My Approach to Helping
Have you ever felt trapped or adrift in the sea of life; found yourself concerned that the people who you most need and love just don't understand you? You don't have to go it alone. I believe that as a therapist I need to begin by allying with you, the space in which we work both physically and metaphorically will be non-judgmental, individually tailored, and centered on your strengths. I do not believe that asking for help means you are sick.
I compare the roll of therapist with the shaman or priest, as being a calling rather than career. I approach the therapeutic alliance we will forge as a bridge of healing, be it the heart or the soul. My philosophical orientation as a therapist is built on combining the schools of Humanistic Psychology and Eco-psychology, with the foundations of Systems Theory (and the new sciences) as applies to psychology and human relationships. We are complex beings living in culturally diverse multilateral social organizations; to ignore the impact of these many forces on our lives is simply unwise. Our sessions will be a place of learning, an exchange of knowing and questioning.
What are my values? Do I make a difference? Questions and reflection on the essential characteristics of being lie at the heart of healthy human behavior. Drawing on someone familiar with your concerns, interested in your values and engaged in your success is not weakness; it is a healthy human need.
More Info About My Practice
As part of my commitment to social justice and making mental health care available to those who may, due to income, be unable to afford it, a portion of my scheduled sessions will be made available at subsidized rates based on individual need and circumstance.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I have experience and familiarity with the complexity of non-traditional relationships, in particular relationships involving more then two partners (Polyamory, Open Marriage, and Ethical Non-Monogamy.) I am trained in providing Couples therapy using both Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. And I have adapted some of the methods of these forms to relationships of more then two.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION & GENDER ORIENTATION
I also specialize in working with Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgendered individuals and couples. As well as offering therapeutic support to parents and allies of LGBTQI individuals.
SEX AND SEXUALITY
Sexuality is as much a critical component of our lives, and as much a part of relationships, as emotion and understanding. I am a certified sex educator and therapist, I support those who choose to lead a sex positive lifestyle, and I am a kink knowledgeable mental health professional.
HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
As a mental health provider who has signed the HAES pledge I believe once needs to honor their body, and make decisions based on what respects their health and well-being rather then being chained to mass media images and units of measurement that support a fleeting and flexible illusion of beauty, rather then being in service to joy and vitality.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
One of my personal 'wounds' was from what I refer to as harmful and disruptive therapy. That experience was one of the struggles that I believe made me a better therapist. In my experience the best therapists have unconditional positive regard for their clients, are non-judgmental, and most importantly have an awareness of their own biases that can impact the therapeutic relationship.
Good healers are warm, attentive, interested in knowing where you are at, and communicate a sense of safety. The best overflow with acceptance and can meet you in the emotional place you are at, and hold space for your emotions without being overwhelmed by them. Most importantly a good therapist accepts and welcomes the input and critique of the one('s) being served.
Have you had a negative therapy experience? I invite you to discuss that with me in as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with, and I implore you to tell me what you feel did not work to your benefit in the past.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
Find someone who you feel comfortable with. While their specialization, education, or thoughts on one method against another are worth exploring, being able to sit, and make a human connection with the therapist is the greatest predictor of success I know of.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
In my personal journey toward my calling I felt the concept of "the wounded healer" aligned strongly with my values and beliefs. The idea is that you must know the darkness before you can confront it, you must experience the dark night of your own soul before you can emerge to can serve the light. It is rare that someone comes to this calling without having faced their own demons, and that therapists, by virtue of their humanity will also have suffered emotional wounds.
Coming out, questioning an essential part of my being, and coming to terms with society and cultures stigmas and labels, Navigating the complex dance of relationship and discovering that the human soul is often capable of passionate love and honoring more then one person, Loss of the beloved and learning to accept my own imperfections have all informed and improved my ability help those I serve.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
So much depends on exactly what situation you present and how much you want to accomplish at this time. While some people come in for a very particular question or decision (resulting in very brief therapy), others come in determined to shift many longstanding issues (which can mean remaining in therapy for a year or more). The answer to this question depends on you and your goal(s) for therapy.
My goal is to help you reach your goal or goals. Along that line of thinking, I usually recommend that clients schedule appointments every week so we can get traction with the problem and move more quickly toward change. There are cases where every other week appointments can be sufficient, especially if you put effort into change between sessions.
Ultimately, therapy is a collaborative process, we will work together to determine what our goals of therapy will be. Depending on the nature of the goals, we will decide realistically how frequently and for how long the therapy is likely to be for you. In the end, you as the client have the final say.