My Approach to Helping
I specialize in psychotherapy for grief loss and coaching for stepparents.
Many people think of grief in very narrow terms: Sadness after an important person passes. That is a valid reason most people seek grief therapy. But grieving can also come from lost relationships or pets. In addition to sadness, emotions can include anger, irritability, numbness, or fear. These are all normal and together we can work through your myriad of reactions and move forward. Time alone does not heal all wounds. Nor does just keeping busy. Many people choose to “Give you space” when that just leaves you feeling alone. Working through healing is an active process. When you have experienced a death, your relationship has changed through physical separation, but you continue to carry those you have lost inside of you. Their memory continues to change your way of interacting with or being in the world. This is especially important to remember if your loss occurred long ago – you may still be facing the invisible effects of grief in your fear of intimacy, in your insistence on serving as a caretaker, refusal to count on anyone or in many other ways. Regardless of when your loss took place, bottling up emotions only allows them to grow. When you try to go around grief instead of through it, it sets up house in your unconscious mind. That’s when the monkey – ¬your unconscious mind ¬– gets to drive, and you don’t make conscious choices about where you are going.
Some losses or huge changes make us question who we are now. For example, “What does it mean for me now that my parentsiblingfriendpet is gone?” “How do I deal with my relationship with my partnerspouse ending?” Maybe you lost someone to suicide and blame yourself or feel rage. Maybe you feel you must hide from your feelings and hide those photos, letters, keepsakes from your own eyes.
In our work you will have the time and space to be open and honest about any emotions you have. I would never judge you for anything you have done or said prior to or after your loved one’s death or your break-up. Grief counseling is an entirely safe, supportive space for you to explore your every emotion and question, no matter how large or existential they may be. It's good to share your struggles with moving on with mundane tasks and handling future events too.
All your feelings are understandable and acceptable, even if they include anger or guilt! It isn't actually healthy for us to hide from our grief though. I can help you get you through it and even find meaning or growth in the process. During grief counseling sessions, I can teach you tools to identify and cope with your sadness and other emotions. As you are ready, we will unpack memories of your loved one and piece things together to see events in a new perspective. You can begin to grow comfortable with positive memories while you prevent negative ones from having undue power over your thoughts and actions. And, you can let go of guilt and fear so you can begin to reconnect with your passions, be present in your relationships, and find happiness and hope in your life again. Some people choose to stay on and get help for the stress in the life they live now. I have experience with lots of issues outside of grief and loss.
My style is to be very direct. I listen, but I don’t just let you talk and then ask you how that makes you feel. You and I are collaborators, taking a journey together. I use humor when it's helpful. I treat you as an individual and any helpful exercises I may give you will be customized to your needs. I don't have a limit as to how long we continue to meet; that will be up to you and we will discuss it together.
The best way to contact me is by text at (650) 269-1688 so we can schedule a FREE phone consult. The second best way is to leave me a voicemail at the number. Scroll down for information about stepparent coaching.