Who are My Clients?
My S.M.A.R.T. * high-achieving women and men are successful, intelligent and creative. They often work long hours, excelling at their career. Performance is important to them. They often experience physical pain or disease. Insomnia leaves them fatigued, and prone to being emotionally triggered by their loved ones. Tempers flare, or they distance from a loved one to avoid conflict. That behavior damages relationships. They don’t want that to happen, but it is common.
* S.M.A.R.T. = Spiritual, Mature, Authentic, Responsible, Trustworthy
My clients have a hard time turning off their thoughts. They have busy minds. Some drink alcohol to relax. They wake up tired, but they are so dedicated to work, they push through, telling themselves they function better under stress. But inside, they know it is taking a toll. Self-care is on their radar, but difficult to apply consistently.
As clients work with me over time, they become aware of how their family of origin affects their current life.
Often, their parents applauded their drive toward excellence. They became winners. Along with wonderful encouragement, however, one or both parents may have been emotionally or physically distant. Or worse, they were critical … or emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusive. As a consequence, my high-achieving clients feel a kind of emptiness inside, but on-lookers would never know it. My clients look confident, poised and secure. But there’s an ache deep down, a kind of loneliness. It makes relationships challenging.
This hint of inadequacy, and the opinion that they should not feel insecure, keeps my clients driven to perform. That generates success, but this often results in burn-out, damaged relationships and hurting bodies. Memory sometimes suffers.
Sooner or later, there is a crisis.
Stress, anxiety or depression increase. If there’s a job change, fears of financial insecurity may hover. Headaches, fatigue, backaches, high blood pressure, heart conditions, weight, diabetes, and digestive disorders take their toll. Anxiety attacks mock symptoms of a heart attack. Someone falls out of love, or has an affair, or threatens divorce, or actually leaves.
How I Counsel Adults
From my holistic mind-body-spirit approach, I see these things as symptoms of a bigger picture.
The body reveals the pain of a broken heart and a wounded spirit. Often the pattern started in childhood. Perhaps there was emotional distance with a parent, or trauma, or physical or sexual abuse. Or, there was a family lifestyle of stress, worry, and depression. Some of my clients are adult children of an alcoholic. When entering therapy, my clients may or may not be aware of the impact of their family of origin patterns.
I do not treat just the symptoms because I do not want short-term fixes for my clients.
I want long-term results. I look for the root cause and focus the healing there. I help my clients explore, excavate and express their Authentic Self. As they proceed along the journey toward the Authentic Self, they feel more secure, confident and competent.
Without the haunting need to be perfect, they no longer feel driven to succeed, covering up insecurity. A quiet inner peace emerges from the inside out. True strength and courage arise.
If you are in a committed relationship, you will experience the fastest, deepest progress when your partner attends counseling with you.
Emotional wounds were created in the context of relationship, and are best healed in relationship. Having said that, if you are not ready for couples counseling, or you are not in a relationship, we can do individual counseling. Our relationship can be the safe haven in which you heal.
As one client expressed: “I feel so much more secure. I feel safe. I am OK, warts and all. I no longer need to impress anyone, or convince them, or get them to agree with me. I am free to be me. I respect others and their life choices, even when I disagree. I can clearly see other people for who they are, so I know who is prone to try to take advantage of me. I can set appropriate boundaries so I do not let them hurt me. Because I have more ability to be discerning, I can also let down my guard, and trust people more. I can receive love better, and really let it in. I am finding more people who truly love me for who I am. I can give myself the rest I need. I can receive healthy forms of pleasure before I drive myself to exhaustion. I can balance my work and my personal life. I know how to cultivate inner peace. From this place, I know a new purity of love; not the false love that comes from projecting a mask of how I need people to see me. People can feel my genuineness, my authenticity. I like it, and so do they.”
My holistic eclectic approach leans more toward experiential therapy than cognitive therapy. While intellectual understanding is important to lay a foundation, when shifts occur on the emotional-physical-spiritual levels, the transformation is deeper, faster, and longer lasting.
I use these methods: Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) by Dr. Sue Johnson, Attachment Theory, Humanistic, Transpersonal, Motivational Interviewing, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Mindfulness, Breathwork, Guided Imagery, Positive Psychology, Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
I use faith-based Christian counseling when clients request it. I work with people of all faiths that are rooted in unconditional love.
Contact me, Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, to make an appointment, or for a 10-minute complementary interview to see if we are a good fit.