My Approach to Helping
I use a holistic approach that focuses on the family system in its entirety, and not just the distressed member. I believe and recognize that people are part of a broader system that includes family, community, work, culture and belief systems. Therefore, all interventions and solutions that I create considers the presence of people's belief systems, their family of origin, and work as an integral part of their lives. I generally use a non-directive approach in the narrative and collaborative style by listening to the client'(s) stories while working with the couple, individual, family or professional. I also use an active manner in which I address your family's organization and style by identifying with the children and parents, affirming the family or professional's strengths, monitoring interpersonal distance, and re-framing each person's view of reality. I work hard to respect family hierarchies, especially of authority and values, people's supporting subsystems, and "speak" the language of the family. Within this approach, I will seek to determine each partner's, family member's or professional's growth areas or most disagreement areas that they want to improve. Simple and brief questionnaires and scaling may be used intermittently to assess or discuss these growth areas.
Most recently, I am pursuing training in trauma-informed care, and I am EMDR-trained to help clients manage their trauma. I continue to experiment with innovative and collaborative practices, believing that the human experience is one dominated by how people make meaning and engage in daily conversations using stories as the medium for this exciting and transformational (becoming and change) experience. My approach to mediation in family conflicts is a combination of collaboration, facilitation, and transformation, with an aim of lessening conflict, fostering self-reliance, building self-esteem and finding a harmonious resolution for all parties.
More Info About My Practice
I accept several insurance plans and will file your claim for you if you are covered by one of them. If your plan has a co-pay for office visits, I am required to collect the co-pay before our session begins. If you do not have insurance, I will ask you to pay at the end of the session. I accept cash, direct pay modes (such as bank-to-bank), Visa, and MasterCard.
Services may be covered in full, or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. Please contact your insurance provider with the following questions:
Do I have mental health insurance coverage?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my mental health benefits cover for mental health and counseling or therapy?
What is my co-pay?
Do I need a pre-authorization? If the answer to this question is "yes," please obtain a pre-authorization code and bring it to your first session and present it to your therapist.
My rate for an individual 60-minute session is $95-$100. Rates for couples and family sessions are available upon request. I also conduct Anger Management and teen groups on a demand basis.
My Role as a Therapist
I believe my client is the expert, knower, and narrator of his, her, or their stories. Subsequently, I, as the therapist can take a lesser (subordinate) role in this interactional process we call therapy. Adopting the theory that "language" is a communication tool, as a collaborative therapist, I assume a non-expert, and curious posture while relinquishing the focus of story-telling expertise to you, my clients.
My role in the therapeutic relationship is one of facilitator and guide in the negotiating process of the here-and-now conversation. Thus, as your therapist, I will exhibit empathy, concern, respect, compassion, diligence, patience, humility and curiosity during the entire process to maximize a joint partnership with you as my client. By minimizing hierarchy in the therapeutic process, I can relate with you as my client(s) as a way of "being" with you and to establish a rapport, which is a necessity in this change and evolving process.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
Many clinical examples of what a practitioner experiences underscore the importance of understanding the psychological underpinnings at play during therapy. This understanding allows me, as the therapist to more fully understand the primary role that a personality disorder serves, as well as the function and meaning of the projections that are unconsciously transferred onto the therapist. With this understanding in mind, I can conceptualize counter-transference and its therapeutic meanings within the transference-countertransference matrix. Another strategy is for me to reasonably anticipate the different kinds of counter-transferences I can expect depending upon the presenting diagnosis (whether it is narcissism, borderline, or schizoid). Primarily, by ruling out the improbable diagnoses, I can craft the best treatment plan to address the presenting problems that facilitate developing a feasible goal-achievement for my client. As the client manages "hisherziehirs" (gender pronouns) symptoms and processes and the core effects from the abandonment of depression, the degree of projection disappears, and so does the counter-transference to the therapist. Constant debriefing with a professional helper, colleagues, and peer support have become a part of the routine for me as a practitioner.
The bottom line to managing counter-transference stress is through vigilant self-monitoring, staying abreast of professional education, and remaining curious as a continuous learner.