1135 Kildaire Farm Road, Suite 200
Cary, NC 27511

Pamela I. Hartsfield, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Treatment Philosophy

I believe most individuals realize the need for a psychotherapist’s help when they encounter difficulties engaging in the flow of life in regard to relationships, work, or the ability to experience pleasure. Most people need to feel significant connections to others and to engage in the world in meaningful ways. My eclectic experience has familiarized me with a broad range of psychological approaches. I draw upon the interpersonal/relational, psychodynamic, and cognitive behavioralflower schools of psychology to inform my treatment philosophy. Over the years, I have also developed the “artistic” aspects of being a psychotherapist in addition to the scientific. I believe an empathic attunement to my clients is just as important as intellectual competence.

As a psychotherapist, my main initial focus is interpersonal. My goal is to create a respectful and safe environment in which a client can seek my guidance. I highly respect the strength it takes to open one’s life to a stranger and ask for help. Early in treatment, I also assess the quality of my client’s support system since social support tends to serve as a buffer from the negative effects of stress and trauma.

My knowledge of psychodynamic theory helps me determine the usefulness of a childhood history focus in working with an individual client or couple. Client preference is also important in making this determination. I do not automatically assume that every client needs to make his or her childhood a major focus. However, there are times when the past is adversely affecting the present and impeding moving forward in life.

A cognitive behavioral approach involves helping clients develop more adaptive ways of thinking about a problem or their lives while also developing more constructive behaviors. Habitual, maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors often play a big role in keeping clients feeling stuck or unhappy, especially when there is limited awareness of these patterns. working with thoughts and behaviors is almost always a part of my work with clients. It involves the practical life application of what is learned during psychotherapy sessions.

flourishI am often asked about my style of psychotherapy. I am an interactive therapist. I listen well and believe in having a dialogue with my clients. I ask questions, give feedback about specific issues, and share my knowledge of healthy behaviors. I also respect the self knowledge people have gained from their life experience. My approach involves helping clients rely on their current strengths and also developing new resources or coping skills. I often help clients develop a greater appreciation for the individual differences between people in regard to temperament, defense mechanisms, and learned behavior. This is particularly important in couples counseling. however an appreciation for differences and for one’s individual uniqueness can diminish individual suffering by helping clients accept both the positive and negative aspects of their strongest personality traits and use these more adaptively. I also highly value goal setting, since many people begin therapy feeling overwhelmed, one of the first treatment tasks is to establish goals and objectives. This can break down diffuse problems into manageable parts. Throughout the psychotherapy process, I ask for client input, so together we can evaluate objectives and refine them as needed.