I specialize in treating trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, grief, unstable moods, interpersonal conflict, life transitions, and professional development.
In individual therapy, I will help you identify and work through issues that are causing you emotional distress. I will not only help you understand your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, but regain a feeling of control and pleasure in life. It may be the first time you feel a sense of control and pleasure in life.
I believe that people possess substantial personal wisdom and expertise and given the right support can change in ways they never thought possible. As such, my approach respects your autonomy and choice, is strength-based, and comes from a place of non-judgment. At the core, therapy is a collaborative process, requiring effort and hard work from both of us.
I use evidence-based principles to guide the therapeutic work that I do in order to help my clients reach their goals. I have a warm yet direct style when working with clients and my approach fits each client specifically. This includes honoring and respecting one’s racial, gender, socio-economic identity, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual life, family and personal history, and other cultural identities. At anytime, you can ask questions about the therapy process, revisit our goals, and make changes to our plan.
Theories and Modalities I Specialize In
Many of my clients will learn to better understand their emotions and the parts that make up themselves; the self-critic, the people pleaser, the inadequate part, the judge. Better understanding of our parts can help us recognize “who” is showing up at any particular moment and making our life’s decisions. With these new insights we can begin to listen to and nourish our less-extreme parts and lead from a more effective and authentic self.
My therapy practice is integrative, drawing heavily from Internal Family Systems (IFS), Emotion Focused therapy (EFT), and Attachment and Psychodynamic Theories. I integrate Cognitive/Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (CBT and DBT) and Mindfulness based approaches into this base. I will work with you to determine an approach that best suits your individual needs.
I encourage you to raise any concerns you have about how therapy is working and ask any questions that will help you understand how I work. I also encourage all clients to evaluate carefully whether they feel comfortable working with me since therapy involves a commitment of time, money, and energy. If it seems like I would not be the best person to help you I will be happy to provide you with some referrals to other mental health professionals in my network.
Trauma and PTSD - Past vs. Present Focused Models of Treatment
I am passionate about helping individuals overcome trauma and I have a particular interest in the intersection of trauma and substance misuse, a very common dual-diagnosis.
PTSD can occur after you experience a traumatic event or series of life events. Those events may have caused intense fear, powerlessness, or horror. Traumatic events may include abuse, rape, natural disaster, war, or accidents. PTSD can also be caused by witnessing traumatic events such as domestic violence. If you have experienced trauma, it is normal for it to linger with you. It is quite common to use drugs or alcohol to numb or access various emotions and experiences.
In past-focused models of treatment for trauma/PTSD, the client tells the trauma story in full detail as a way to face the feelings that arise from it. Examples of past-focused models include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and exposure therapy.
In present-focused models, the client learns coping skills to improve functioning (e.g., social skills, relaxation, grounding, and cognitive restructuring). Examples of present-focused models include stress and anxiety management training. Research indicates, overall, that both present- and past-focused models are effective.
In my practice I emphasize staying present. We will work to understand the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that first existed in order to survive, but now are causing problems in your life. We will work to understand, why these ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving were crucial at one point, but must now be replaced by more effective versions that will not lead to further suffering. In present-focused PTSD treatment, attaining safety is the overarching goal.