For me, taking an existential lens allows me to both embrace the idea that either through their own choices, their family of origin's mistakes, or the actions of another, people get broken. The world is honestly broken. So for me, the beauty begins with us embracing the brokenness, the pain, the shame, the frustration and anger. Then we slowly learn how to embrace our own humanity and reach for something better.
In individual therapy, the client takes the lead. While I do have all kinds of training, YOU are the expert on your own life and you deserve to life a life without shame. Think of it like cleaning out a garage: it's going to get worse before it gets better. We all have the dark corner of the garage: the boxes and things that haven't been touched in years, the places we're sure are horrifying that we avoid them at all costs. Counseling gets you through those boxes. Sometimes it is absolutely scary: we all remember the day when we found out the BoogeyMan was more real that we thought.... but honestly... usually it's not as bad as what we make it out to be.
In couples counseling, I use techniques from both Gottman and Emotion Focused Couples Therapy. Gottman focuses on how our thoughts can get away from us sometimes, and EFT allows us to connect and attach in safe ways. They work beautifully together, and allow for both our heads and our hearts to feel at home in whatever shape our couplehood takes.
For families, I do use a lot of EFT and Gottman, but I also use quite a bit of Structural Family Therapy and Human Validation modeling. Using techniques like this in tandem, along with heaps and heaps of empathy and humor, provides a safe space where EVERY member of the household is seen, loved, and respected.