My Approach to Helping
I’ve been a licensed marriage and family therapist for 31 years, as well as a life and career coach. I’ve worked in community mental health, substance abuse treatment, and private practice.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in some kind of crisis. I see the crisis as a unique opportunity to grow: to change behaviors and attitudes that no longer serve us and to find new and more authentic ways of being.
Clearly, relationships have hurt us—especially our early ones. Relationships also offer us the best hope for healing. My priority is to make the therapy relationship one of mutual honesty, compassion, and growth—and a place to learn skills to get through life’s challenges with grace.
In the therapy session, I work to create a safe place for us to be our true, human selves—where both our worst and best qualities will in time be revealed. I work in the here-and-now, exploring your present concerns and goals more than your past history. I know that empathy promotes healing and I regularly ask for feedback to be sure my clients feel understood. I provide resources, tools, and skills that clients can use between sessions. I also work to help people learn self-compassion (see www.self-compassion.org) since that ability is necessary to heal and grow.
I am committed to continually growing my skills and clinical understanding. With couples, I draw on my training with Sue Johnson in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. I am also studying and practicing nonviolent communication—a powerful language for emotions and human needs—and find this model to be helpful with clients. In my sessions, I strive to be as "real" as is clinically appropriate. In my experience, the therapist’s skillful revealing of his/her emotions in response to the client is central to the healing process.