What’s the number one predictor of whether therapy will work for you?
Start with someone who gets you.
The research results are very clear: The strength of the counselor-client relationship is more important than the type of therapy or techniques you use.
About Dr. Jan Anderson
If you’ve had a perfectly privileged life where everything fell into place for you, you’re probably not reading this.
If you’ve figured out how to look good on the outside and you’re convinced that’s as good as it gets, counseling is probably not for you.
If you want to feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside, let’s talk.
I’m a counselor with a coaching edge. I’ve never worked in a social services agency. I come from the corporate business world.
I got there by mistake. I couldn’t find a job when I graduated into a recession with a degree in clinical psychology, so I ended up in the business world. Thank goodness.
That real-world experience helped me get grounded, develop some practical business skills, and get hooked on producing results. Oddly enough, my business world training even helped me develop some much-needed people skills, much more than my psychology degree did.
I also went to my first yoga class (before yoga was a thing) and realized This is the first time I ever recall feeling relaxed. Maybe I should come back. So I did. I didn’t talk about it much at work, because no one wanted to hear (yet) about something weird like yoga.
I didn’t do what I was supposed to do to succeed in a highly competitive corporate environment. Instead of working on an MBA, I started a graduate program in counseling psychology. The university had never had a corporate person like me in their program, so when it was time to do an internship, I didn’t fit in any of the internships at the local social services agencies. Thank goodness.
I did my internship at an executive outplacement firm, where I worked with executives and professionals making a career transition (most of them involuntarily). I helped them to dust themselves off and learn how to network, prepare a resume, and handle behavioral interviews.
The same month I finished the internship and graduated, there was a stock market crash and my job was eliminated. I had to immediately apply my career counseling skills to my own job search. Thank goodness.
I got a better-paying job working with great clients and traveling to cool places all over the country. I developed a new product and got a special bonus from the board of directors. I had a baby and got a promotion. I started a love-hate, off-and-on relationship with meditation.
You know what’s coming. Yes, another economic downturn. When the big company I worked for began downsizing, I was told my travel would be increasing to seventy percent and cover the entire United States. Try explaining this to your five-year-old.
So I jumped off a cliff. Instead of taking the assignment, I took a severance package and started LifeWise Inc.
Fortunately, I had no idea what I was getting into — personally and professionally— to start from scratch a private counseling practice that didn’t accept insurance. On top of that, I was using mindful-based practices when the word mindfulness didn’t yet exist.
In my spare time (I had a lot at first) I did volunteer grief counseling for a progressive local hospice. They asked me to incorporate my body-centered, mindfulness-based practices into some of their Living Through Grief groups and we ended up winning a national hospice award for the program.
I made the mistake of moving into office space before my landlords did everything they promised. I moved out, my landlords sued me (unsuccessfully, whew!) and one of the biggest corporations in town told me “We’ll never refer anyone to you because you have your practice in your home.”
That blow triggered a massive shame spiral in me that I didn’t appear “legit.”
Until I realized I actually had the perfect setting for my clients: There was no sign out front, no waiting room and I didn’t book clients back-to-back — a private, discreet setting, in a nice home in a nice neighborhood that was easily accessible from anywhere in town. What’s not to like? So I flipped the shame attack into a snappy new marketing strategy and used the commute time I saved to book more clients (from the very company that “disowned” me).
Hoping to create name recognition and referrals from the medical community, I started writing a mental wellness column for MD-Update magazine. To my surprise, I found my practice morphing into over fifty percent medical professionals, many of them couples.
I’ll save the rest for later, but you get the idea.
Let’s just say that by the time I started working on a doctoral thesis, it seemed only natural to focus on resilience. I researched five evidence-based ways that people like you and me can learn to get a grip, get back up, and go on when you get seriously knocked on your butt or your heart gets stomped on.
Enough about me. Let’s focus on you.