My Approach to Helping
My goal is to help my clients lead more fulfilling lives. To help, I must first understand the client’s experience, life story, and their goals for counseling. I listen without judgment and with real concern.
Of course, people seek therapy not just to talk, but to change. Various models of therapy help therapists show their understanding of a client’s challenges and make suggestions about how to address these issues. The therapist and client work together to create a plan that addresses the client’s goals and life situation, within the context of the client’s abilities.
I tend to draw upon behavioral approaches, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). I especially value ACT’s emphasis on understanding how a person’s values bring meaning and offer fulfillment. These values may include a client’s dreams and hopes, their spirituality, their culturally held beliefs, and their ethical philosophy.
I often use principles of mindfulness. When it is helpful to do so, I offer mindfulness meditation teaching in sessions. I have practiced meditation since 1998, and find that it helps me to bring mindfulness to my work.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I particularly like working with people who experience anxiety of all forms. The first area of anxiety I developed a special interest in is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It really strikes me how "crazy" people feel when they struggle with obsessive thoughts and the compulsions that go along with them. When you are able to help people change their reaction to their obsessive thoughts, it is remarkable the improvement they can experience.
I enjoy the whole range of anxiety disorders from the worry of generalized anxiety to the body focus of panic to the avoidance reminders of traumatic experiences from posttraumatic stress. It feels like this is an area where I understand people's experiences and where the ways I tend to work with people seem to make a difference, often very quickly.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I love to help people. I was an economics major as an undergraduate and worked in business for about five years. Each day the question: "What have I done to make the world a better place?" haunted me. Being a therapist gives me the opportunity to do that every day in a very direct way.
I get to see both the huge diversity of human experience and the remarkable commonality we all share. Most of all I get to see the difference that sharing a burden with another person, looking at things in a new way or making small changes in what you do, can make in a person's life.