Welcome to Jinji Willingham Psychotherapy and Stage of Life Counseling, The Path of Care.
Below is information about my background and training, my perspectives on psychotherapy and approach to psychotherapy. You can fine more practical information pertaining to my office location, policies, and other helpful information in “Common Questions” on the “Client Info” Menu.
When Do People Decide to Find a Psychotherapist?
People seek therapeutic support for a wide variety of reasons. People often seek therapeutic care due to:
Relationship challenges – with their partners, parents, children, extended family members, or co-workers, and feel stressed, worried, or angry.
A sudden, disruptive life change that’s hard to navigate
Growing awareness of a long-term trauma or difficult situation that has become increasingly difficult to tolerate and less sustainable.
Feeling stuck in a pattern of self-defeating or self-harming behaviors
The distress of a aging and declining health condition
The grief of aging, illness, or the loss of a loved one.
The challenge and disequilibrium that come with periods of deep self-exploration, life transitions – when we’re moving beyond our comfort zones, and it helps to have a skillful experienced care professional to walk beside us and have our back.
What About Seeking Help From Family & Friends?
Because our family and friends care so much about our well-being, they can feel anxious about our troubles, and are not well-equipped to help us. Out of their concern for us, they sometimes want to hurry us to a solution, and as a result our feelings are dismissed, we can feel pressured to “get better,” and have a greater sense of shame and aloneness. And sometimes, of course, they are part of the difficulty we’re experiencing, and we are seeking some distance and perspective.
Many people find great solace and practical support in the compassionate presence and guidance of a well-educated and professional therapist because we offer a safe container and trusting relationship that is separate from the rest of your life. Over time there emerges a deeply felt sense of being witnessed: seen, heard, felt, really known. Oftentimes it is through a therapeutic lens that we can step back a see the big picture of our lives.
We are evolutionarily wired to value acceptance, and being a human being in a complex and distressful world filled with judgment, bias, and a wide variety of marginalization and othering (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, geography, age, and ability) – many people simple feel alone, not understood or seen for who they are, and seek the weekly support of a therapist. Because we are not part of your family life, friend group, or work or school community, our time together offers a unique kind of compassion and solace.
How Long Does Therapy Last?
Some seek therapy for a particular situation, and we might work together in a focused was for a few months, while others discover a process that supports their long-term continued exploration into many areas of life. Our work together will bring insight, resources, and healing practices to your life beyond our time together.
What Is Contemporary Integrative Psychotherapy
This is a good time to be a psychotherapist and a good time to be a client. Decades ago, therapists trained in one tradition and saw their clients through a specific clinical lens which led to a well-defined “treatment” model. The clinician’s model determined the client’s care – which was then called “treatment” (and sometimes still is).
As models of psychotherapy have evolved and become more nuanced over the last decade or so, many of us now identify ourselves as “integrative practitioners.” This means that our approach is informed by a variety of related orientations and approaches – ways of thinking, models, trainings, and skills – that have empirically been shown to work well together and build a strong base of supportive therapeutic care.
This has helped shift psychotherapy away from its original medicalized and analytical model (psychiatry) and research-focused diagnostic model (psychology) into a client-centered model of therapeutic person-to-person care (psychotherapy and counseling). Many find this to be the most supportive approach for clients, leading to more effective and beneficial outcomes. As a result psychotherapy has a better reputation in recent years, which is why we’re seeing a decrease of the stigma that has long been associated with seeking help.
Because we are increasingly “cross-trained,” you will sometimes see lists of numerous training names and acronyms, indicating “certifications,” and training “levels.” For me, this is not at all about professional bravado but a way of communicating the multiple dimensions and approaches we’re trained to bring to our work. We value a variety of perspectives and skills so that we can best serve each clients’ need in a mindful and skillful way.
What Kind of Practice and Services Do You Have?
