My Approach to Helping
I believe that people and their relationships have the sources of healing within them, but recurring habits, patterns of behavior, or typical interactions keep them stuck.
Counseling or therapy can uncover the leverage for change within the story of our lives and relationships. Since humans are social beings, relationships of all kinds impact who we are, who we become, and how happy we are. This is why, in counseling, we look closely at how the system of people we relate to or wish we could relate to--or the system of a couple--or the system of a family--or a parent-child system--stimulates our behaviors and reactions.
Couples can come to understand the patterns of emotion that interfere with a safe and secure attachment to each other. This understanding frees them to notice when they are back in their cycle and to stop the conflict from turning into a fight that escalates to being hurt.
Individuals learn to recognize how depression, anxiety, and fear are attempts to feel safe, belong, and count in the world. They find successful ways to meet those needs and overcome any symptoms they have.
People dealing with dementia bring new skills, broader knowledge, and a stronger resilience to coping with the many difficulties of cognitive dysfunction, to relating in new ways that can even impact upsetting behaviors, and to growing despite the sometimes-overwhelming decisions and emotions that are part of the experience.
More Info About My Practice
Current fee is $120 for a 50-minute session and $180 for 80-minute session. I keep several sliding-fee-scale slots for people in the creative arts. You can use your HSA or most credit cards. If you prefer not to use out-of-pocket payment, you may be able to receive at least partial reimbursement, so be sure to check whether your insurance provides out-of-network coverage, as I do not currently take insurance.
I also offer--and recommend--a no-charge, 30-minute "consultation" session, so we can be sure we are a good match, before we start your sessions. It is important that my approaches make sense to you and that you feel I am someone you can talk to.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I am passionate about helping people unlock the secrets to the change that is right before them, even though they can't see it. Clients often thrill me with what they can accomplish when we attend to things they might have overlooked. To be in the room when this happens is awesome.
The field keeps me open to learning to integrate many types of growing knowledge about being human--from neuroscience to the mind-body connection to social and emotional needs to theories of family formation to more spiritual concerns like connection to others, death, and making meaning of our lives. No way I can help but grow if I'm paying attention!
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
I am not surprised when someone is having difficulty deciding whether to start (or return to) therapy or marriage counseling, because it's hard sometimes to look closely at the aspects of our lives, selves, and relationships that are troubling us. A useful question to ask is whether you can imagine continuing as you are now for the next 1 or 2 or 3 years. For some people who are feeling ambivalent about whether or when to begin, just asking how long you can continue like you are now can result in an enormous wave of exhaustion.
Sometimes it's useful to ask yourself whether you are having a painful impact on other people--or for couples, to look at any imbalance you have between happy interactions, someone withdrawing, or angry times where the fight can't be stopped before one or both are hurt.
My most direct advice? Find a therapist you think you might like and ask whether they offer a short, free consultation. Then watch your reactions like a hawk.
For dementia caregivers, there is a particularly tricky aspect of when it's time to get some help. Because dementia is progressive, you as a caregiver might 1) see a change in your loved one, 2) struggle mightily to adapt to the change, 3) make the change, and 4) come to the conclusion--oh, I can do this. It's too easy to forget (and too hard to accept) that the next change and the next and the next are coming.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
There are many factors that influence whether therapy is good or not. Research shows the most important is the alliance between the client and the therapist. If something about the therapist (and his/her approach) or something about the client is not a good match, therapy can't be successful. Despite how difficult it might be, it can be critical for the client to tell the therapist about any doubts regarding the counselor's approach or responses or theories.
One of the processes I've incorporated in my practice is the use of session-by-session assessments by clients of how they are doing and of whether the therapist is meeting the clients' standards in four areas, including a high standard of being heard, understood, and respected. Good insights have arisen many times from these simple assessments.