My Approach to Helping
I see therapy as a process of discovery about you and how you relate to yourself and to the world. It is a process where, as I help you to talk about your thoughts and feelings, you can learn to create the life and relationships that really work. As we focus on the issues you bring to therapy, our talking will affect the ways in which you relate to the world and how you experience the ways in which the world impacts on and influences you.
For some, therapy is about problem solving and may be crisis oriented. For others, therapy may be useful in dealing with difficult feelings like depression, anger or anxiety. Therapy can be helpful with relationships that are problematic. I have found that patients are often surprised to discover that the difficulties they have in one relationship have so much in common with other significant relationships in their lives. This may, for example, result in finding that problems one has in dealing with a boss are similar to those experienced with a partner or parents. It can be scary and exciting to become aware of how you (like all of us) repeat patterns that create limits for a more satisfying life. In our work you can learn to change these old ways of behaving.
I work with a wide range of issues and specialize in working with young adults who have difficulties with separation and transitioning into adulthood and with parents who struggle with the separation and individuation of their children.
More Info About My Practice
My clinical approach is not based on one particular theory. I don't see what I do as one size fits all. As I get to know you, the theoretical approach or approaches I take will evolve from our work together. I see everyone as different and I respect those differences. This means I make a particular effort to work without judgment.
I supervise therapists in individual and group supervision. I focus on working with therapists whose patients are struggling with Separation/Individuation issues.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
After training as a Psychotherapist I realized that being a clinician meant I also had to be a student and a researcher. I am always studying and learning from people that I work with. As a researcher, I have found that most personal struggles are related to difficulties knowing and /or expressing what we think, feel and need. The process by which we learn to know and express our own unique voice, differentiated from the voices of our significant others, is the Separation/Individuation process.
Individuation/Separation is an issue that is a fundamental part of human development. Over the years that I have worked as a psychotherapist, I have found that almost everyone who I have worked with has struggled with some aspect of this process. As a result, I have become increasingly attuned to this basic issue in the struggles of my patients and I have accumulated a great deal of experience and worked with a very wide range of problems in this area.
Everyone needs to develop their own unique self if they are to be separate functioning individuals in the world. The variety of conflicts that people encounter on their way to becoming individuals is astounding. Becoming a person requires saying yes to oneself: yes to what I like, yes to what I want, yes to what I feel, etc. One must also be able to say no to others. This requires tolerating a wide range of uncomfortable feelings. My work is about helping you get comfortable with uncomfortable and intolerable feelings.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Recently, George came to see me for a consultation. He had graduated college several years before, was working in finance and hated it and he couldn't seem to make relationships with women work. He felt anxious and depressed and told me he had been considering coming to therapy for a long time but felt it would be proof that he was weak and couldn't take care of himself. He worried that he might be a wimp and he added that he particularly didn't want his father or his co-workers to find out.
As George and I talked, I told him that I had such a different idea about what the choice of coming to therapy indicated about a person's character. I told him that I believed the choice to seek therapy when you were unable to create the life you wanted for yourself was a sign of strength. It indicated to me that you had the capacity to assess your situation and decide a course of action to make things better. It meant you were not stuck going around in circles trying to make something work when it wasn't working. In other words, knowing when to seek help vs. staying stuck in the same problems and issues is an assertive act.
When you are in a family, social or work group that doesn't appreciate the merits of therapy or doesn't understand the courage it takes to address your problems and look at yourself and your life, it is even more impressive that you can seek help. I believed that some day George would be proud of his choice.