Blog

Therapeutic Style: Beyond Reflection

After sessions, I take time to reflect on the work of my clients as well as how I have approached it. I will often schedule a consultation with a colleague to very generally share how therapy has been going and how I feel about the week of sessions.

One thing that I’ve been reminded of recently is the importance of not only holding space for the client but being affirmative and sharing reflections that connect with the client’s experiences.

In my training, both prior to being licensed and now, I have studied multiple modalities. These modalities are often blended together when they make sense organically for the specific client I am working with in the moment.

I recently came across an article that was discussing how therapists are often trained in reflections but not necessarily reflections that are deep or connect with the client. In my work, I do include empathy and connection and have cultivated my own style of therapy (which also includes humor!).

But for anyone who is interested, I’m including the link to the article as I was fascinated to think about how my style has evolved from when I first was training. There’s the basic reflection style and then deeper ways of approaching an issue, and when I first started out, I definitely was more formulaic in a  way. Thankfully, my LGBTQIA+ Affirmative training quickly allowed me to grow to include important self-disclosure as a cis gay male and also incorporate discussions of the LGBTQIA+ community in therapy when warranted. I also enjoy incorporating my humor naturally in sessions.

Here’s the article that piqued my interest most recently:

https://ct.counseling.org/2017/02/creative-novel-approaches-empathy/

Stop AAPI Hate

As a white male therapist, I could very easily just gloss over the recent hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, but the reality is that being silent is complicit racism.

Microaggressions, macroaggressions, and violence against AAPI have sadly been occurring non-stop before the pandemic. It is a part of our history in the U.S.A.

Please check out: https://stopaapihate.org/

I commit to doing my work to learn more about how Asian Americans from different cultures have been affected. The work is lifelong for all Caucasians and people who are not AAPI.

We must not diminish or assume that AAPI friends, colleagues, family members, and clients are doing well or will do well after a certain period of time. The events in Atlanta were awful and were hate crimes.

But there is a long history of oppression, hatred, and assumptions that needs to stop and be addressed.

I stand with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to Stop AAPI Hate.

Sincerely,

Patrick Tully

Lyra Health EAP

Your company likely has an employee assistance program, also referred to as an EAP. I work with a wonderful employee assistance program: Lyra Health.

You can find out if your company participates by contacting your HR department and asking.

Tech-based companies make up the majority of Lyra Health clients.

https://www.lyrahealth.com

I really appreciate how easy these companies have made it to seek out therapy for anyone. Oftentimes, you’ll also be able to participate if your significant other is an employee at a company that participates with this EAP or another EAP.

Confidentiality is taken just as seriously. There is no communication between the employer and the therapist (such as me).

If you are an employer and want to offer covered sessions, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide options. If you’re an employee and curious about the process, you can also ask.

Election Stress

With many races and elections occurring right now, I want you to know that you are supported in my therapy space. Political stress is something to take seriously. The results after an election, or the waiting for final results, leads us to feel strain in our bodies as well as our minds. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused tremendous strain.

Difficulty focusing, as well as increase in symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression, are to be expected. And likely until we have more certainty with COVID-19, in the form of treatments and a vaccine as well as containment, we will likely experience at least one of these symptoms in addition to others.

I’ve written a bit on self-care and I want to expand on that a bit: it’s crucial to find what works for you. We can work together to figure that out as well.

-Epsom salt baths can be a wonderful way to ease tension.
-Using a favorite meditation app can create calm.
-Free apps, available for both Android and iOS / Apple, that I’ve recommended include, but are not limited to:

Headspace (Premium is free until the end of the year for LA County residents): Find more information here: https://www.headspace.com/lacounty

UCLA Mindful (Body Scans, breathing, etc. are offered)

Insight Timer (meditation, sleep, music)

It’s not uncommon to need to try multiple meditations to find your favorites. You may also decide to alternate.

HEALTH JOURNEYS, founded by Belleruth Naparstek, is a wonderful resource where you can find many meditations including guided imagery. Guided imagery guides your mind to focus and is a wonderful resource for those times we feel unable to focus.

If you have Apple Music, you can listen to many Health Journeys meditations as part of your subscription. But you can also listen to many for free through a webpage on Kaiser, without needing Kaiser insurance:

https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/podcasts

I always recommend people try out the audios Belleruth Naparstek created first. You’ll find some of them in the above link and on Apple Music. You can also listen to samples on the Health Journeys website if there’s a specific imagery that you resonate with.

Click here to access the HealthJourneys website

Self Care

Practicing self-care in the way that works for you is essential, especially in challenging times such as now. Self-care can refer to simply being more aware in the present moment, and practicing things in a more mindful way. But it can be useful to include specific products and regimens in your self-care toolbox.

I am linking to products using my Amazon Affiliate link. Please know that these products are truly ones that I am familiar with, but I would earn a commission should you decide to use my link. If you wish to purchase elsewhere, please be my guest.

For years, Belleruth Naparstek, the founder of Health Journeys, has been a favorite of mine for guided imagery (guides you in visualizations). A great set can be found here:

Having something on hand when you need it is important. So, while I am a fan of some subscription services, I like the knowledge that my favorite guided imagery will be available when I need it.

I think pre-printed mindfulness cards can be a fun way to remind yourself to practice this skill. Having resources such as the following cards is one way to really become more empowered:

So, I just mentioned a couple of items. There are of course plenty more and do let me know if you’re interested in more ideas! Sometimes the simpler the better.

Until next time,

Patrick