Counseling Approach
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Counseling Approach

Individual Counseling
 Seattle Men's Counselor - Justin Pere
Justin Pere,
Individual and Couples Therapist
My approach to individual counseling includes the utilization of a small handful of theoretical approaches, depending on the issues being addressed. Those approaches are Mindfulness, Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Existential, Person-Centered, and EMDR. Often referred to as "technical eclecticism", the incorporation of a number of counseling techniques is commonly used by therapists as a way of remaining flexible enough to tailor the appropriate counseling approach to the issue being addressed. This is preferable to attempting to force the various issues people present through one particular theoretical orientation that may not be best suited to address the problem.

For example, it is widely accepted that Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are typically the most appropriate and effective methods of treating problems of mood, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse, while an Existential approach is useful is helping work through issues of grief & loss, finding meaning, accepting personal responsibility, and reducing isolation. Person-centered Therapy, one of the most widely used models in psychotherapy, helps create a safe, comfortable, and non-judgmental environment by demonstrating genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard through a non-directive approach that aids people in finding their own solutions to their problems. And I am trained in a counseling technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, which is an evidence-based therapy that can help resolve painful life patterns by changing the way negative memories are stored in the brain.

Though I work with people in a variety of ways, I most often help my clients using Mindfulness, which may be a word you aren't currently familiar with, however this will likely soon change. The practice of mindfulness made the cover of Time Magazine in 2014 in an article titled "The Mindful Revolution", which I find fascinating given that the practice has been around for around 2000 years! It is the oldest, and yet one of the most current, powerful, and science-based ways we know to help people change, heal, and grow. There is a great deal to say about the benefits of mindfulness, including how it helps to heal the many issues I list on subsequent pages of this web site, but such a wealth of information is already available on the internet.

Couples Counseling
My approach to couples counseling is informed by over 40 years of research conducted by the Gottman Institute and the work of Dr. Sue Johnson and Emotion Focused Therapy, or EFT. The Gottman Method and EFT are considered to be the most current and effective ways we know to help couples create healthy, lasting relationships, and to heal those that are ailing.

The Gottman Method was developed by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman in the 1980s. It is an evidence-based form of couples therapy that strives to assist couples in achieving a deeper sense of understanding, awareness, empathy, and connectedness within their relationships that ultimately leads to heightened intimacy and interpersonal growth. By combining therapeutic interventions with couples exercises, this type of therapy helps couples identify and address the natural defenses that hinder effective communication and bonding.

EFT is an approach to couples therapy that is also validated by over 30 years of empirical research. It recognizes that emotions are centrally important in the experience of both ourselves and our partners. Through our work together I help couples to better identify, experience, explore, make sense of, transform and manage their emotional experiences within the relationship. EFT helps us to see that core issues in relationships often involve couples experiencing some type of disconnection or distance that results in feeling emotionally unsafe, feeling insecure in the bond they have with their partner, and becoming unable to express their true feelings and experience of being with one another. Through emotion-focused relationship counseling, couples can reconnect (or connect for the first time), resulting in immensely positive bonding events where partners begin to see each other more fully and are more authentic and compassionate with each other. Their connection empowers each of them and opens the door to all the benefits that come with a secure relationship.

If you are considering therapy for your relationship, I encourage you to click here to read more about the Gottman and EFT approaches to couples counseling.

For specifics about my professional experience, please click here.