Individual Psychotherapy

Individual Therapy

You’re smart and have tried a lot of things to make life better, but you’re still having a hard time. Therapy can help.

You’re smart and have tried a lot of things to make life better, but you’re still having a hard time. Therapy can help.

Therapy works. I invite you to put it to work for you, using my expertise, integrity, warmth, humor, and clear, honest feedback.

I work with a wide variety of people, each of them with different situations and challenges. Many are highly successful in one area of their lives, but are having difficulty in others.

What they have in common is the drive to live with greater joy, vitality, passion, creativity, and resilience.

Here are the necessary ingredients for effective psychotherapy:

  • The connection between you and your therapist patient is one of the biggest factors in successful therapy -- research has shown this over and over. You need to feel that your therapist understands you, and is a good match for you.
  • Therapy works best when you and your therapist collaborate and approach your goals as a team.
  • One size doesn’t fit all. Your therapist needs to be flexible in meeting your particular therapeutic needs.  We’ve all had a unique path that brought us to where we are; a good therapist brings a wide base of experience and approaches to help you get moving on your unique path forward.
  • Effective therapy uses validated, up-to-date approaches to help people develop healthier, more productive ways of thinking, behaving, and navigating life. Your therapist should be current, curious, and actively engaged in his or her own ongoing professional growth.
  • Talking to an objective, non-judgmental therapist helps you open up and get to the heart of the matter. Even the best-intentioned family member or friend has his or her own biases, wishes, and advice that may not be helpful for you. No matter how smart you are, you probably have blind spots – we all do. Sometimes you need someone on the outside, someone with experience, to help you see yourself – and your path forward – more clearly.
  • Therapy addresses how you got to this place, so you can find your way to what’s next. It’s not about blaming your parents or your history, but about taking clear-eyed stock of how you came to be who you are, and taking insightful responsibility for your life from here forward.
  • Good therapy brings together a variety of empirically-validated resources, not just feel-good talk, including the important relationship between physical health and psychological well-being.

What can therapy help with?

Most people start therapy because they aren’t satisfied with something in their lives. Sometimes that shows itself as depression or anxiety; sometimes it’s just a strong desire to not just “decrease” symptoms, but to increase their well-being.

My practice is diverse, but common among the people I work with is the drive to have a more fulfilling, meaningful life:

  • Feeling more vibrant and authentic
  • Gaining traction in your career and life purpose
  • Successfully navigating life transitions
  • Emotional growth and personal development
  • Better relationships -- with yourself and with others
  • Greater emotional resilience
  • Improved physical health through psychological wellness
  • Deeper life satisfaction
  • Increased creativity and joy

We live in a demanding and stressful world, and sometimes it takes too much of a toll. Depression, anxiety, stress, and a sense of burnout are painful, frustrating, and exhausting, but they’re also ways that your mind, brain, and body are telling you something’s out of balance.

Distress is a wake-up call, and psychotherapy is an effective place to wake up and get things in better balance. Even if it’s depression or anxiety that brings you into therapy, by the time you’re done, you’ll not only have dealt with the symptoms that brought you in, but you’ll have learned new and more helpful ways of coping with difficult emotions, experiences, and relationships – more resilient and effective ways of handling whatever challenges come up in the future.

"But it’s uncomfortable asking for help…" or "I’m supposed to be able to do this myself…" or "Needing therapy is a sign of weakness…"

For those who are smart, capable, and look like a “success” to others, it can be difficult to ask for help -- or asking for help hasn’t gotten you anywhere (yet).

We need help navigating life's challenges.

The idea of independence that we so fervently strive for isn’t without merit -- being able to stand on your own two feet is a good thing. But it’s not healthy if it’s the only thing, or the predominant way you go through the world.

A couple of brain-based ways to think about it:

  • Dan Goleman, in Social Intelligence, describes the necessity of ongoing interactions and attachment to others as a “neural duet” which helps integrate the brain and is essential for emotional balance and regulation.
  • Lou Cozolino, in The Neurobiology of Relationships, talks about how the brain “depends on interactions with others for its survival.” Even at the cellular level, if you isolate one brain cell in a Petri dish, it won’t survive very long; it needs the connections with other brain cells to survive. The same is true if we isolate our selves by hiding out from others and trying to figure things out alone.)

Feel like you're dealing with the same problem over and over?

You’ve probably successfully found your way and grown from some of the challenges you’ve faced (relationships? stress? unhealthy habits?), only to find you’re stumped again by something similar. Or maybe you haven’t been able to get to the underlying, common root yet.

Each time is an opportunity to learn, get back in the saddle, grow and move forward -- hopefully, each time you grow and learn to do it in new ways that work better.

Therapy can be a helpful place for making the most of those opportunities. Rather than just “getting through” them, you can develop more substance and strength, and have more inner resources and resilience.

Ready to meet? I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Me

Marsha Lucas, PhD – Psychologist
1350 Connecticut Ave NW, at Dupont Circle
Washington DC 20036
(202) 331-3318