How and/or why did you become a therapist?
As a young man I became impressed with how psychotherapy helped me become more emotionally healthy and happy. The personal growth that I gained in therapy resulted in me having much better relationships. So I got interested in the field of psychotherapy and eventually became a therapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
The therapist is privileged to get to know clients on a deep level. I consider it an honor to walk with my clients for a while on their journey in life. When I see I have made a difference, it makes me feel fulfilled. The more I get to know people by sharing with them about their inner lives, the more insight I have about what it means to be human.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
I earned a Master of Divinity in my younger years because I am interested in how we are connected to something greater than ourselves. In my practice, I notice people call that God, the Universe, Higher Power, the Unified Field and many other terms. This dimension in life is, I believe, very important in terms of having a sense of meaning and purpose. It is also important to reduce anxiety, because if you are a part of something greater, you can draw strength from it. My clients choose me as their therapist because they want to bring the spiritual dimension into their personal growth.
What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Often clients ask me, “Can I get my loved one to change?” I respond, “Possibly. People can learn and grow. And then they do change. However, I think your main focus should be on your own personal growth. The best way you can find greater happiness in your relationship and in all other part of your life is to be dedicated to your journey to becoming a wiser, more loving person. In doing that, you will already begin to change your relationship. You will draw forth a more loving response from your partner. And you may realize that with or without your partner, you really like the person that you have blossomed into.
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
Every human being is learning and growing. And we all benefit from insight offered by others, especially experienced professionals, because sometimes it is hard to be objective about one’s self. Relationships are a school for personal growth. If someone asks me, “Why do I find myself in this difficult relationship?” I respond, “You are in this relationship because there is something important you are supposed to learn. So let’s explore what your relationship is teaching you.”
If someone says, “I am seeing my therapist today,” the healthy response from a friend is, “You go! I admire you because you are proactive about making your relationship and your life better.” Sometimes clients tell me, “I was reluctant to begin therapy because I thought it wouldn’t do any good. But now I see how I have changed and how my relationship has changed. Everyone tells me I am happier and obviously enjoy life and my relationship more. I find talking about my life in therapy extremely interesting. It is the one place in my life where it is OK to focus on how I feel and what I want out of life.”
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to be too highly directive; telling the client what life decisions to make. If a therapist starts doing that, run! The biggest mistake a client can make is to make therapy a once a week experience. Therapy must be woven into daily life. The insights and new activities that are discussed during the therapy hour must be practiced in everyday life, or you will not see change.
Jim Green, M.Div., LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.
2434 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205. 980-307-1131. [email protected] jamesmatthewgreen.com
Member, American Counseling Association
Jim brings 30 years of experience to his work as a psychotherapist.
Clients often bring to psychotherapy concerns that are at the heart of being human. These concerns may be expressed as, “How do I find meaning in life?” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “Why is there suffering?” Ultimately, these are spiritual questions, and Jim’s theological background prepares him to enter into these discussions with great ability and empathy. Jim’s graduate education emphasized offering emotional and spiritual support to clients of all faith traditions. Jim also has considerable experience working with people who claim no faith tradition, utilizing basic human values such as love, patience, and nurturing, which are common to all humanity.