Psychotherapy with Dr. Hurd is, and always has been, solution-focused and goal-oriented. Solution-focused, cognitively oriented therapy is very similar to life coaching in this respect. In psychotherapy, however, time is spent discussing your childhood (when relevant), background, and/or emotional problems. Therapy may also address more serious issues, such as eating disorders, feelings of not wishing to live, various compulsions or other destructive behaviors.
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Psychotherapy that Works
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What's in it for you?
Answers to your questions in terms you can understand.
A therapist should talk to you, and have a dialogue with you. This point sounds like common sense, but many therapists appear to be highly passive and do not respond to their clients other than to nod “um-hmm” or occasionally to ask, “What do you think?” You ought to expect your therapist to engage in an active dialogue with you, even while maintaining professional detachment.
Help in finding solutions to current problems--here and now.
Bad therapy rests on the premise that your childhood experiences shaped you in ways that are largely beyond your control in adult life. Good therapy rests on the opposite premise: that you can and should rise above your past. Typically, therapists presume there is little you can do about your early experiences -- other than to identify them and insist that others in your life realize they have disabled and victimized you. A good therapist realizes that while you do not have control over your early childhood experiences, you do have control over how you think and act in the present. A therapist’s job is to help coach and direct you in the healthy direction: to reject and rise above mistaken, dysfunctional patterns of thinking and acting.
Alternatives to the victim approach of blaming everything on your family, "society" or your biological make-up.
In good therapy, the theoretical implications are clear. Emotional states are consequences of thought processes, and changes in thought processes can lead to changes in both emotional states and behaviors. Rational introspection, defined as reasoning with one’s feelings and emotions, represents the means for changing your emotional state. Psychiatrists and therapists who suggest you are totally determined by other forces -- social, familial, biological -- are simply wrong. As proof of this fact, look at the psychological state of the world despite the unprecedented number of therapists, psychiatrists and self-help gurus out there. If you’re going to pursue therapy, you will need a different approach from what the mainstream is presently offering.
Useful ideas about stress and time management.
In personal consultation or therapy, you can learn: How to reinforce rational ideas in place of irrational ones whenever possible (e.g. to reinforce the idea, “I am my own keeper” to replace the idea, “I am everyone else’s keeper.”) … You can learn the technique of psychological entrepreneurism … You can discover the virtue and healthiness of going with your own independent, reasoned judgment throughout life … Develop a time budget … Learn how to “reprogram” your mind where necessary … See how to integrate acceptance of reality into everyday life, without losing the need for idealism and romance … and to live a rationally self-interested life, rather than a mindless or self-sacrificing one.
Assistance overcoming the twin problems of emotional repression and emotional over-indulgence.
Both rational and irrational individuals feel. The distinctive feature of a psychologically healthy person is his/her habitual use of introspection to examine the truth or falsehood of automatized thoughts/feelings. This is something most of us are not taught -- and, in fact, many of us have learned just the opposite.
Practical suggestions for solving family or relationship conflicts.
Everyone talks about communication, but few people practice it. Either we say nothing about an emotional or difficult topic, or we explode or overreact to it. In the great majority of cases, there is a third alternative: rational assertiveness. Good therapy can teach and reinforce healthy principles of communication which will, in turn, improve your relationships. People can be very different, but the great majority respond well to dignified, respectful communication. Usually they want the same things you want: kindness and sensitivity integrated with honesty and objectivity.
Help dealing with difficult people.
Generally, the key to dealing with difficult people is to be firm -- like an unmovable boulder, but without becoming defensive or hostile (as these show weakness). Therapy and consultation can help you rehearse for handing difficult individuals and, at the same time, learn to accept that you will never change who they are. A good therapist will also remind you that you have choices. In many cases, you need not interact with difficult individuals at all. In most if not all other cases, you can drastically minimize your contact with them. In cases where you have no choice, therapy can help you learn not to give such people psychological power.
Relevant articles and handouts provided as part of the therapy process
Dr. Hurd has published a wealth of articles, books and essays designed to motivate and teach you. His first book, “Effective Therapy” inoculates you against the irrational influences of most therapy, while providing you with a sound alternative in terms you can understand and apply to daily life. His second book, “Grow Up America!” helps you move past the excuses of today’s culture -- excuses perpetuated by people (therapists, lawyers, politicians) who want you to remain dependent upon them in some form -- and towards independence and the rational pursuit of happiness.
