JOHN MAHONEY

Counseling, coaching and consulting

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How can therapy/counseling help me?

 

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

 

• Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values

• Developing skills for improving your relationships

• Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

• Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

• Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures

• Improving communications and listening skills

• Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones

• Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage

• Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

 

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

 

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

 

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

 

 

What is therapy like?

 

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

 

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

 

 

What about medication vs. psychotherapy?

 

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.

 

 

Do you take insurance, and how does that work?

 

No, to assure the upmost client counselor confidentiality I do not work with insurance carriers. Additionally my rates are affordable and eliminate both of us negotiating the maze of managed care and electronic health records.

 

 

 

 

 

Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?

 

 

Confidentiality & Privacy Policy

The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.

Exceptions include:

• Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.

• If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.

• If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

 

However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:

 

* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.

* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.

 

Do I sit on a couch in an office, like in the movies?  What is the therapy session like?

 

No our initial meeting is free of charge and last about 30 minutes in order for you to prepare any questions/concerns for me. We meet to see if there is a fit, and decide if we are going to work together. Most importantly you need to see if you think I can be of help you. I prefer to meet where we can walk and talk outdoors.

As Amelia Island is a beautiful place with many state parks, beautiful beaches nature is everywhere. Clinch, The beach, parks, Greenway… It is my belief and experience that any idea or insight worth its salt has been arrived at while in nature and in motion. All during my time working as a therapist I’ve have used the outdoors/nature as part of the program/process. This is nothing new, it has been done for many years. As most of my experience as a therapist was outdoors this is natural to me. However, I did try the standard/traditional agency mental health in a concrete box, no windows… It did not work for me, nor most clients. Most depressed adult clients, and hyper and angry adolescents loved walking and talking in the woods, beach…This is an efficacious and research based idea, with a plethora of research to substantiate its efficacy.

See:

http://ct.counseling.org/2009/10/a-natural-resource/

http://www.goodtherapy.org/ecotherapy-nature-therapy.html

ww.ecopsych.com

 

If you picture going to a therapy session, you might see yourself in a chair, in an office decorated with tacky floral paintings, with a therapist (in his/her chair) taking notes under the fluorescent light. If you’re lucky, the window looks out toward a few trees, and not just a parking lot.

If this image doesn’t seem inspiring, take heart— a movement in therapy and counseling is moving the sessions outside for a breath of fresh air.

The continued study of the human relationship to the natural world—is giving us a better understanding of how mental well-being is linked to our natural environment. Anyone you query will answer in the affirmative to the question “How did you feel after that walk on the beach, woods, park…? Oh I felt much better.

Just this past summer I developed, and implemented a local county program for struggling adolescent boys. We spent most of our time outdoors, kayaking, biking, hiking, and building boats. All of the working together, getting along, having a goal and working toward it, was therapeutic and fun. All reported changes in themselves, ideas, values and goals. So see for yourself, if it works. I am sure it will. Most people would be off, or at least significantly reduce their intake of anti-depression medication with a bit of movement in nature.

 

 

An interesting article from one of my favorites

Things you need to know about psychotherapy from Dr. Gordon Livingston

 

Posted Jul 13, 2014

 

 

 

I’m sometimes asked by patients, “Why should one person pay another for conversation?” I tell people “That’s a good question.” Then I try to change the subject because I realize that the only answers I can come up with are, “Because that’s the way this business works.” Or “Do I come to your office and ask whether what you’re doing is useful?” Sometimes I’m forced to make up answers like, “Scientific studies have shown that unhappy people become less unhappy if they tell a socially designated healer their most embarrassing secrets.” I’m not sure this is true, but very few patients are in a position to contradict it.

Sometimes I fall back on a question of my own: “Don’t you think we ought to discuss your resistance to therapy?” This approach usually works even if I have to explain the concept of “resistance” that makes it sound like part of the larger psychological problem that caused the patient to make this appointment in the first place. Erickson described this technique as “putting the patient in his or her place.”

Another question I hate is, “How long do you think this therapy is going to take?” How would I know? So I say, “Probably quite a while if you’re going to be asking the questions, which I thought you understood was my job.” At this point I usually glance at my watch and am amazed that we have only been talking for 10 minutes when it feels like it’s been at least half an hour.

Questions about such things as credentials, experience, and “therapeutic orientation” are similar time-wasters. Some patients wonder why I have no diplomas from prestigious institutions on my office walls. I tell them I don’t want to brag about my background, but there are always a few who wonder if I’ve had any training at all. Some even notice that they are sitting on a chair that is a little lower than the one I occupy and are full of “interpretations” about what I might be thinking about our relative importance.

