My Approach to Helping
[My practice is currently full. I will update this profile when I am once again accepting new clients.]
Therapy is about awareness- of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, of the dynamics within your relationships, and the impacts of your environment. I can support you in increasing your awareness in order to better understand what your symptoms (including anxiety, depression, brain fog, and others) are trying to tell you. In my experience, symptoms are ways in which our mind and body attempt to communicate with us about our pain and our needs, and once these messages are attended to they can resolve themselves.
This way of working tends to move slowly and patiently, circling back to central issues again and again, and untangling one piece of confusion at a time. As a result, it is important for my clients to commit to consistent weekly therapy for as long as they determine it is helpful. Most of my clients work with me for several months to several years, depending on the extent of the confusion they are attempting to untangle and the pace at which they are comfortable. Along the way, I frequently solicit feedback about what is working and what isn't, so that you can feel confident that we are headed in a worthwhile direction.
A typical session with me starts with you describing a past or recent incident that creates a sense of unease or curiosity. I will ask you questions: how did you feel when the incident occurred; how do you feel now describing it to me; what would be your ideal resolution; what obstacles stand in the way of this resolution; what comes up as you confront those obstacles. In the course of the session, we will likely identify incorrect or outdated beliefs about yourself, connect your present experience with your experiences growing up within your family of origin, and locate suffering that is the result of systemic systems of oppression. We will also learn about how you handle emotion; whether it overwhelms you, whether you tend to compartmentalize, or whether you are able to find a balance.
I work best with those who are struggling with an unclear or negative sense of self. This manifests in the following ways: confusion about what you're feeling and where your feelings come from; difficulty asserting your opinion or your needs with others; a sense of constant shame, guilt, or inadequacy compared to others; a lack of meaningful relationships or life activities; (self-assessed) underperformance at work or school; victimization within abusive relationships; and a strong fear of abandonment or rejection. My goal is for you to feel more solid, happier, and more at peace with who you are by the end of therapy.
I am a fiery therapist who will openly express anger at those who have mistreated you, applaud your successes and uphold your strengths, and passionately defend you from your own harsh self-criticism. Nothing delights me more than to be permitted to witness parts of you that you previously kept hidden. In return, I bring a lot of myself to sessions: my tendency to swear; my irreverent humor; and pieces of my own journey when I feel they will be supportive for you.
I am a queer clinician and member of Bay Area Open Minds, a group of San Francisco Bay Area psychotherapists who affirm that sexual and gender diversity are natural expressions of the human experience. I have also completed a year-long internship with St. James Infirmary, a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders. I am honored to work with members of marginalized communities to do what I can in acknowledging and healing the devastating impacts of transphobia, homophobia, and racism, to the extent that this is possible in a hostile world and within our therapeutic relationship.