My Approach to Helping
Are you someone who both loves the outdoors and is needing some help with your mental health? Maybe you are struggling with a difficult life transition or relationship. Maybe you are suffering from anxiety, stress, depressed mood, grief or loss, anger, or a spiritual or mid-life crisis. Are you looking to grow and transform so that you can live a more fulfilling life? If so, I can help, with nature as our healing partner.
My specialty is nature therapy (eco-therapy), which involves both meeting clients outdoors and integrating nature into the therapy process. I integrate psychotherapy, nature therapy, deep listening, mindfulness practice, somatic therapy and earth-based ceremonies into the healing process. I believe that our mind's connection to our body and to nature is key to healing. I will meet you in a safe space with kindness, compassion, and mindful attention to your story and your thoughts and emotions. I have found that therapy works better and more quickly with nature as our office. Accumulating research demonstrates that nature calms the nervous system and provides tangible mental and physical health benefits. Spirituality or religious practice can also be an important resource for your mental and emotional healing: I am trained to integrate whatever your spiritual perspective is into the counseling process (transpersonal psychotherapy), or to help you overcome a spiritual or religious crisis, and I also often work with those that do not identify as spiritual or religious.
Mindfulness practice can be a very important mental health tool that you can use in your daily life to support staying present, calm and accepting, to help you reduce stress and anxiety. I can teach you to practice mindfulness if you are not already practicing it. Another related tool that we may use together is somatic therapy, which can be helpful for processing trauma or other difficult emotional experiences. Somatic therapy gently allows your nervous system to become more balanced and regulated. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will be woven into our work organically, as we work to change unhelpful thought patterns and learn new behaviors that serve us better and help to alleviate our suffering.
More Info About My Practice
We usually meet outdoors at a trailhead or park in the greater Santa Fe area. Most sessions last 90 minutes in order to allow for talking and listening as well as experiential work involving nature, the body, meditation, or ceremony. Sometimes we hike or walk for the entire session, sometimes we walk very little, depending on what you prefer and what's going on with you any given session.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I love being a witness and guide for people growing and transforming. I love seeing the best in people, mirroring that to them and watching them bring it more out into the world. I love connecting deeply with what is real and true in people and learning about the people I serve. I love to be of service in making the world a better place, one person at a time. And I love to work outdoors in the beauty and peace of nature, where healing comes easier.
My Guiding Ethical Principles
First and foremost, I am guided by the principle that your well-being is more important than other considerations or my personal ideas, opinions or preferences. This means I strive to be self-aware and continually growing myself, so that my biases, ideas, and opinions do not harm our alliance. I will hold confidentiality and maintain professionalism, even though it may seem a less than professional relationship meeting outdoors and going for a walk. I will do my best to keep you safe in the outdoors, and communicate frequently with you about what you feel comfortable doing in the outdoors.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
The most important factor in choosing a therapist is finding one that you like and feel comfortable with. This provides the foundation for the therapist-client relationship, which overwhelming research has shown is by far the most important factor in the success of psychotherapy. Without a good relationship, therapy just doesn't work. I encourage you to shop around and try more than one therapist until you find one that 'feels right'. I will encourage you in our early sessions to both give me feedback on what seems helpful and not helpful, and to be willing to let me know if our 'fit' does not feel right, so that I can make a referral to another therapist that may be a better fit. Other factors to consider include a good fit between your needs and issues and the therapist's experience and skill set, as well as your preferred venue for receiving services (online, in office, outdoors).
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
Therapy may be brief or long-term: as short as several weeks, or as long as several years. It all depends on your issues, your preferences, your style of growth, and your willingness to work on things in between sessions. In the beginning of therapy, it is usually best to start with once a week, but sometimes only every other week is possible depending on your situation. As improvement happens, we may decide together that a change in frequency to once every other week or once a month is in order.