My Approach to Helping
I know how it feels to struggle with anxiety and depression, to feel held back by your thoughts and emotions--so I know it's probably hard to believe that there are ways to lead a happy life in spite of these challenges. I can help you learn ways to overcome these obstacles to find realistic, attainable happiness. But first, you need to hear this: You can't "just snap out of it." You can't just "think happier thoughts." "Don't worry, be happy" is a catchy song that just doesn't work with real anxiety. If the answer were simple and obvious, you'd have figured that out by now.
Due to the recent global pandemic, you’ve probably found yourself stuck at home a lot more often. The good news is that quality, effective counseling can still take place using telehealth--live video sessions from the comfort of your own home or workplace.
While quarantine conditions may give you a chance to spend more time with family or to relax or get caught up on sleep (if you're lucky), it also gives you a lot of time to worry. And there’s no lack of material to feed your anxiety right now, with every news station and pretty much every person talking about the Coronavirus. It might be helpful to talk with someone who understands anxiety. Talking about anxiety can help decrease it in many circumstances, although what’s even more helpful is to learn more about how anxiety works and how to more effectively cope with it when it arises. Even with life as unpredictable as it is right now, there are techniques you can learn to help you loosen anxiety’s grip.
I know what anxiety feels like, and I know it can take over people’s lives sometimes—or maybe even a lot of the time. I also know what real, achievable anxiety coping looks like, and I know that it would be a lie to say that you can completely rid yourself of anxiety forever. I am confident that you can learn how to vastly decrease how strongly anxiety affects your quality of life.
I work heavily with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; I help clients learn about the connection between their own thoughts and their resulting feelings, and how that will usually guide the way they act. I teach most clients about common thinking errors as a starting point to help them begin considering how their own thoughts may be sculpting their view of the world. I also help people learn simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. I try to give clients a gentle, realistic intro to meditation, since I know it can feel frustrating for many people. I encourage people to essentially question their own thinking ("Don't believe everything you think"), particularly if that thinking is leading to unhappiness a lot of the time.
Maybe you have been considering couples counseling for a while now, but you aren't sure what therapy sessions will be like and whether or not they'll actually help. You want to learn to communicate better with your partner, but you don't want you or your partner to feel unfairly blamed by the counselor.
I use a well-researched approach to couples therapy that is called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is structured in a way that keeps partners from feeling blamed or ganged-up on by the counselor and the other partner. Neither you nor your partner will feel blamed or singled-out, because we will not be focusing on figuring out who is "right" or "wrong" in the relationship. We will be looking at how YOUR thoughts, feelings, and actions make sense, and how YOUR PARTNER'S thoughts, feelings, and actions make sense as well.
If we look deeper at many arguments between partners, we discover that these arguments often start because one partner is feeling a lack of emotional connection, trust, or safety (emotionally) around the other partner. EFT helps partners learn about and address their underlying needs and fears in the relationship. As you and your partner feel more emotionally safe and connected, it will become easier to navigate the normal conflicts that arise in your relationship. With a new, deeper understanding of each other and of your typical patterns of interaction, both you and your partner will feel less defensive and more open to communicating clearly with each other. During your counseling sessions, you will both get the chance to actually practice new ways of communicating.