My Approach to Helping
Each person has within them strength, wisdom and willingness to be more successful, more joyful and more free; we simply forget that we have it or we never knew that it was there. We all can use a gentle nudge to act in our own best interest from time to time. I have been fortunate in my life to have wonderful teachers and support communities that have helped me to progress on my journey toward being stronger, kinder and more loving. It is my honor to share my experience, strength, hope and expertise with other sweet souls who come to my office.
Change is hard and you don't have to do it alone; would you want to push your broken down vehicle all by yourself if others were offering to help you? Of course you wouldn't! That is what therapy is all about; not doing it by yourself but for yourself. Most of us are motivated by pain. The big changes in my life have been made because I was in enough pain and it took more energy to stay that way than it did for me to get help and change.
For most of us, the relationships that we have with others are the most important aspects of our lives. The closer the relationship is, the more challenging, difficult and fulfilling it is. It is impossible, in my experience, to live with a person, day after day, year after year, and not have thoughts of seriously wanting to hurt them. Communicating effectively and listening actively are not skills commonly taught in schools and they ought to be. Couples struggle with each person wanting to prove that they are right and their partner is wrong. Healthy communication is about hearing, understanding and validating one another. By coming to more completely understand and value one another, couples are able to have deeper, stronger and more fulfilling connections. Strong couples create strong families and strong communities.
Most relationships are in trouble for 5 to 7 years before they come to counseling for the first time, according to John Gottman's research. By the time most couples come to my office, they are deeply conflicted with years of tumultuous water under the bridge. I often hear partners say, "I am so sorry that we didn't come in sooner; this would have been so much easier years ago". Don't wait; call today.
More Info About My Practice
I am a Gottman Institute Certified Couples Therapist and this is the framework I use for conducting couple's therapy. The focus is on building fondness and admiration in the relationship while improving communication and promoting understanding for the couple. My role is not to decide who is "right" or "wrong" or to "take sides" in arguments; I am a facilitator. I have worked with a wide variety of couples: married, cohabiting, premarital, same sex and all religions and spiritual beliefs; all are, and have been, treated with dignity and respect. My personal belief is that everyone is entitled to be guided by their own hearts and minds and to make decisions based on their personal beliefs; as long as nobody gets hurts and everyone is above the age of consent, of course. Couple's work is my passion and the major emphasis of my practice. I will always continue to have a soft spot in my heart for people who struggle with alcohol and drugs (especially with nicotine) and will always make time in my schedule to ensure that they get the help they need.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
I encourage you to give it another try. I have had bad and abusive therapy myself; therapy and treatment have also saved my life and my marriage. Therapy when done with respect, experience and expertise can help you to make positive changes that will last a life time. Don't take my word for it, give me a call. If we feel that it is "not a good fit", I am well connected in the professional community and will get you to someone else who can help. In my private practice, GJB Health Services, there is a psychiatrist, neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, sex therapist, and family therapists. We also do neuropsychological testing, psychological testing and individual and executive coaching. We've got you covered.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
The only people that care about a diagnosis are the insurance companies. The diagnostic system that the professional community is forced to use was created by a group of doctors that negotiated and argued about the symptoms that should be present in order for a person to be classified as having Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc. The diagnostic categories are figments of the imaginations of doctors and clinicians; nothing more. Can a diagnosis classification be helpful? Sometimes. Diagnoses are helpful when they allow people to better understand and interpret their behavior and thoughts. Sometimes it can be comforting to understand that we are not terminally unique; that other people are having the same experience that we are having and that there is evidence based treatment out there that works.