My Approach to Helping
My approach is to listen, observe and meet you where you are. Your stories, needs, darkest hours and brightest moments take center stage when you are in my office. I focus on helping you feel heard, supported, and understood in pursuit of your goals. I strongly believe that, with the right support, you can have the life that feels healthy, meaningful, and whole.
Choosing to be in therapy is a big step. Finding the right therapist is an important part of the process. I provide counseling and psychotherapy that is collaborative and results-oriented. Informed by your personal style and level of motivation, I use psychodynamic and behavioral therapies to help you set and achieve realistic goals. I am guided by the belief that the quality of my therapeutic relationship with you is a core and primary component to your treatment. As such, I offer a free initial consultation by phone to help you and I get an initial sense for our capacity to work as a team.
More Info About My Practice
FREE PHONE CONSULTATION to help you determine if my therapeutic approach will meet your needs.
Sessions are available by Skype or Phone for established clients.
Connecticut Department of Public Health - Licensed Professional Counselor
Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies - approved Facilitator
National Board for Certified Counselors - National Certified Counselor
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Are you worried about the effects of divorce on your children? As a Facilitator for the CT state-mandated Parent Education Class (PEP), I am experienced in teaching strategies that can reduce the harmful effects of family disruption, such as divorce or separation, on children. I help parents, either together or individually, create the most developmentally appropriate way to introduce the change in family structure to their children.
Kids are often caught in the middle of the divorce conflict; research indicates that consistent parental conflict harms children physically and emotionally throughout their adult lives. As a Co-Parenting Counselor, I can help you find a new way forward so that your kids can have a different outcome. Divorce breeds fear in parents (with regard to many issues) and when people experience fear they become anxious and react quickly. I will help you step back, assess and formulate the action that best meets the needs of your children.
Providing impartial third party conflict resolution, I coach parents who are in the process of divorce or who are recently divorced how to de-escalate conflict, reduce anxiety, and make the optimal parenting choices for their children.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
Imagine what it would be like to wake up and find everything better.
Psychotherapy is a talking-based therapy that I use to help clients understand their feelings. Through this collaborative process, we work as a team to identify what makes you feel positive, anxious, or depressed. This can equip you to cope with difficult situations in a more adaptive way. Psychotherapy is especially effective in treating depression, anxiety, and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Together we will identify and address the issues that stand in the way of reaching your goals, whether you are facing challenges in your career, relationships, or in your emotional well-being. Psychotherapy is a challenging, rewarding and profound process of self-discovery and change.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
AFTER DIVORCE - BUILDING A NEW LIFE
Getting over and moving beyond a divorce is a perfect time to recreate your life. Do you feel overwhelmed? Lost? Isolated? It is natural to experience these emotions during and after a critical life-changing event. My understanding and support during this time will allow you to have the necessary structure and comfort level in order to create the life you desire. We will focus on working through the unfinished business of the relationship you have left behind and identifying any patterns or unconscious behaviors that may get in your way moving forward. There is life after divorce - and it can be wonderful. Let's get you started on that journey.
What Makes up a Problem?
If these words are being hurled at you day in and day out, you probably feel pretty lousy about yourself. The incessant reminders that you are not living up to your potential frustrate you. You want to do better. You know you can do better.
Self-recrimination and endless criticism create a vortex that sucks you into a bog of self-doubt and negativity. You are stuck and don?t know how to get unstuck. You are mired in a cycle of failing-to-get-things-done and feeling bad about it.
Parents, teachers, and others who want you to succeed express disappointment at your lack of motivation, difficulty focusing, absence of inspiration, and apparent disregard to consequences. They have difficulty refraining from criticism. Their statements convey disappointment, frustration, and anger. Do threats and badgering inspire you to put forth your best effort? Probably not.
Surely there is a better way to motivate you. Like other behavioral issues, doesn?t it make sense to address the cause of the symptoms?
Laziness and procrastination share many of the same symptoms: lack of motivation, difficulty focusing, absence of inspiration, and apparent disregard to consequences. Although they can look the same, there is actually a big difference between laziness and procrastination: the element of willingness.