I offer individual counseling for adolescents and adults, couples, and families. Group work offers an opportunity for interpersonal growth and commuity, and is a wonderful way to augment individual psychotherapy. I also offer a variety of group work: specific support groups, experiential psychoeducation and study groups, as well as presentations, workshops, and a variety of caregiver education and trainings.
- Challenging/complex relationships
- Trauma and PTSD
- Aging, illness, and end-of-life
- Grief, loss, & bereavement
- Adolescents (10-22)
- Emerging adults (21-34)
- Anxiety, introversion, highly sensitive people
- Life transitions
- Parenting, during and post-partnership
- Separated and blended family dynamics
- Resilience and self-care for family caregivers
- Professional caregivers
- Mindfulness and meditation teacher
Please see “Services” for more detailed information on individual counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, and groups and workshops.
How Do You Work?
Relationships are living organisms that are always emerging and unique to those engaged. Though I am trained in a variety of related therapeutic approaches that resonate with me at a deep level, how I work depends on who I’m working with, what arises between us, and what best serves a client’s interests and needs.
I take an integrated experiential and relational approach to psychotherapy, attuning to a client’s unique life experience with compassionate regard and deep curiosity, nurturing a therapeutic relationship based on trust, transparency, authenticity, warmth, and care that allows us to explore together, to gain insight, and facilitate healing and growth.
Many clients feel supported by compassionate presence, emotional validation, and the spaciousness that allows a client to explore and unfold into growth. You might be seeking help with a specific problem, and benefit from exploration, understanding, and gaining helpful skills that will resource them. Some clients come to therapy seeking the deep work of examining past distress and trauma that continues to have a hold on their lives – until together we find the courage and support to process and heal. Oftentimes therapy is a combination of unearthing and composting past experiences that continue to live within us. Our exploration can help to loosen their grip on our body, feelings through relational attunement, narrative re-shaping, and skillful grounding practices that can reset and restore the our emotional nervous system.
What Can I Expect At A Counseling Session?
Doing our first few sessions I will be getting to know you through a combination of listening and asking questions in order to learn about your current difficulties, and for us to get to know each other. Based on what you’ve come in seeking help with, our work might entail exploration of the past, psychoeducation, emotional validation, mindfulness practices, somatic awareness exercises, and insight building through interpersonal narrative.
50-minute weekly sessions help build a sense of continuity and depth, but sometimes couples and family work warrants 80-minute sessions. While therapists and clients generally agree that weekly meetings are the most effective for beneficial therapeutic outcome, not everyone can do therapy on a weekly basis. Because people seek therapy for a wide variety of reasons, the length of our therapy is specific to each client. Some people see therapy as part of their ongoing exploration, composting, growth and self-care, and remain in therapy for years as a part of their practice in life. Others might begin therapy for a specific reason and focus on that, in which they might do therapy for a several months and return on an as-needed basis.
If you are seeking support but don’t feel clear about your goals for therapy, that’s okay. We’ll set out together to explore what they might be, and together we will then establish a direction to begin therapy. Goals can change over time and so can the direction of therapy.
What Are The Benefits Of Therapy?
When we keep our concerns and speculations about our problems to ourselves, it’s easy to lose perspective, balance, and clarity, and easy to feel stuck and alone. Talking with a compassionate, supportive, and caring psychotherapist helps generate insights into the causes and contexts of specific problems, create a grounded sense of ease by settling our nervous systems through interpersonal connection, and gives us a chance to practice skills, and gain insight and new perspectives.
Some benefits may include:
- More effective and beneficial ways of managing your distress, anxiety, panic, depression, anger, and loss.
- Development of healthier relationship skills to more deeply connect with those in your life.
- Letting go of self-defeating patterns, and establishing healthier and more beneficial approaches to life’s challenges.
- Thoughtfully identifying what you most want from life, and defining and reaching personal goals through greater personal clarity.
- Developing the practice of vulnerability to explore what hurts and building the courage to “live the life you’ve imagined.”
- To “find a place of rest in the middle of things.”