Jessica Slavin Connelly, MSW, LICSW
 Approach
Why Therapy

The decision to consider therapy is an act of strength.  It means you have recognized that a problem exists, that you've done the best you can on your own to try and resolve it, and that you recognize that there are resources out there to help you with your goals.  Often, people find themselves stuck on one or more stages of the change process.  For example, you might find that you have been thinking a lot about what changing a behavior might look like, but can't actually get to the place of action in changing the behavior. Therapy is a highly effective tool for helping people get 'unstuck' and moving forward to make lasting positive changes in their lives.

Most of us experience difficult times, crisis, or varying degrees of stress throughout life.  Therapy is available for the specific purpose of helping people navigate those times and improve quality of life and well being. 
During times of crisis, stress, confusion, or soul-searching, therapy can provide a safe and confidential space for identifying the sources and causes of the distress and learning tools to help decrease it.  Therapy can also help people to define, clarify, and accomplish life goals and achieve a greater sense of overall peace and well-being.

Therapy can also be greatly beneficial as an opportunity for spouses, children, or family members to express and work through complex feelings, strengthen communication skills with loved ones, and improve relationships.


My Style


Clients and friends describe me as warm, supportive, and real, with a good sense of humor, exceptional listening skills, and an honest and practical approach.  I have been told by clients that I have the ability to quickly 'get' a situation, and that they feel understood in a unique and revealing way during our work together.  I value the expertise of my clients, and use client input and collaboration to inform our work together.  Essentially, I believe therapy should feel immediately meaningful and worthwhile.  My approach is both nurturing and practical, and I work with clients to develop the most effective course of action to resolve issues and achieve life goals.

Orientation

I utilize an integrative approach, in that I draw from various styles of treatment to create an individualized program for each client.  I especially draw from insight-oriented (Psychodynamic Approaches), skills-based (Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral), and strength-based therapeutic approaches, in which I have advanced training.

If you would like to learn more about these approaches read on:

Insight-based Approaches

Insight-based approaches include psychodynamic psychology and other approaches that place emphasis on how the past shapes the present, and on longer term talk therapy.  These approaches help us understand how our past experiences and relationships have shaped who we are and how we currently respond to life stress, relationships, and crisis.  Having insight and understanding of why we respond the way we do to life situations can help us to stop in the moment, think differently about a situation, and manage our reactions and behavior. 

Skills-based Approaches

Skills based approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapies, and other approaches that utilize mindfulness techniques.  These approaches help people to understand how our thoughts guide our reactions and behaviors, and help develop to develop concrete, practical tools for coping with current life problems and achieving behavioral and cognitive change. These approaches are results-oriented and evidence-based, and often involve use of tool such as goal setting, handouts and workbooks, keeping diaries and logs of specific thoughts and behaviors, and affect regulation training.

Cognitive-behavior therapy
helps people break free from self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that hold them back.
  Behavioral therapy and interventions focus on gaining control over unwanted behaviors by learning new ways to approach aspects of life leading to those behaviors.

Skills-based approaches also help people to learn to tolerate uncomfortable feelings as they arise, using mindfulness techniques.  Many of our unhealthy behaviors result from an inability to sit with uncomfortable feelings such as frustration, sadness, loneliness, guilt, or anxiety.  Mindfulness techniques incorporate the teaching of use of relaxation and stress management skills into psychotherapy.

Client Centered and Strength-Based Approaches

Client centered approaches are based on valuing the strengths of the client.  These approaches empower you, the client, as the author of your own life and the person with the most expertise in the room regarding your feelings.  You know yourself better than anyone and your insight will be the most valuable tool in helping you to achieve a greater sense of well-being.

In these approaches, the role of the therapist is as your partner in the process of change, and we work together to come up with the approach and action plan that you believe will work best for you, that excites you, and empowers you to become who you want to be.  Techniques are focused on helping people to identify, believe in, and build upon personal strengths, qualities, and assets in order to achieve positive change.

Clients

My practice is open to people of all nationalities, genders, and orientations (sexual, religious, political) and I enjoy working with anyone who desires to change and grow.