur to you between sessions.  The more carefully you pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams and behavior throughout the week, the faster you will achieve your goals in therapy.
How Long Will It Take?
It depends on the quality of our working relationship and your goals.  For some it comes down to how much confidence, autonomy, mutuality, intimacy, and vitality is wanted.
How Does Relationship Counseling Begin?
It is often (but not always) best for both persons to come to the first session together.  This helps all three of us to determine whether it makes sense to work together.  If we decide to proceed, I want to see each person separately in order to obtain his/her history and perspective on the key issues.  After these three initial sessions, I am usually able to recommend how to proceed – most commonly in conjoint (both partners together) sessions sometimes augmented by individual sessions as needed.  Sometimes individual work needs to take place before conjoint sessions can be successful.
What About Divorce Therapy?
Sometimes in marital therapy couples come to the conclusion that their marriage must end and the work naturally segues into Divorce Counseling.  Other times couples who have already made the decision to divorce will seek Divorce Counseling.  Ideally, if the couple has a child or children, they will work out ways to safeguard their welfare going forward.  It is scary enough for the “little people” in the family when parents divorce, but it can be exceedingly traumatic and detrimental if the Mastodons in their life step on them or use them as cannon fodder. Divorce counseling can also help each person understand and take responsibility for his/her part in the gone wrongness while minimizing blame (self or other), guilt, shame, and anger.  Couples often see this as part of their preparation for healthier relationships in the future.
Do You Provide Premarital Counseling?
Yes I do.  Increasingly couples are making working on their relationship an integral part of their wedding preparations.  I believe working with a marital clinician can helpfully augment counseling with one’s clergy person.  The marital clinician confronts in depth many of the causes of marital failures and successes on a daily basis.  This experience with many couples enables a careful tailoring of guidance to the uniqueness of each couple.
In your practice description you mention God, and from your resume I see you also have a seminary education. Does this mean we will talk about religion?
Not unless you bring it up. While I am an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church and my faith informs who I am and how I work, but it also teaches respect for the beliefs of others and not to intrude one’s own beliefs on others.  That being said, for some people the religious or spiritual dimension of life is very real and important and they may find it helpful to talk with someone who knows something of that territory.
Have You Ever Been in Therapy?
I have had intensive and extensive individual and group psychotherapy.  Indeed, I believe personal therapy is an absolute prerequisite for becoming and being a therapist. Not only does it help me understand what it’s like to sit where you sit, but more importantly it helps free and enable me to utilize myself on behalf of your emotional wellbeing.
What’s In This For You?
Of course I earn an income from doing psychotherapy.  Moreover, it simply is not possible to journey with a person into whatever depths or breadths they allow without being challenged to grow in self and other understanding.  For me, therefore, the work of psychotherapy is a blessing and a vocation.

© 2009 Roger W. Plantikow