Sean McDonald, LPCC
I began my clinical work in Ireland, working in a variety of settings, from substance abuse treatment centers to community mental health centers and psychiatric hospitals, along with a small private practice. I gained my training academically in psychoanalytic therapy and my practicum in behavior therapy, cognitive analytic therapy and analytic work. Through this experience and exposure, I have gained a different style of working than most of my compatriots in America.
Particularly with substance abuse, I look at the use of the drug or alcohol, not as the cause but a reaction or defense against something else. When we are thinking of addiction, we should always remember that a-diction, is a non-speech, an inability to put into speech our experiences. The user has gained a way of getting satisfaction immediately, without interference, and a way that, like all defenses stops working with us and begins to work against our well-being. It is the work of therapy to begin to speak to this satisfaction and that thing that needed satisfying. It is through this that the process of recovery, true recovery begins.
With acceptance and commitment therapy, I consider where the patient is, where they want to be and how they get to there. We work through these difficulties and arrive at a place where the client knows if they want to proceed and with the means to go toward it.
Analytic therapy is a generally longer but rewarding approach to understanding why we do and how to not keep doing it. There is no doubt that repetition plays a hugs part in everyone’s life. Why is this so, why do we return to this familiar, this discomfort? Analytic therapy offers a route to understanding this, and by so doing giving one another option for the next time, and the time after that.
How I Work
I primarily approach the work as a partner, offering impressions from the first encounter. This is a progressive and beneficial way to work as it develops the relationship immediately as different to a usual relationship. Here, we can be free to explore the vagaries of our actions and feelings, develop an understanding of our defenses, ones that don’t serve us so well anymore and begin to find a new way to relate to ourselves, understanding how we’ve suffered in life and accepting how we’ve changed from the children we once were.
In session, I am an engaged and open therapist, working closely with the client to develop an understanding of the motivations for their behavior and the way they think. By looking beyond the thinking, getting underneath to the emotional motivation, we can begin to bring conscious awareness to the “why” of our behavior. Once this is done, we can then change our choices in the future. This process is not always easy but by developing a strong bond built on trust and caring, a therapeutic bond we can create a future that you desire and are happy to be in and move toward.
I have over twelve years of experience in working closely with clients who have suffered in various ways in their lives and have always worked toward developing self-compassion. Understanding and forgiving ourselves is an important part of this process. Sometimes we are our harshest critic. Let me help you to be kinder to yourself and live a better life. I use several modalities in my work, from psychoanalytic to broader behavior therapy to tackle issues of anxiety and depression, resolve trauma and develop healthier and more satisfying relationships.