A therapist who is on your side, but will not lie to you.
A good therapist is on your side, but will never compromise objectivity or honesty. Your relationship with the therapist is confined to the office, the telephone, or online. No therapist can replace a loved one in your personal life. But a therapist can act as an objective voice of reason in your life, to make sure you consider all the relevant options before taking important actions. Probably everyone needs a good therapist at some point in his or her life. Move past the stereotypes about therapy and counseling. It’s not about curing “mental illness” or labeling yourself “crazy” or making excuses like “attention deficit disorder.” Rather, it’s about improving your life and doing what’s objectively right for yourself.
The ultimate goal of good therapy is to help people independently use their minds in the pursuit of psychological achievement and fulfillment.
Stress and time management
Set boundaries and limits with others … Be more realistic in your goal- setting … Schedule time for your commitments, the same way you do for appointments with others … Always leave room for mental refueling … Control your environment better … Learn these techniques and more.
Drugs/Alcohol, Eating Disorders
Change your thinking before trying to change self-defeating behaviors … Learn how stopping undesirable behaviors is much less complicated than the psychiatric business leads you to believe … Learn to accept that you do have free will and, like it or not, you are doing these self-destructive things, but that you can stop … See how to look for what psychology calls secondary gain -- that is, what you subjectively get out of doing these things even though on the surface they seem irrational.
Getting past the idea of what’s normal, which simply means what most people are doing (something we don’t even know since people are rarely frank and open about sex) … Replace the idea of being normal in sexuality with the idea of doing what objectively serves your interest, and the interest of your partner … Understand that sexual dysfunction (e.g. impotence) is not usually a medical problem so much as your subconscious mind’s way of saying, “Pay attention to something here!” … How to better value and enjoy sex, on the one hand, but at the same time recognize that sex is not the only value in romantic relationships (heresy in today’s culture) …
See how procrastination is usually a sign that you have been over-thinking and under-acting … Learn why the question, “Why do I procrastinate?” is the most counter-productive one to ask yourself … Better understand the importance of integrating thought and action, mind and body … How to take small steps to reverse the procrastination process immediately … Analyze what you subjectively get out of procrastinating, irrational as you insist (on the surface) that it is …
Learn how the first rule of relationships is a healthy “I,” rather than the absence of a self (as we have all been taught) … Learn too that respecting the other’s equal right to an “I” is crucially important … Find ways to cope with the fact that you simply cannot and will never change or mold somebody else into the person you feel you want them to be, and that most efforts to do so end in disaster … Discover the subtle but crucial differences between rational parenting versus either permissive or authoritarian parenting, both of which involve the same basic underlying error … Learn the rewards of treating personal/family life as a value to the same degree you treat financial and career life as top values.
Discover -- surprise! -- why there’s really no such thing as depression, as it is currently defined at least ... and see how to identify and solve your problems in a completely different way from what the psychiatric industry has been attempting up to now, through its nearly nonexistent “treatment” … Learn how anxiety without a reason usually means there is a big reason: having convinced yourself that you are unfit to live and cope, even though there is probably much evidence to the contrary … Discover how to become an independent judge of reality rather than a passive recipient of what others tell you to do and think … And much more you won’t find at the usual therapist office.
Learn how to weather these rough periods, and most of all accept that they are temporary transitions to something better if you approach it this way … Discover how destructive it is to keep a relationship in a half-way state, somewhere between broken up and still together … Why all-or-nothing approaches to relationships ultimately lead to success, despite what most psychologists teach … See how being single has its advantages and a period of singlehood can pave the way for a very happy relationship down the road …
Periodic "Emotional Tune Ups" to Help Maintain and Build on Your Therapeutic Successes
See how therapy and counseling is not a passive process which does something “to” you, like surgery does … Rather, see how therapy is a single conversation, or perhaps a series of many conversations over time, with an objective party outside of your personal life … A conversation with someone who does not tell you what to do, but rather how to better trust your mind and judgment to determine this for yourself … Grasp how therapy essentially means change and growth, where necessary, and that this is a life-long process (of which counseling/therapy/consultation is only one means to this greater end) …
Traditional therapies treat clients as helpless, passive, and unable to control their emotional problems. The Living Resources Center assumes that clients have choices, strengths, and can resolve problems in a reasonable period of time.
Psychotherapy takes place in Dr. Michael Hurd's office, in Bethany Beach DE.