I work with adolescents, adults and families to provide guidance, education and support as they find their own way to meet life’s challenges. Together, in a safe, confidential counseling relationship, we explore patterns and beliefs that interfere with vitality and growth. Clients can experience a renewed sense of well-being and empowerment while addressing difficulties in some of the following areas:
My approach to therapy
Frequently, clients who enter therapy are unsure of what to expect.
Every person and situation is unique. Psychotherapy can cover a range of options. I tailor treatments to a client’s individual needs in an atmosphere of safety, mutuality and respect.
Primarily, I use a “talk therapy” approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Through questioning, careful listening and supportive feedback, I assist you to understand your situations more clearly and to reveal their meaning and value to you. It is also possible in the process of therapy to discover, revise and transform long-held, but distorted beliefs about one’s self and the world. From this point new possibilities emerge. Together we explore your new options and develop a strategy to address your concerns. My approach is also Mindfulness-based because part of our work will be to train your body and mind to relax, center and observe your experience.
Therapy can be a brief and effective way to address “stuckness” and create change.
Sometimes we find ourselves and our relationships stuck in painful, self-limiting patterns. For example, some unwanted or unpleasant behavior or experience interferes or causes family discord and we need help. Short-term therapy is typically directed toward relieving symptoms. We can develop a plan for short-term concentration on specific issues such as increasing an adolescent’s success in school, or improving family communication. When negative patterns persist, we can lapse into confusion and pain that has its origin in negative self-beliefs, frequently from childhood. Although acknowledging and working through the past is important, it is equally essential to begin a path that is future-focused and positive. In these cases, the focus of therapy is to identify problem areas, learn new patterns and skills and develop practical, realistic plans and goals.
Therapy is no longer about healing the mentally ill, but more about learning and understanding yourself, becoming more capable and confident to make intelligent choices in your life.
We could also develop a more long-term focus for more complex issues aimed at insight and awareness. Long-term therapy addresses more holistic healing and involves creating “right relationship at all levels of our experience.” The emphasis here is on awareness of experience and connecting to the body/mind.
Many kinds of difficult situations occur throughout our lives.
We often try to protect ourselves from these by backing away from our emotional pain and vulnerability. As a result we feel ill at ease, confused and stuck in undesirable situations and habitual patterns. When we investigate our patterns, thoughts and emotions compassionately, then we can gently release their grip. Mindfulness practices train us to increase our ability to be present to all life brings. We can learn from the past, release it and fully experience the present, while at the same time move dynamically into the future. Clients report that therapy helps them to improve communication skills and relationships, heal addictions and increase creativity and choice.
Every decade of the life cycle brings new challenges.
Sometimes how we have coped in the past no longer serve us. Periodically, we need to review our past and re-vision our future. Therapy can help to probe into the deeper meaning of our lives, engage with our inner guidance and move beyond our current limitations. Therapy can be an effective means to chart a new direction in life and rediscover purpose and passions.
Each person has a unique way of processing the world and expressing themselves.
Some people can express themselves best in words; others may access their inner experience better in other ways. While we work together a client learns more about the unique way they are in the world.
I am experienced with some alternative modalities, like the mandala-based MARI process. This is a symbolic and interesting way to get at some emotionally charged issues gently. Clients respond very positively to this tool and these sessions can be also scheduled independently of therapy.
The goal of therapy is to return a sense of balance and vitality to the whole person — body, mind & spirit.
Sometimes in the course of treatment it is appropriate to work with primary care providers on a complementary approach to wellbeing. I am happy to collaborate with doctors and other healers and to direct clients to alternative paths such as yoga, acupuncture, massage or energy work that will enhance psychotherapy.
One of the most frequent forms of suffering is the pain that comes with thoughts and feelings that there is something wrong with us.
I do not approach my work from the perspective of deficiencies and disorders that need to be fixed. Each of us has a core sense of aliveness and inner wisdom. Difficult life experiences may lead us to create patterns that block this awareness. By identifying and gently shifting unproductive patterns we can release painful symptoms, overcome fears and explore alternative ways of being. A strength-based approach teaches clients to extract what is going well in their lives and relationships and build on that foundation.
With a strength-based approach clients learn to:
- Develop a non-judgmental, compassionate attitude toward oneself
- Deepen connection with others
- Heal the physiological and psychological effects of trauma and abuse
- Transform limiting core beliefs
- Cultivate the natural intelligence of body, mind and spirit
I have training in the Nurturing Heart Approach developed by Howard Glasser to enhance my skills for helping young people and their families achieve success and break negative patterns. It is positive, strength-based, practical and very effective for children who have difficulties and the adults who care for them. I have studied Imago Couples therapy and use this approach to help couples restore and deepen connection.