My Approach to Helping
I am client-centered, in that I tailor therapy to meet your treatment goals, and work hard to work my way out of a job. My sessions are informal in tone but evidence-based in their content. In treating children and adolescents, I integrate their parents and work with the family as a whole as well as the child. Bottom line is I am an experiential therapist. Sessions aren't just about talking about the past and coming up with ideas for the future; they are for trying out new skills, processing old hurts and experiencing what change feels like right here and now.
More Info About My Practice
A note on trauma treatment: Clients work through trauma as they are safe enough to do it. All trauma work is done at your own pace. The "bad, sad and scary things" (as I tell children) took away your control and your choices in the past. Therapy cannot be healing if that control is not given back to you. I can offer EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for adults and children who have experienced trauma if desired. (I highly recommend it).
A note on children with divorced parents: unless the parent seeking therapy has a judgment or an order giving them ultimate medical-decision making for the child, both parents are really, truly going to have to agree to treatment. It's unethical and illegal for me to do otherwise. I KNOW other therapists in town do that. I'm not responsible for their license. If the divorce is part of the treatment issue for the child, particularly if it's fresh, it helps immensely if each parent brings the child to sessions on a reasonably regular basis.
Also, there is a litigation limitation in our office policies. I do not want to go to court.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
trauma -- relationships -- attachment -- complex PTSD -- moody teens -- depression -- blended families -- anxiety in all ages -- survivors of abuse -- couples, particularly when one or both members have a mental-health diagnosis -- high-conflict divorce
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
First, I want to apologize for that and acknowledge your courage in even thinking about therapy again. When a client tells me they have had a negative experience, I always want to know "what not to do." The most common categories are 1. the therapist talked too much about themselves 2. the client was forced into therapy by someone else. 3. the therapist never seemed to "get" what the client was seeking, or didn't "get" the client's side of the issue (usually the husband in a couple) and 4. the therapist didn't talk at all.
1. This session is about you. As a rule, I avoid personal stories. I reserve the right to tell you what virus my child has if I have to cancel your session, however. (you're welcome).
2. I'm very sensitive to this with teens and after a handful of sessions will not schedule a teen who does not see the need for therapy, even if I disagree! Why give them a bad taste for life? (if your spouse is "forcing" you, see #3)
3. I try to be sure that both members of a couple dislike me at some point. But seriously, I don't play favorites on purpose. If you feel I'm being unfair, say something! Therapists are great people to practice assertive communication with. If you are part of a couple and you don't want to be there, say something! Even when one partner is uninterested in therapy, sometimes it can clarify differing levels of investment in the relationship or reveal an unequal pattern in decision-making.
4. My style is what we call "active and directive." I ask question, offer interpretations and occasionally advice. I avoid the classic, "what do you think?" non-answer unless I really, really have a good reason for doing it.