My Approach to Helping
Helping clients who had difficult childhoods is my passion. You may have experienced abuse (sexually, physically, or emotionally) or neglect as a child. Maybe you were bullied at school or your family members used drugs. Or maybe you simply had a strained relationship with your family members. Whatever the case may be, childhood events can have a lasting impact on your adult relationships, mental health, and emotional well-being. If you're struggling with depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, or relationship issues and don't know why, you might have some things in your past that have not been processed adequately.
I also see clients who are struggling after a breakup, divorce, or separation, are struggling with addiction, or alcoholism, are having a difficult time adjusting (to a new job, role, parenthood, relocating, marriage, etc.), and are generally feeling stuck in unhealthy patterns, and are unsure of how to proceed.
Above all, I counsel from a non-judgmental, collaborative, and holistic perspective. My approach to counseling involves tailoring a treatment plan to your strengths, resources, and needs. My practice is informed by the latest research to provide you with the best care possible.
More Info About My Practice
Because I believe that everybody deserves to have access to mental health services regardless of their financial situation, I offer a sliding scale fee structure to every client. Counseling should be an investment in yourself, but I don't think that investment should completely break the bank.
I am an out-of-network provider, which some insurance companies will cover (please refer to your insurance provider for more details). I am happy to provide you with an invoice, should you wish to pursue insurance reimbursement.
*If finances are a barrier to counseling, please contact me for available accommodations andor referral to a low-cost provider.
I run a few therapy groups throughout the year. Topics have included abuse, stress management, conflict resolution, parenting skills, healthy relationships & boundaries, chemical dependency education & support, relationship issues, and social skills, among others.
I offer morning, afternoon, and evening appointments at my Portland office.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Abuse, relationship issues, moving on after a breakupdivorceseparation, grief & bereavement, attachment issues, stressful life transitions (i.e., empty nest, career switch, midlife crisis, first-time parenthood, high school to college, moving to a new city, etc.), depression (i.e., bipolar, Seasonal Affective Disorder, major depression, etc.), self-esteem issues, shame & humiliation, anxiety disorders, chemical dependency issues, and women's & men's issues.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
When you become stressed out, depressed, and irritable, you can be burdened down by negative thoughts. Whether you are consciously or unconsciously aware, these thoughts have the ability to drastically impact your life.
Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all intertwined and influence each other. One approach to counseling seeks to intervene at one of these levels to impact the others. For example, if you work toward developing a mental filter that is more optimistic, your emotions and behaviors will likely follow suit. When you become accustomed to thinking about life from a negative perspective, you tend to isolate yourself, take fewer chances, have more negative interpersonal interactions, and your world becomes increasingly small. By challenging this negative perspective in therapy, you may begin to develop a perspective that is more balanced, acknowledging both the good and the bad in life.
My Role as a Therapist
As a counselor, I am not here to tell you what to do with your life, lecture you, or judge you. I am here to help you discover your feelings, to help motivate you, to provide a safe space for you to explore different options, to help you uncover your strengths, to help you work through trauma, and to assist you in making difficult decisions. The counseling session is all about you. You are the expert of your own life, and my approach to counseling honors that.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Counseling is both a science and an art. Because of this, therapists often approach counseling with their own unique style. The counselor's style might not fit well with yours. If this is the case, you, as the client, have the right to find a different counselor that is a better fit for you.
If you have had a negative counseling experience, I would encourage you to give it another shot. Speak on the phone with your prospective counselor before beginning therapy, ask questions, assert yourself if you are unhappy, and by all means, don't stick with a certain counselor if it's not a good fit.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
I am a survivor of abuse myself, whose life was changed for the better because of the counseling I received. From personal experience, it works, but it's not easy work. Revisiting painful memories doesn't sound pleasant, but by doing this essential work, you are transforming the context of those painful memories from something that you have no control over, to something that you have worked through and made personal meaning out of.
We all tell ourselves, and the world, a story about who we are. You get to create that story, and your story constantly evolves. When negative life events occur, you can either let it re-write your entire story, or you can let it write a chapter in your story. What I mean by this is that you get to decide how you frame the negative and positive events in your life.
Getting to a place where you can tell your story of overcoming adversity takes working through those past events first. Once you've worked through them with a counselor, you free yourself to begin re-writing your story from a perspective of tragedy to one of triumph.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
On the contrary, it takes guts and commitment to make the decision to see a counselor. It takes courage to admit that you need help, and to face your struggles head-on. I firmly believe that everybody should see a counselor at least once in their life because we all go through rough patches. This does not mean that you are weak or flawed. It means that you're human, like the rest of us.