A procrastinator is someone who is willing to do the task and intends to get started but puts it off despite knowing that they will be worse off for doing so. For example, you have a significant social studies project due in three weeks. Despite having every intention of completing and handing in the project, you delay starting the project until the day before it is due. You will now suffer the consequence of turning in a sub par, last minute attempt or losing points for being late - or both. You may feel shame, embarrassment, or self-directed anger at your failure to do your best. You have the sense of letting down both yourself and the people rooting for you.
On the other hand, if you are lazy you had no intention of doing the project in the first place. You are unwilling to exert the effort. And the negative consequences are inconsequential to you.
Why do you procrastinate and how can you fix this behavior?
The tendency to procrastinate is often blamed on poor time management and organization skills. Frustrated parents and teachers try to help by providing executive function support and visual planners. If those steps have curtailed your struggle with procrastination - great! Problem solved.
However, being told that better planning and time management will fix the issue is a frustrating message to receive if you procrastinate for other reasons - reasons that you may not be aware of or are unable to express. There is not a one-size-fits-all remedy for procrastination. Telling a procrastinator ?you should just do it now? or ?you should plan better? is pretty much the same as telling someone who is depressed ?be happy.? It?s ineffective. And annoying. And dismissive of the underlying condition. The end result is to exacerbate the symptoms.
Research indicates that deficient self-regulation - not time management skills - is the primary cause of procrastination. Self-regulation is the ability to manage emotions and behaviors in accordance with the demands of a given situation. Certainly poor time management and paucity of executive function skills may compound the problem, but the inability to manage emotions is the foundation of procrastination.
In other words, all the time management skills in the world won?t help you stop procrastinating if an emotional issue is at the crux of the problem.
How do emotional issues cause procrastination?
Think about this: you probably don?t enjoy feeling anxious, resentful, frustrated, bored or fearful. These are uncomfortable emotions that people in general try to avoid. These are aversive emotions; they drive us to avoid whatever stimulus triggers these emotions. Here are a few examples of how aversive emotions can affect your behavior:
If you have anxiety about walking into a party alone, then you will probably arrange to go with friends to avoid feeling anxious.
If your coach constantly accuses you of putting forth poor effort when you are actually playing your heart out, then you may begin to put forth poor effort to ease your resentment - or quit the team to avoid bad feelings altogether.
If trying to reason with your parents about curfew (or any other rules) gives you frustration, then you may not bother broaching the subject - you will just face the consequences later.
If you find playing Monopoly with your younger siblings boring, then you will go to great lengths to persuade them to do something else.
If you are fearful about inviting a certain person to be your prom date, then you may choose to invite someone you know will accept even though you might face regrets later.
When the task at hand elicits an aversive emotion, you are tempted to put off the task in order to avoid feeling the uncomfortable emotion. If working on a science project makes you feel anxious, resentful, frustrated, bored, or fearful of failure, then you are likely to put off working on the project. Procrastination is an avoidance strategy: watching youtube, checking instagram, texting friends, going to parties...doing anything to avoid those negative emotions while still intending to complete the task.
On the flip side, although it enables you to avoid the uncomfortable feelings temporarily, the act of procrastinating actually intensifies those negative feelings as the science project?s due date approaches. You know this. But, since you are a teen, what is happening right now is more significant to you than what will happen at a later time. Procrastination is a maladaptive coping mechanism. It makes you worse off in the long run.
Another emotion that manifests in procrastination is depression. Depression is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, difficulty focusing, and a lack energy. If you are wrestling with these symptoms you will find it very difficult to start and complete that dreaded science project - and almost any other project. The sense of failure you might get by not turning in the project or by being called ?lazy? is likely to deepen your depression. You may react with anger or you may create a facade of not caring in a subconscious reaction to the pain of not being understood or not feeling supported: your failure is not because you don?t want to do something, it?s because you can?t. You are not lazy, you are depressed.
So with the understanding that procrastination is not laziness but a symptom of something else, we know that the underlying cause must be addressed in order to remediate its expression. It is possible that your procrastination may be caused solely by poor executive function and time management skills. However, it is more likely that your procrastination is rooted in something deeper.
Acknowledging that procrastination is a maladaptive behavior that is symptomatic of an emotional-based issue is a start. There is a reason that you procrastinate. Let?s figure it out. Refocus your energy from beating yourself up to solving the problem.
I help teens identify the underlying issue and replace procrastination with healthy coping strategies.