Shannon Spellman, M.S.W., former clinician at Veritas Counseling Center, LLC, believes that symptoms are often developed as coping tools and solutions to events and emotions that clients lack skills in dealing with. This is especially true for survivors of trauma including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as other types of trauma involving loss and grief.
Symptoms (physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral) are also often metaphors for problems being experienced on another level within the individual, couple, or the family system. Eventually these symptoms become the problem rather than the solution and clients often seek therapy for symptom relief. At Veritas Counseling Center, in addition to teaching new coping skills that serve to reduce symptoms, whenever appropriate, clients were also helped to resolve the underlying issues that resulted in symptom development.
The former therapist utilized an integrative strength-based approach that allowed for thorough clinical assessment, combined with individualized treatment planning. Depending on the presenting issues, treatment was either brief, solution oriented focused sessions, or a longer-term therapy process. The course of therapy, while recommended by the therapist based on clinical assessment, was ultimately always chosen by the client, due to the therapist's respect for individualized needs and resources.
Therapy, while painful at times, should be a safe and overall rewarding experience for clients. The goals of the therapeutic process should result in increased skills and self-sufficiency for the client rather than dependency upon the therapist. Shannon believes that given the right tools and resources, clients have the ability to heal themselves, and the therapist’s role is to facilitate that process by providing the tools and helping client’s to recognize and utilize the strengths and resources they already possess.
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