Dr. Larry Gard      intelligent treatment for insightful people

Therapeutic Philosophy and Approach

Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements.  It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and patient, and on your situation.  Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit.  It calls for a very active effort on your part.  To be most successful you will have to work on the things we talk about both during and outside of our sessions.

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, 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, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.  But there are no guarantees of what you will experience.

I employ a combination of traditional psychotherapeutic approaches, and I view psychotherapy as analogous to working out at a health club.  It takes time to see results, and the "no pain - no gain" principle applies to therapy as it does to fitness.  My clients must be willing to be honest with themselves, and I assist them in the task of actively questioning and modifying their assumptions and beliefs about the world. 

It is important that we agree on mutual goals for your sessions.  Once that process is completed I will need to learn some about your past history so that I can better understand the influences that people and events have had in shaping your current circumstances. Then we will work together to examine and question the ways you are coping with your situation in hopes of finding more effective strategies.  I rarely give advice, but instead I try to help you reach decisions you feel comfortable with.

If you are receiving any psychotherapeutic services from another clinician at the present time, please inform me.  In most instances it is important for me to coordinate your treatment with the other clinician; in some cases it is inappropriate for us to begin until you have concluded your treatment with the other practitioner.

It is difficult to specify up front how many sessions you will need.  That is why we must periodically review your goals to see if they've been met or to see if they must be revised.  The decision to continue or stop treatment is, ideally, one that we will make together.  The insurance industry typically promotes "brief" treatment, whereas my philosophy is to strive for "efficient" treatment.
I encourage you to discuss with me any questions or concerns you have about our work together.  

Dr. Gard's top 10 lessons learned from my clients:

1.  People will treat you the way you let them treat you.

2.  Growth is seldom linear and it is rarely comfortable.

3.  The right decision doesn't always feel good.

4.  You can be considerate of others without taking responsibility for their feelings.

5.  Just because you rely on someone doesn't mean that you are dependent upon them.

6.  It's important to pay attention to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Many of us tend to ignore one   
     of these categories.

7.  You will be less apt to second-guess yourself if you learn to recognize, honor, and respect your 

8.  It is hard to feel confident if you're not being genuine.  Being true to yourself is the best way to 
     boost your confidence.

9.  You cannot overcome your fears if you don't confront them.

10. We are bombarded by messages dictating how we should look, dress, eat, think, and spend.  
      Ask yourself, "are these messages really in my best interest?"