Individual therapy is a process of understanding yourself and the workings of your life in order to make changes that will make your life better.
Therapy is about feeling better. That means feeling happier and more satisfied with all the important parts of your life. It includes both the external parts of your life, such as your relationships with loved ones, your work, and your life situation. It also includes the internal parts of your life, such as how you feel about yourself, what you find meaningful, and any areas of emotional pain that you may be trying to overcome.
Therapy typically works to improve both the external and the internal parts of life. Working on external things may involve figuring out how to have better, closer, more satisfying relationships with loved ones. It may involve figuring out how to change your life situation, or adjust to painful changes that you didn't choose. It may involve working to end a self-defeating pattern, such as an addiction, or an area in which you seem to be making the same mistakes over and over. By clearly understanding how these patterns have developed, and by helping people persist in their efforts at change, therapy can help people make healthy, conscious choices in areas where they had previously been repeating old mistakes.
The internal part of the work involves another important aspect of feeling better. Internal emotional pain, such as grief, depression, and fear, can often be eased by deeply exploring its sources, and working to resolve them. The internal work is the work of understanding what is happening inside you, in the workings of your emotions and your thoughts. It is also about understanding who you are, who you want to be, and what matters most to you. This is designed to bring you a greater measure of peace, self-acceptance, and clarity about the workings of your life.
I have experience and training in several approaches to therapy. In much of my work I use a psychodynamic approach to therapy, which I will explain more fully below. In various situations I will also make use of elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which have a number of effective and practical tools for dealing with counter-productive thinking patterns and with strong and painful emotions.
Psychodynamic therapy is a process of examining the patterns in your thoughts, your emotions, and your relationships to become much more aware of who you are, and what makes you tick. The goal is to understand your emotions better, so that you are less at their mercy, and to understand what is happening in your family and your relationships so that you know how to make those relationships work well. The goal is also to understand the patterns in your thinking, and how to find your way out of patterns that are either ineffective, or painful.
Psychodynamic therapy has sometimes been criticized for being more concerned with self-understanding that with solving practical problems in life. I would say that I am quite a practical therapist, and I fully appreciate that people come to therapy to make changes in their lives. Also, some psychodynamic therapists say very little. I think you will find that my style is much more active and conversational.
You may also consult my article on The Effectiveness of Therapy.