My counseling philosophy is based on an existential-humanistic framework. My therapy is not solutions-focused; rather, my approach is different than standard therapies in that it is wholistic, considering the whole person and his or her unique life experiences. I seek to foster my clients’ self-discovery and greater personal fulfillment, not offer a “cure.”
Furthermore, I believe that the client is the agent of change, and the therapist is a facilitator of the client’s work; that the therapist facilitates the client’s growthful intent, rather than offering solutions; and that human awareness is an evolving process. Exploring this process is an essential aspect of the work with my clients, for it is through this process of becoming aware that new and fresh perspectives can be opened, giving power to realize significant life changes.
I offer therapy to adults, individual and group sessions, and workshops focusing on the following areas:
Dr. Swartout’s Philosophy Explained
Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and patient, and the particular problems you are experiencing. I may use many different methods, but generally my approach invites your close attention to your internal experience, to your perceptions of your world around you, and to the manner in which you pursue or limit making your way. I believe that therapy is a process of experiencing and understanding who you really are and creating a greater sense of personal alignment.
In our work, I may invite you to explore by talking about material or experimenting with behaviors. You always have the right to decline or agree to these invitations, and it is appropriate at any time to question what we are doing. However, it is important for you to understand that psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, in order for psychotherapy to be effective, it calls for a very active effort on your part. The more honest, truthful, and genuine you are about what you are believing, thinking, feeling, saying/doing, in your daily life outside of my office and with me in my office, the more likely it is that you will really understand yourself, I will really understand you, and will together help you heal. In the same way, I will be honest with you. In order for therapy to really work, our honesty and genuineness with each other is essential.
While I provide expertise regarding how to do meaningful therapy, you are the source of what is important to you and your level of satisfaction. Since therapy seeks to enhance your ability to care for yourself, I will support your being in charge of yourself. My deepest intention is that you find within yourself a deep and lasting sense of wholeness, worth, and esteem.
Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include. You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me. Most clients with whom I meet feel their problems are adequately resolved in 8-12 sessions, and they feel capable of working through the remaining aspects of their concerns without therapy. Some clients return when they have encountered a new aspect of their problem and they would like some help.
Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. If you have questions about my procedures, we should discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, I will be happy to help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, a better understanding of yourself, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.