My Approach to Helping
Are you living your life the way you always thought you would?
Are you struggling to find meaning with your life?
Do people tell you you're "too emotional"?
Do you find yourself repeating unfortunate patterns and behaviors and don’t know why?
Would you like to be flourishing?
I help clients understand the decisions they make, clarify their direction and purpose, and map out steps toward the life they really want; a Life Worth Living. Whether your issues stem from early life trauma, racism, sexism, religious tradition, ineffective communication skills, poor coping, low self-esteem, etc., I can help you recover that essential You and find joy in your life again.
To schedule a free consultation: https:www.counselingforresilience.com
More Info About My Practice
Clients are encouraged to think of therapy as part of a journey of Wellbeing, which includes attention to sleep, nutrition, self-expression, connectedness, and bodywork. Mindfulness is key and we will find ways for you to unlock its potential for your personal growth. I offer early and late hours to fit your busy schedule. Working with me, you will identify measurable goals to focus the experience of therapy and facilitate a growing sense of resilience, building towards a life that works for you. Deciding to seek counseling can be daunting for some people. I am passionate about putting people at ease and helping them to reclaim their Best Selves.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Yeah, so have I. Therapists who seemed more interested in their own stories than in helping me. Therapists who sat there silently, waiting for me to speak, not guiding the session at all. Therapists who tried to make me do what They wanted me to do. One therapist even let me tell me cry through the entire initial session, only to announce that she no longer had availability to see me! Bad therapy experiences are not easy to recover from and can really leave a bad taste in your mouth.
The fact is, it can take a while to find a "good fit" between client and therapist. When I worked in an Intensive Outpatient program, part of my job was helping my clients to find an outpatient therapist, before discharging them from our agency. I would encourage them to use the initial phone call to learn as much as they could, before making an appointment. I suggested they ask the therapist to "tell me about your approach to counseling." A therapist should be able to tell you, in a few sentences, how they work with clients and what their expectations are for the counseling relationship.
If you're thinking about seeing a therapist, think about what you'd like to know about them. Maybe even check out their website and see what you can learn, before you call. That way, you can have a sense of who they are and if you think it's a good fit, BEFORE the first counseling session. I offer free, initial consultations for new clients. If interested, call (609) 248-0536. Because my practice is online, I can see clients residing anywhere in NJ.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
Post-traumatic growth: We are not how-we-have-been-treated
Pretty much everyone has heard of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Not as many people are talking about Post-traumatic Growth. There IS life after trauma. I should know.
I grew up in a house with a mother who should not have had children. She had been emotionally and physically abused by her parents, and married my father when she was 20 years old, to get out of the house. My 21 year-old father did not have the maturity to help her heal the emotional scars caused by her parents' treatment of her and her sisters. My mother desperately wanted to be loved, so she started having children, thinking that they would give her the love she needed.
Of course, we all know it doesn?t work that way. Children learn about love and affection from their parents. A mother (or other caregiver) holds the child close, looking into their eyes and speaking in reassuring tones. This teaches the baby to feel safe and connect with their caregiver. As babies begin to verbalize, parents ?parrot? their sounds back to them, which reinforces their attempts to communicate with language. As they grow, children watch their parents and siblings for examples, and copy every gesture, every sound, every word in their environment. They learn to do more of the behaviors that get rewarded, and to reduce behaviors that get punished.
My mother observed harsh, angry speech in her house, and unremitting cruelty, so that?s what she brought into her marriage and how she raised her children. I?m sure my mother never once thought, ?I?m going to see how badly I can hurt my children, I really want them to suffer like I did.? Yet, she managed to grievously harm her children. Instead of the love and closeness she craved from her children, we hid from her in fear, and only spoke to her when we absolutely had to. My father also began avoiding her, staying away from the house as much as he could, and eventually, he left altogether, but we remained behind, frightened and lonely.
Because my mother did not take any time to heal from her painful childhood before marrying, she was unable to provide a better home for her children than the one she had, herself. But that doesn't have to be the way. There IS healing after trauma. It begins by recognizing that We Are Not How We Have Been Treated. The upbringing we had, or other devastating situations we have experienced, eg, sexual assault, death of a loved one, growing up in a violent neighborhood or war zone, auto accident, military service, etc., may have a powerful influence over us, but they do not define Who We Are.
According to the American Psychological Association, Post-traumatic growth is seen as positive change in the areas of:
Appreciation of life.
Relationships with others.
New possibilities in life.
We get to decide who we are and how we respond to tragedy in our lives. Each day, when we get up, we get a new chance to live the life we genuinely want to live; to be the person we genuinely want to be. The devastating things that have happened to us will always be a part of who we become, but they don't have to define us. We can choose to redeem those painful experiences, allowing them to turn us into resilient people with hearts full of compassion for others who suffer. It's not easy, it takes time and lots of work, but it SO worth it to have the freedom to no longer be controlled by the past.