My name is Derrick Javan Hoard, and I am a licensed marriage and family therapist.
From 2013, I have been working in some capacity as a psychotherapist. I have worked in in-home settings doing community mental health, I have been in substance abuse working with opioid addicts and even worked at a prison in Louisiana for children. For the past 5 years, I have worked in private practice providing tele-health services for issues including ADHD, Depression, and even more serious issues such as psychosis and schizophrenia.
Therapy does a great job of exploring the past and helping people understand why they do what they do. From exploring the influence of childhood trauma and family dynamics to individual thoughts and beliefs. It is a wonderful tool for gaining insight into your behaviors and where they come from. But it is almost useless when it comes to what actionable steps one can take to make meaningful changes in their lives. The frustration for me was knowing the things I could tell my clients to do, but being unable to because “that isn’t what therapy is for”. I was forced to be neutral and objective and ask "how does that make you feel?", instead of "have you tried this yet?"
Often, when I would see clients in my practice they would come in with some sort of diagnosis like “social anxiety disorder” or “adhd” given to them by a therapist who needed it to bill their insurance company and be on some medication given to them by a psychiatrist who spoke to them for all of 15 minutes. And while their problem now had a name and the symptoms were under control, their situation remained unchanged.
I started to consider that maybe the focus should be the way my clients were handling their problems instead of trying to treat the symptoms of handling them incorrectly.
To do that, I had to make a radical shift in perspective. One that required me to stop believing that the problems my clients required multiple years of therapy to solve and that rapid change could be made in 10 sessions or less.
Sometimes much less.
I started noticing a commonality between all my clients. Even though they all had different problems the reason for those problems were strikingly similar.
After investigating their history, it became apparent that because of their past life experiences, they would encounter problems in their lives and either ignore them, (thats not that big of a deal), create a problem where one doesn't exist (such as in relationship issues or comparing themselves to others), or try to solve the wrong problem (such as treating "anxiety" or "adhd" ) instead of "realizing that I don't really want to do this, or in my case "I need a new job".
Their focus was on themselves instead of the thing they were doing to try to solve their problems.
I started calling this their "past play". Once I was able to shift my clients thinking to their "past play" instead of their "past traumas" convincing them to make the changes became much easier.
Identifying the Situation: Depression.
I was fully convinced I was trapped in the fog of depression. No matter how much I shifted my diet, ramped up my exercise routine, or experimented with medications, the looming shadow of this emotional abyss refused to dissipate.
Impact Analysis: Draining Passion and Energy.
The effects of my perceived depression went beyond just feelings. My passion for my work diminished. Each morning was an uphill battle, and my once abundant zest for life dwindled. The possibility of it being tied to my profession seemed absurd. After dedicating 8 years and incurring hefty student loans, how could I not love being a therapist?
Past Play: Rejecting a Change in Profession.
Instead of admitting that maybe therapy wasn't my ultimate calling, I hid behind theories of chemical imbalances. The mere thought of switching my career was unthinkable. But then, an unexpected client session became my epiphany.
Situation in Focus: Social Anxiety's Mask.
A client approached me, paralyzed by the grips of social anxiety. With a significant presentation on Monday, time was not on our side. This urgency forced me to shift gears, focusing on the present rather than delving into the past. Within two hours, we unmasked the true villain: guilt. The weight of working in an industry potentially fueling addiction weighed heavily on her.
Shifting Play: Embracing Guilt and Redirecting Focus.
Instead of her continuing to suppress her guilt, we devised a plan. By donating a portion of her earnings to organizations aimed at addiction recovery, she transformed her guilt into a force for good. This session was transformative, not just for her, but for me.
Unveiling the Path Forward: Becoming The Situational Therapist
That single interaction illuminated the effectiveness of addressing the immediate problem, rather than being tethered to the past. Much like how unforeseen events can pivot our life's trajectory, this session reshaped mine. The birth of this unique approach paved the way for the impactful work I present to you today.
Your Situational Solution Awaits.
Every person's life is a tapestry of unique situations, challenges, and opportunities. Perhaps you're reading this, resonating with my journey or curious about how the Situational Life Coaching method can illuminate a path forward for you. You don't have to navigate your situations alone.
Take the first step towards clarity, transformation, and tangible solutions. Reach out now for a free consultation. Let's uncover your 'Past Play' and craft a 'Shifting Play' tailored just for you.