If people are having trouble with members of their family, they sometimes ask intrusive questions about my own family situation, as if my not being married or having kids disqualifies me from giving them advice on these subjects. Have they never heard of priests? Male obstetricians? Everybody can’t have done everything, for God’s sake.

Speaking of God, some patients want me to describe my religious beliefs and are not satisfied with my standard “spiritual but not religious” self-description. Really, is the fact that I decline to live my life guided by the rules in some ancient text relevant here?

Some patients think that I’m going to give them a prescription that will relieve all their symptoms. I’m actually a big fan of medication. Unfortunately, I’m unable to prescribe most of the drugs that I have found useful in my personal pursuit of happiness and most people seem squeamish about traveling to east Baltimore to purchase them on their own. The medicines that I am allowed to prescribe don’t work nearly as well or as rapidly as those available on any street corner in any large city. AND the legal stuff comes with unfortunate side effects such as impotence or erections that last for hours. (Take your choice.)

After years of watching Oprah, Dr. Phil, and their ilk hold forth on how to live the perfect life, it’s not surprising that lots of people show up with distorted ideas about what psychotherapy is really like. Even when I give them rock-solid advice based on years of experience, patients tend to argue and question nearly everything I say in a way that they wouldn’t dare do on national TV.

Finally, people expect you to “listen.” This is OK in the rare event that their stories are interesting, but at the first sign that your attention may be wandering, like when you momentarily fall asleep, everyone gets upset and starts questioning your interest in them or the usefulness of another appointment. I usually ask, “Am I the only person in your life who finds you boring?”

(Step back from the ledge program  page/link from  home page)

What is this? Intensive retreat for introspection and focused inner work to assist you to move from problem to possibilities. To get unstuck and carry on, and get back in the saddle.

 

Step back from the ledge.

 

Is a unique program offering specialized therapy and counseling in a pristine, beautiful environment, located in the outskirts of Amelia Island, Florida, and neighboring Cumberland Island National Seashore. Whether you need a short session, or an extended retreat, we’re here for you.

 

What we’re about

At one time or another most of us experience a decent into hell- a depression, a loss, a divorce, a crime… We cannot solve the dark night, it is a period of suffering, pain,  purifying intention,a journey none of us wants to take. Nonetheless, it is a necessary journey in order to carry on.

Whether you’re suffering from regular bouts of anxiety and depression, or you want to fortify and rebuild strained marital and familial relationships, step back is a break from your regular familiar environment and into the arena with the problem itself. We spend our time in nature: hiking, sailing, kayaking, paddling, cycling, on Amelia Island, and nearby Cumberland Island National Seashore.

 

By removing ourselves from the familiar we can go into nature with the intention to do some intensive inner work. We block out forty 40 hours in a weeks’ time to move from problem to possibility. In other words we extrapolate some wisdom from the wreckage, and learn to live with our wounding while walking our limp with a little panache.  When the storms of life surround and threaten you, and fight or flight give takes over. This is an opportunity to step out of the familiar and dedicate some intensive time to do the necessary inner work in order to carry on.

I remember during my divorce wanting to get as far away as possible from things. I did, only having to confront the issues/problem upon my return home, none the wiser, no more informed or decisive than when I left. It was during this time I said to myself I need to go away for some intensive inner work, one on one with a counselor for a defined period of time and make a decision. So it is with this in mind I offer a one on one, 1/1 one (1)  week, usually a day for travel and 6 days of personal work to assist your in getting back in the saddle and moving forward in life once again.

With a specialty in experiential retreats and the restoration of true self, I provide intensive one on one, forty (40) hours of therapy in a weeks’ time to assist you to step back from the ledge and restore and revive your health.

 

As this involves a good bit of logistics and I usually only carry a small select client load of 6 six client’s per week who I see hourly.

I schedule this program to meet your needs and budget. You can stay on the Island in a five star hotel, like Plantation Resort, or a fifty to sixty dollar a night clean hotel, a bed and breakfast, or camp in beautiful fort Clinch State Park $16 per night. I’ll discuss all this, and other logistics with you after our initial phone, skype, or FaceTime meeting. The cost of this program is fifteen hundred dollars $1500 for the week of therapy and outdoor experiences. Your accommodations, food, and transportation are your arrangements; which I will gladly assist you with. The meals exception being our first and last meals which are on me. If this sounds like it could be of use to you. Call me to set up a time for further evaluation/discussion. Thanks and hang in there!

 

That sweet night: a secret,

Nobody saw me;

I did not see a thing.

No other light, no other guide

Than the one burning in my heart.

John of the Cross (transl. Mirabai Starr)

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcR36KRAn60

 

Amelia Island Aerial Tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUedOvXjG4s

neighboring Cumberland Island

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt3pHworNYk