My Approach to Helping
I am very approachable, informal, careful with people's feelings and work well with those who are new or hesitant to come to psychotherapy because they are unaccustomed to the "culture" of psychotherapy, fearful of being judged or not "doing it right" (i.e. ethnic minority, working class background, new immigrant, men whose wives are "making them go" or alternative lifestyle). I work well with people who might feel that their problems will be too much to disclose, to handle, be resolved, feeling vulnerable/fragile. I am very patient and kind but I will not let you off the hook if I think you can do it. I do a kind of therapy that helps people understand and resolve deep seated long standing problems that get in the way of feeling good about yourself and feeling satisfied with your close relationships.
For many years, I have worked with "high conflict" families (of divorce) and when I see people in conflicted relationships, I work hard to understand everyone's point of view (and their pain) and strive for everyone to feel heard and for people to be able to be as comfortable as possible in situations that are very uncomfortable and may appear unresolvable. I do not shy away from strong emotional states (i.e. anger, terror, trauma) and am highly trained to assist patients in going inward as deeply as they want and need to go. I also have a way of making people laugh in the midst of all this pain, hopefully without feeling that I am making light of their pain. Patients often tell me that I am funny (and sometimes they are too) and that I have a heart.
More Info About My Practice
I primarily do fee for service work (no insurance) except for MHN. If your insurance will reimburse you for seeing me, I will give you a bill to submit to your insurance for you to get reimbursed.
I have been a licensed psychologist since 1987 (almost 27 years)and have been doing psychotherapy since 1979 (over 34 years). I have supervised psychology graduate students for many years as they begin the process of learning how to become psychotherapists (which can be scary)and am gentle with them as well. I enjoy doing psychotherapy with those interns and with licensed psychotherapists (who may also need to see a psychotherapist).
My philosophy is that we are all humans together (in this difficult situation called "life") and that I am not better or different than anyone else, but that when I am in the "role" of psychotherapist (or court ordered evaluator), I strive to keep my humanity, humility, kindness and sense of humor while being able to willingly take on the privilege and responsibility of being the one that people can rely on, trust and express your true self without judgment. I believe that the more a psychotherapist has done self work and understands oneself, that the more that therapist is capable of helping and understanding others. A good therapist can be open and vulnerable yet hold firm boundaries (i.e. you feel like you are talking to a "real" person but that person does not talk about herself). Although some people think that revealing and exploring strong feelings is a weakness, actually the opposite is true. The more one can tolerate and understand oneself, the stronger and healthier you actually are. Therapy begins with a short phone call and we decide if it makes sense to schedule a first appointment. After that, you decide if you want a second one and then we see how it goes.
My Therapy Focus
Some cognitive behavioral therapies (like DBT) incorporate mindfulness (which is really meditation) as part of the psychotherapy. My knowledge of "mindfulness" is due to direct contact over many years with Buddhist meditation and not because of cognitive behavioral training but the source is the same (Buddhist meditation). So although my training is primarily psychoanalytic, as it turns out, my approach does incorporate many aspects of cognitive therapy (except I call it "Buddhism"). Although people think of Buddhism as a "religion" (which it is), it actually has much in common with Western psychology and is very compatible with people who hold monotheistic beliefs (i.e. like Christians, Jews and Muslims). I have a background in religious studies and work with people who define themselves as either spiritual and/or religious. Some people don't think of themselves that way at all, but if you are concerned with issues around morality, ethics, good and evil, integrity, hope, you are addressing those "religious" issues without calling it that. My interest in all of this is how to apply it on the practical level (i.e. your everyday life) and how to make your life better. Psychotherapy does not impose any particular belief system on another. On the contrary, psychotherapy teaches you to think for yourself, trust yourself, get closer to yourself and become the person you feel you were meant to be.