My Approach to Helping
Welcome. Change is possible.
Psychotherapy has increasingly come to the consensus that an individual's cognitive insight (thinking) alone is insufficient to create transformational, lasting change. Rather, we need to invite the broader and deeper awareness into the therapy room: externally, we go beyond the self to involve the relational systems and internally, we evoke and work with the full, embodied experiences.
This is why my work with you, regardless of modality, emphasizes the relational and the experiential. And always with respect, and loving kindness.
While I have in-depth trainings in a number of approaches and specialties (e.g., Gottman Couples Therapy, Relational Life Therapy by Terry Real, Developmental Couples Model, grief therapy, to name a few) and have many, many tools to help you, I consider the following three areas the foundation of my psychotherapy work: family system theory, attachment theory, and Hakomi mindful somatic psychology.
Under system theory, an individual's experiences are inseparably connected to, and need to be understood in, the relational context, from couplehood and family system to community and larger societal and cultural contexts. It's also important to make sense of these experiences in the individual's developmental trajectory and context.
Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and emotional bonds between people. It holds that attachment needs are fundamental to our lifelong wellbeing, and no matter what your childhood "attachment style" was, you have an innate capacity for, and can learn to develop, secure, healthy adult relationships.
Hakomi Mindfulness Somatic Psychotherapy believes that a person can gain an understanding of themselves that is not just the conscious, intellectual knowledge, but is the awareness of the deeper self that includes a full range of experiences: beliefs, nervous system patterns, memories, images, emotions and attitudes about self and the world. My goal as your therapist is to assist you in discovering, accessing and exploring such core material and in transforming what was once adaptive and essential but is now self-limiting, to allow more freedom and satisfaction in life.
I work with couples to address high conflict communication, intimacy issues, parenting differences, significant adjustments (e.g., becoming parents, retirement, and career change), betrayal, grief and loss (e.g., fertility challenges; miscarriage; illness; death in the family), extended family relationship, mixed race couples, blended families, etc.
"Great marriages aren’t about clear communication – they’re about small moments of attachment and intimacy." – John Gottman
GRIEF, LOSS AND LIFE TRANSITIONS
My work with individuals and families focuses on grief, loss and life transitions. Depression, anxiety and relational dissatisfactions are commonly experienced in these difficult situations.
GRIEF AND LOSS. I work primarily with traumatic and complex grief and anticipatory grief, both in individual therapy and with families. My clinical work with grief started at Kara, a Palo Alto based grief agency, where for three years I worked extensively with spouse loss, child loss, suicide loss, sudden death, end of life issues, victims of crimes, and other traumatic grief clients. I also facilitated grief groups for spouse loss, suicide loss and teen grief. Outside of my private practice, I remain a member of Kara’s community outreach team and continue to facilitate debriefings for local companies, organizations and families to address difficult deathcrisis situations, including, most recently, pandemic impact and hate crimes.
LIFE TRANSITIONS: Transition is our inner process to cope with external changes. I work with phase-of-life transitions such as emerging adulthood, new family formation, becoming parents, and retirement. In addition, I work with individuals on their significant relationship or career changes. Transition starts with an ending, develops through an often long “in-betweens” before the start of a new beginning. A challenging transition often involves grief and loss about the ending as well as anxiety and ambivalence about the adjustment and future.