Directive therapy is an approach where the therapist leads the therapeutic process by suggesting interventions and offering guidance based on expertise. Non-directive therapy, on the other hand, involves the therapist supporting the client by accepting them as they are and encouraging them to develop their own inner authority. I’m both directive and non-directive.
Part of my job involves joining your world. I need to connect with you, feel into what you’re feeling, and learn a bit of who you are. I have to hold my agenda loosely, and be open to watching what unfolds in the moment.
At the same time, a completely non-directive approach can lead to feeling lost. Exploring a habitual pattern is useful in that, by watching your process, you naturally become less identified with it. While this is valuable, a pitfall is that you might loop around that all-to-familiar neural pathway, only now with a painfully raised level of self-awareness.
Patterns that don’t serve you need to be directly challenged. I want my clients to have new experiences in my office. I want the office to be a place for you to explore parts of yourself you may have disavowed and experiment with styles of relating that otherwise feel beyond your reach.
A new vantage point is possible only when you travel along a new path. The way that new path is discovered is by giving deep attention to your process. We all want to develop, and so we unconsciously send out signals that represent our innate gravitation towards self-actualization. Our affect, tone, body language, and words are like breadcrumbs we toss out about the journey we are on. They are invitations to be understood, to be seen, and to be known.
When we are confused or overwhelmed, we toss out multiple clues at once. Our emotions swirl and our defenses muddle the message, which leads to further distress.
My job is to track you, and hold witness to myself at the same time. That way I can read the messages, and heighten the one that, in that moment, feels novel and charged. In essence, I lead by following.