Therapeutic Approach

Therapeutic Approach:

I have a long history of varied experience working in Madison, Wisconsin: I’ve worked with at-risk youth, families in crisis, developmentally challenged individuals,  and people with personality disorders. I’ve served as a group counselor in multiple settings, specifically focused on couples interactions, non-medical related sexual issues, LGBT related topics, and alternative sexual lifestyle choices.

This diverse background has taught me what modes of therapy best serve my clients. With that said, the clients that I work with are those that are looking for insight and change. At the core they are seeking a catalyst in their life for something stronger and better, which therapy can provide.

I may be a good fit for you if you have thought or felt the following:

  • I feel so down I can barely get things done. I don’t feel like I used to and I want to feel like that again.
  • I experience anxiety and worry that keep me from living the life I want. prevent me from living a ‘normal’ life.
  • I don’t feel like I have a life anymore. I feel empty and unfulfilled.
  • I often feel hurt because people walk all over me. I want to stand up for myself, but I don’t know how.
  • I’m supposed to have this perfect job and my family all figured out and I’m just not sure how to do it.
  • I wish I had someone to talk to about real things, not just about the game last night.
  • I want to change how shy I am and I don’t know how to get over being afraid of talking to new people.
  • I seem to always pick someone who betrays me. Why is this, and how can I keep it from happening again?
  • I have Asperger Syndrome and I’m not sure how to deal with it and other people don’t seem to understand what is going on with me.
  • I want an intimate relationship but don’t know how to attract the right partner.
  • We want to get married but there are some we want to resolve before we do.
  • We have been in this relationship for years and we just never talk anymore. I don’t know what to do.
  • We fight all the time. What happened to the days we were nice to each other? I’m not sure we can make it.
  • I’ve gone through a breakup/divorce and I’m just not sure how to heal or trust again.
  • Even though I’m technically an ‘adult,’ when I’m around my family I feel like a child again. I want to be treated differently but I don’t know how to make it happen.
  • I was abused but I’m only just now starting to understand that I might need to talk to someone about it.
  • I eat when I’m not hungry because I feel mad, sad, or even glad.
  • I want to get weight-loss surgery, but I know it won’t fix things unless I work on my reasons for overeating.
  • I’m gay and I don’t know how to tell my family and/or friends.
  • I’m bisexual and it seems like straight people give me grief and gay people don’t trust me. I just want to be accepted for who I am.
  • I want to change my gender and I have no idea how to deal with all the emotions and changes it brings.
  • I feel my sexuality is fluid, I don’t fit into any specific category and it confuses me.
  • How do I get my new partner to understand that I like more than traditional sexual experiences?
  • I work in the sex industry and I don’t know anyone I can trust to not judge me.
  • I think I may be polyamorous and I’m afraid my partner won’t understand.
  • My partner and I have an open relationship but we still struggle with jealousy.
  • Am I crazy if I like to control/be controlled sexually?

Your Commitment:

If any of the above strikes a chord then here is what I’m asking you to commit to if we are to work together.

You want to take responsibility for your own emotions, choices, health, relationships, and success.

  • You understand that something needs to change in your life and are willing to trying a new approach to make that happen.
  • You’re ready to let go of old ways and are committed to doing whatever it takes to find your inner strength.
  • You’re honest with yourself and with me about who you really are, where you are in your life, and what you want for your future.
  • You’re aware that you need to invest time, energy, and money in yourself to change your life for the better.

My Commitment:

  • I will strive to provide honest, respectful, and reliable feedback within our sessions.
  • I will work towards helping you reach your goals.
  • I will assist you in gaining insight, empowerment, and control in your life.
  • I will trust that you have the skills and strength to handle situations to the best of your abilities.

My approach to therapy:

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who uses a systemic approach. You may be wondering what exactly that means? I’ll do my best to explain the basics behind systems therapy and why I specifically choose this approach to the therapy process.

Considering my direct authentic personality and that I do not agree with a medical or one-size-fits all model for clients, I went out on a search for less formulaic approach to connect with people in the therapeutic environment.

After some research, I came across Systems Theory and concluded that an inclusive systems approach to clients and therapy was the way to go in my practice. Systems Theory states that all aspects of our lives are interconnected, everything matters and that individuals are not islands unto themselves. In addition, our current state was not created within a vacuum. Instead, our past, current, and future states of being are related to all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in our lives. This method results in a more circular approach to issues rather than a search for simple cause and effect. There is no one direct answer to any one concern. Rather, there is an interplay between various factors that create who we are as individuals, such as biology and genetics as well as environmental, sociological and psychological factors, to name a few.

In the Systems Theory method, the therapist uses various means to reach the client and establish a basis for trust. Then the therapist and client look at the client’s past patterns with hardship and success, from which they then create a plan together for targeting specific areas of the client’s life.

The main idea of this approach is that each person has a skill set already set in place to achieve success and the therapist and the client work together to clarify and enhance those skills. If, for example, the person usually reaches goals with a more cognitive approach, then the therapist will utilize that as a means for a plan for future success. Others who may be more behaviorally based would require specific techniques that modify behaviors to reach their goals. Systems Theory allows for each of us to be different while working from our strengths. Systems therapy works with the reality of where the client is today as opposed to expecting a person to fit into a mold, thus increasing the likelihood of successful results.

Finally, Systems Theory breaks down the barriers between therapist and client. There is no all-powerful-therapist with the answers hidden away from you. The therapist and the client work together as individuals with a common goal of discovering ways to change ideas, feelings, and/or behaviors that the client has stated he or she wants to address.


©2008 JSJ Therapy. email: Jasmine St. John, LMFT, WI #788-124


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