My Approach: "Client vs. Patient"

I use the word "client", not "patient." The word “patient” can imply a medical model in which the doctor works on and heals the patient, and the patient more passively receives the treatment. Psychotherapy is different, in that it involves your active participation. You hire me, and we work together collaboratively. Yes, I will guide us through the process, structure the therapy, and provide information as to what tools and interventions might be most helpful for you. But we will do this work together: we both work hard, and we both take responsibility.

The medical patient terminology can also imply that you are sick, and can create a (to our minds) false dichotomy between sick and well, those who need help versus those who do not. I prefer to think of all of us as moving back and forth along a continuum, or a number of continua: sometimes feeling better, sometimes worse, phases of feeling healthy or focused or connected or energized versus feeling less so or worse. There are certain critical thresholds, of course, which can define more serious circumstances, and which require a greater level of intervention. But as human beings, by definition we all have weaknesses and strengths, and we can all benefit from help at times.