Lawton R. Smith

Rostered Psychotherapist* 


(*This means that I am entered in the Roster of Non-Licensed and Non-Certified Psychotherapists, as defined in Title 26, Chapter 78 of the Vermont Statutes. As such, I may legally practice psychotherapy in the State of Vermont. This roster is maintained by the Office of Professional Regulation of the Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. There are some 374+ therapists on this roster.)

I practice psychotherapy, which is defined as: "the provision of treatment, diagnosis, evaluation, or counseling services to individuals or groups, for a consideration, for the purpose of alleviating mental disorders. "Psychotherapy" involves the application of therapeutic techniques to understand unconscious or conscious motivation, resolve emotional, relationship or attitudinal conflicts, or modify behavior which interferes with effective emotional, social, or mental functioning. "Psychotherapy" follows a systematic procedure of psychotherapeutic intervention which takes place on a regular basis over a period of time, or, in case of evaluation and brief psychotherapies, in a single or limited number of interventions." - [from Chapter 78]

My personal method of approach and treatment is the belief that serious, purposeful conversation itself is healing. It is helpful to reflect back to a person those significant statements which they make. I believe in verbal intervention when direction is needed. I believe that the person heals themselves; that my role is to assist in removing obstacles to adequate perception. To that end, examining a person's responses to life's situations and the consequences of those responses will lead the person to more successful choices. Part of this process involves the person accepting responsibility for their own choices; it involves discovering and accepting the self that thinks, feels, and acts.

I have studied psychology, and I have read extensively in the works of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Theodore Reik, Karl Menninger, Abraham Maslow, and Frederick Perls, Ralph Hefferline and Paul Goodman, as well as of many others who have studied the mind and its disturbances. I integrate this with an extensive study of Eastern thought, in order to provide the basis for an expansion of personal awareness. The resulting holistic treatment approach is strongly influenced by gestalt therapy, as formulated by Perls, Hefferline, and Goodman, and by the self-actualization theories of Maslow.

I feel that I work well with those who may be alienated from more traditional modes of therapy. This includes those who have lifestyles or belief systems which are unconventional, and those who may have non-normal/paranormal perceptions of reality, including "spiritual awakening", or those who may feel that their problems with touch and intimacy with others will alienate a therapist. Since emotions and experiences may be reflected in both psychological and physical habits and mannerisms, I am familiar with, and willing to use techniques such as guided imagery and sense stimulation as aids to exploring and explaining the emotions; I will also suggest the use of physical and mental stress reduction/relaxation techniques, such as Reiki, as needed, since I believe that body and mind are different aspects of the same thing, namely, personal energy. At times, either alone or in conjuction with other relaxation modalities, I may suggest the practice of mindfulness, which is one aspect of the formal practice of meditation. It is up to the therapist and the client together to discover the appropriate manner in which to bring about an improvement in the mental and emotional life of the client, respecting the sensibilities of the client, while moving towards an integrated mental/physical functioning.

I am most concerned with a person's return to self-actualization. To me, this means progress of the client toward becoming everything that it is possible for them to become. This must be in creative harmony with a person's basic nature, which I believe is essentially good. I believe in accepting a person's values and beliefs without judgment; I expect to see the development of the same in a client. I believe in the absolute confidentiality of material divulged in the psychotherapeutic session. I do not force a particular set of values on a person; rather, I try to help them discover the positive values which they already hold. This may, at times, involve the discussion of a person's values and beliefs. In a sense, I function as a guide in the process of self-discovery. There are many reasons for psychotherapy; all are worth exploring.

As to cost, I believe that the cost should not create an additional severe hardship for the client, who is already under great stress. My rates are on a sliding scale, based on the client's income and personal economic situation; they are easily affordable in my area. The cost should, however, represent the sincere desire of the client to be fair and to want to improve to the point that therapy is no longer needed. I will also try to accommodate the time needs of the client to my schedule. A frank discussion at the outset is the best way to determine this. I do some very limited pro bono work. A client must be at least 18 years old [there are limits for my high school students], although I am more comfortable if they are over 21.

The author of this selection provides a good view of my philosophy and reflects some roots of my ethics.

My Declaration of Self-Esteem - V. Satir

Also, this unknown author speaks to much of my experience and reflections about life.

"What I've Learned in Life" - Unknown