Steven D. Graham, PhD, DMin
Licensed Psychologist and Certified Psychoanalyst
When I first meet you in my office (or even before by way of texting, emails, or the phone), my primary focus is to get to know you as a person. I believe that all suffering is first and foremost, human. We are not “illnesses” or “diagnoses” or “conditions,” but we are all human beings struggling with what life has thrown at us and our responses to it. So, I will want to know as much about you as possible: what is causing you stress or pain, what is your history, when did you first notice your challenge(s), what you experience with your pain (any symptoms), and anything else you may want to discuss.
As we get to know each other over the weeks and months, we will together begin to notice possible patterns that may have existed across your life, especially in your closest relationships and your ways of coping with uncomfortable feelings. We may notice aspects regarding all of your relationships, including our relationship … and we will have the time and space to explore what all of that means.
Despite what most of us would wish, most human problems are complex. When we stop to think about ourselves, we might come to realize that we are pretty complicated beings. We cannot “fix” what is wrong with us by “fixing our thoughts,” or “fixing our behavior,” or “fixing our feelings” (as if that could be possible by itself). We are all of these aspects – thoughts, behaviors, and feelings – and much more. This is why I chose to become a psychoanalyst. Practicing psychoanalytically values complexity and avoids the temptation to reduce human problems to simple solutions.
Above all, I believe that we are also spiritual beings. I have been a Christian since I was a small boy, attended a Christian university and seminary, and served as a pastor for many years. I bring that experience of being with people in their darkest moments, as well as their most celebratory times, with me as I talk with you. I will never force any spiritual beliefs or practices on you, but if you want to discuss your spiritual and/or religious issues, I would welcome you to do so.