My Approach to Helping
Trauma affects everyone differently: Some people can't stop thinking about what happened: Nightmares, fear, intrusive thoughts, or feeling "on edge" all the time. Others feel shook to their core: Self-doubt, shame, guilt, hearing voices, thoughts of suicide, being a perfectionist or workaholic or alcoholic. Maybe you blame yourself even though you know it wasn't your fault. Or, you lead a "double life": What you show people vs. what you really feel inside. Relationships seem impossible. You repeat the same problems and know it yet you can't stop.
Here's the thing: I like to say no one comes to therapy because life has been too awesome to them and their problems are too easy to fix. No, everyone coming to therapy has been through something and it is something they are struggling facing and figuring out. Things can be better, it just involves hard work and facing your fears. Usually, people need someone guiding them and pushing them with this; it's hard to do on your own. Life-changing therapy is deep, intense, and painful. It is not chit-chat or coffee talk. But, when you're done, you'll feel better.
Some people have given up hope and think therapy can't help them, but I don't think that's true. I think you have to find the right therapist. I'm not always that person, but often enough I am. So, if you come to see me, the first thing we have to figure out is what your problem is and if I'm the right one to help you with it.
If you come to see me, you will find I will listen carefully, I will give you straight and honest feedback (even if it's hard for me to say and hard for you to hear), and I will help you figure out practical answers. I have a style that is warm, down-to-earth, humorous, and direct. I will help you drop your guard and challenge yourself.
In addition to individual therapy for trauma, I also run a group for survivors of sexual trauma. Contact me if you are interested in more information.
More Info About My Practice
I often invoke the metaphor of working out to approximate what therapy is like. Just like at the gym, in therapy, in order to see results you've got to break a sweat and push yourself outside your comfort zone. That's how we intentionally activate personal growth. Further, a good therapist is a like a personal trainer: Though we are on your side, you may not always like us because we are challenging you and sometimes telling you what you don't want to hear but need to, anyway. Good therapy isn't chit-chat or coffee talk. It's hard work, it involves doing things you'd rather avoid and then when it's over you feel better and are thankful for having done it.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
When I was nineteen, my hard-partying lifestyle caught up with me: I was unsure of myself and trying to find happiness but instead only finding misery. After living in denial for a while and realizing more partying and drugs were NOT making it better, I knew I had to do something different. So, in a fit of desperation, I told my mom what was going on and asked for help; she set up an appointment with a therapist.
It was weird. I felt embarrassed to be there, like I was weak. It scared the hell out of me. And the therapist was weird: His questions didn't make sense and he seemed kind of "blank." So, I didn't go back for a few months. But, eventually, I went back because things continued to get worse and I just didn't know what else to do. I had to do something.
Fortunately, Mike (my therapist) was a smart guy. He understood I was lost, sad, and didn't know who I really was. My self-esteem was in the pits. So, he listened. He had good ideas. He helped me figure things out. I started to feel better. At some point, I remember thinking: "Someday I think I could do this, too."
My philosophy of psychotherapy stems from my experience with Mike. I believe in people. I believe they can get better. No matter what, they've just got to find the right person that understands them and can challenge them in the right way, too. Thank God Mike listened to me and didn't just give me pills or teach me skills. He listened and he helped me find "the real me." If not for him, I wouldn't be who I am today.
So, if you want, give me a call and let's help you find "the real you," too.