I utilize an approach to couples' therapy that incorporates the massive research and practice of Drs. John and Julie Gottman (www.gottman.com) and the most recent methods and developments of Emotionally-Focused Couples' Therapy which touts the most researched effectiveness in outcomes for marital therapy (http://www.iceeft.com/).
My therapy with couples typically involves ongoing satisfaction assessments. I target the couple's previous successes in their relationship, fondness and admiration of one another (or lack thereof), and their ability to create shared meaning. I confront what Dr. Gottman refers to as "The Four Horseman of the Apocolypse" in relationships: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt, and help to provide their antidotes. I see the relationship as my client (i.e., I don't "take sides").
I have taught the core course "Marital Therapy" in the Graduate Department of Health and Human Services at St. Mary's University in San Antonio since 2003.
As a collaborator with you in confronting unhealthy fears, attitudes, behaviors, and relationships, we will also delve deliberately into identifying and highlighting your strengths, resources (both outer and inner), past achievements great and small that we can borrow to help you make positive change now, and your untapped potential.
Outcome studies of psychotherapy (Duncan, Miller & Sparks, 2004) have shown that this practice has been extraordinarily effective as 80% of those who have participated in psychotherapy have achieved resolution of the issues that brought them into the counseling office by the time their sessions are completed. Not bad.
I borrow from and integrate a variety of approaches and interventions in working with clients based on each client's unique needs. Such approaches include emotionally-focused therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and supportive therapy. However, my overall approach to therapy is primarily collaborative, narrative, and solution-focused.
From my internet course on Solution Focused Therapy at www.mycounselingceus.com:
"Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) was born of the realization that by focusing exclusively on 'the problem' or problem talk, clients and therapists miss a great deal of opportunity to affect positive change. In fact, therapists often end up getting just as stuck as their clients have been. SFT is optimistic, focuses on clients’ strengths and successes, and is oriented toward the future. It allows clients to be the heroes of therapy and their lives, a position we believe they deserve to hold, without adopting a Pollyanna view of the world and it’s inevitable tribulations."
Solution-Focused Therapy has been utilized effectively for almost every issue a client may bring to therapy, including my areas of specialty:
- Anxiety Disorders (including panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders)
- Mood Disorders (including major depression and bipolar depression)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Adjustment Disorders (difficulty adjusting to life-changing events, with resulting anxiety, depression, behavior changes - or any combination of the three)
I became a Marriage and Family Therapist because I believe that very often it is only in working the family as a whole that genuine and long term positive change will happen for each family member individually and the relationships between all family members in general. Family members can be one another's greatest sources of stress, but can also become their greatest sources of support. I like to help family members become good therapists for one another.
All relevant family members may not be able to attend sessions. Sometimes they are resistant, estranged, or even deceased. But even in these cases, great improvements can be gained.
I tend to utilize a great deal of humor in my work, but also recognize where it can be a defense mechanism that represses concerns that need to be brought to the surface. I handle this with great sensitivity and compassion.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor, I have trained many new therapists over the years to be successful in their MFT counseling. I am often the one to literally "sign off" on their ability to continue with their work with couples and families and become fully licensed.
I have been invited to provide presentations for professional associations, businesses, congregations, schools, clergy, psychiatric hospitals, camps, universities, and hospital staff.
The following are topics that I have conducted, in some cases several times, that can be converted into workshops, seminars and retreats. Other topics are certainly possible. Prices are negotiable, but travel expenses/lodging must be included. Solid information and laughter are guaranteed (and sometimes a magic trick or two!). Presentations can be for professionals, laypersons, or both. Previously presented topics include:
Dealing with Infidelity
Relationships and Neurology
Parenting (Childhood and/or Adolescent)
Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling
Dealing with the Aftermath of Suicide
What’s So Funny about Depression?
What’s So Funny about Anxiety?
What’s So Funny about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
A brief message called "Reconciled" that Dr. Wilkens gave at Texas Lutheran University can be found on YouTube at:
Again, other topics are available by request. Call 210-286-0053 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.