My Approach

Therapy, counseling, coaching? Regardless of what you call it, counselors and therapists are in the business of helping people improve their lives. That’s our purpose and mission. However, every practitioner is different, so here is a little bit about me and how I work.

Firstly, my approach has been shaped by my educational and professional experience. I received my B.A. in Psychology in 2010 and my M.A. in Counseling and Guidance (with an emphasis in couples and family therapy) in 2014— both from UMKC. I have experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in various settings, such as the public school system, state social services (KS and MO), higher education, college athletics, and private practice.

Secondly, if you decide to work with me, I want you to know I am listening with an open mind, and I am thinking diligently about helping you find solutions to your problems. It is also worth noting that I use an integrative theoretical framework, which includes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Existential Therapy, and Family Systems Theory.

Lastly, I can help you explore difficult truths by being direct and honest, but at the same time, we should identify your strengths too and, more importantly, put them to good use. The goal is always balance, embrace the positive while addressing the negative. This appears to be the healthy way.

General Concerns and Counseling Strategies

  • Depression- What’s on your mind? I want to fully understand this first, then let’s take a look at behavior. Because as much as we feel depressing feelings and think depressing thoughts, our behaviors can play a crucial role in perpetuating depressive cycles. This is why we will take a multi-faceted approach that addresses emotional processing and expression, belief systems, and behavioral change.
  • Anxiety- One’s relationship with uncertainty, worry, and discomfort come into play here. This is the mental component, but anxiety is not just in the mind. It is a dis-ease of the body as well, which means that routine movement, exercise, and meditation can be helpful additions to your anxiety reduction program.
  • Marital Conflict- My instinct is to try to keep families together and work things out. If we can get back to the basics– listening, respectful communication, and compromise– great things will happen. There will be less anger and resentment, and joy can be restored.
  • Career Concerns- Figuring out how you want to spend at least 40 hours a week is a big deal. This is time of your life you can never get back, so it’s important to get it right. I like to think of careers from a fulfillment perspective that consists of four parts: interests, skills, life style, and people. That’s where the conversation begins.
  • Grief and Loss- Losing a loved one can force you into moment-by-moment living, so it is wise to slow down and take things one step at a time. Being patient with the ebb and flow of emotion and cultivating compassion towards yourself are essential. It’s much easier said than done, but I’ll help you learn to trust your natural healing process.
  • Loneliness- 1 in 4 Americans report having 0 close relationships, yet we are supposed to be more connected than ever with the internet and social media. This is the mental health issue of our time. Some of us have lost track of how to talk to each other, so let’s learn how. Communication is relationship.
  • Trauma- Let’s move at a speed you are comfortable with. This is often a situation where I use lower levels of guidance, but I am constantly mindful of keeping our explorations in the window of productivity. Where ever you are in the healing process is okay, and when you’re ready, you can begin moving towards empowerment.
  • Sports and Performance- Does your effort match your goals? Do you struggle with mental toughness? What is holding you back– performance anxiety, fear of failure, fading commitment? These are the types of questions that will propel us forward.

Conclusion

If you have made it this far, thanks for taking a thorough look at my counseling approach. I want to make one last point, though. If you choose me as your counselor, come prepared for a journey. Of course, working on your life is serious business, but it is also deeply interesting and rewarding. It’d be an honor to be a part of the process.

-Scott Thode

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