The big words we use to describe our care at Timber Creek Counseling is to say we will be uncommonly compassionate, highly-skilled in our use of evidence-based practices, and fittingly individualized in our approach with each person. Put simply, we want to be kind, good, and unique. We treat people with kindness, we are highly-trained and good at what we do, and we never use a one-size fits all approach but instead know people are completely unique.
For people looking into counseling, we hope they can understand what each of these categories mean:
When someone sits with a counselor, how do they feel? Each of our counselors is first and foremost, kind and caring. They became counselors because they really want to help people. As an organization, we consider it a top priority to make sure that they can have the balance and support they need in their own lives so that they can live out their passions and continue to have a deep well of genuine compassion to draw from, day in and day out.
In addition, research has shown that positive qualities and behaviors of therapists have a significant impact on the quality of the therapy. It is not just the techniques that matter, it matters that therapists come across as flexible, open, warm, friendly, honest, respectful, trustworthy, confident, enthusiastic, and alert. We are here to be supportive, affirming, understanding, empathic, active, collaborative, and empowering so that people who come for counseling can be fully explorative, reflective, and emotionally expressive.
Think that was just a long list of words? No, each word uniquely matters and is paid close attention to at Timber Creek. In a chapter I co-wrote, we reviewed the literature and those were the key qualities and behaviors that impact therapy. Speaking of this, are you curious what negatively impacts therapy? It is when a therapist is rigid, emotionally distant, aloof, distracted, uncertain, manipulative, or critical. We are careful to avoid these traits, so that what comes through most is people experiencing what they deserve - deep, supportive compassion. Compassion comes from a latin word that means “to suffer with.” At Timber Creek, we strive to walk alongside people in their lives so that they are not alone.
When kids, families, couples, and individuals come to counseling, they are not coming for a friend or someone to only listen. People are coming for someone who can skillfully navigate a relationship with them in a helpful way and who can listen and help intervene in ways that help them grow, get unstuck, and more fully enjoy life. In order to be highly-effective, we use “Evidence-Based Practices.” This term, “Evidence-Based Practices,” started to be used in the mid-2000s to help us codify what are truly effective treatments for different psychological diagnoses. Do we have research that shows that what we are doing actually works? It is important that someone finds a therapist who truly knows what they are doing and utilizes current research to inform their approach. The American Psychological Association has a working website that captures evidence-based treatments for different psychological disorders. At Timber Creek, people will find we utilize these evidence-based treatments, and if they come to us with a presenting problem that we do not have expertise in, we will refer them elsewhere. It is important to us that we only provide treatment that we know can and will work.
Every person is unique. Yes, we can learn alot from manualized treatment approaches and exploring what works for different disorders, but it is vital that treatment is individualized. In fact, in my review of therapy effectiveness literature, it is shown that when therapists are over structured, understructured, superficial, or one-size-fits-all in their approach - the therapy is much less effective. We strive for humility in the therapy office. We want to get to know your story and what uniquely works with you. Through listening well, getting feedback, and collaborating in the treatment planning, we are able to ensure that every person that comes to Timber Creek gets truly individualized, unique care.
What does all of this mean? For us, it is everything. We hold ourselves to a high standard, expecting that people who come through our doors (or webcams!) always encounter people who are uncommonly kind, especially good at what they do, and treat others with a dignity and respect that shows they understand how one-of-a-kind they are.
-Dr. Andrew Cuthbert