My Approach to Helping
People usually come to see me because they have reached state of distress over a repeating pattern of behavior or a situation/relationship that isn't working for them. Or they know a part of their lives SHOULD be working better, but they don't know what to do about it. They often feel stuck, out of options, exhausted, and ashamed to be dealing with whatever the issue is.
My first instinct is to listen, to hear what is happening, what is being thought and expressed both verbally and through the body about that, and to let the person know...I can understand, and I don't judge. When people feel unconditional respect and care, it so often can change the quality of how they view their stories.
My practice is Collaborative meaning that if you have articulated choices along those lines, we will use those for the direction and style of the work. But some people don't really have strong ideas in mind as to whether they want clear goal setting, or a more body centered approach, for example, so I ask if we can start with something and then I check in with how effective it seems. We may try something else, and I will be encouraging you to be open about hating it, if that's the way you feel. Many of the people who come to see me have struggled for a long time not knowing what they are feeling in the moment, and then never daring to express it if they did. I try to create a place where experimenting with emotions, communication, ideas, Life Skills, identity, different ways of working on things or leaving them alone feels natural, taking oneself lightly feels like a practice that is healthy and not about denial, and each person taking chances on trusting their own instincts at least as much as they trust others opinions, sounds like a good idea. It may be shocking to hear after all that, I consider Psychology a "hard science". But after over 20 years of being able to study the brain, there is scientific proof for what we always "knew". And isn't that validating!
Couples (or Moresomes) usually come to me complaining about issues that are keeping them from living the richness of their relationship. I first set up a framework where the work can take place in somewhere people can feel somewhat safe. We all agree to the rules we develop together, some of which are non-negotiable, and then we move forward. I listen, a lot, I learn their culture, and together we track down where the misunderstandings have taken place, where shared meaning and connection have broken down and resentments have festered. We practice Non Violent Communication to keep defensiveness low and hearing high. Together we focus on what is working and find solutions for perpetual issues. I help partners remember the amount of time and energy they were putting into their intimacy and romance when they first got together and assess where they are with that now. I am very sensitive to partners feeling like they are getting less attention and so I am fastidious about working with the Relationship and keeping things clear.