My Approach to Helping
All roads lead to Rome! It doesn't matter where we jump in, if you’re ready, we’ll still get there. My approach is based in Attachment Theory and the idea that much of our conflict and distress stems from old wounds & unmet needs. De-coding this blueprint can provide a path toward healing and fulfillment. Relational issues, trauma, addiction, unleashing the creative spirit, living life “on purpose”, and the plight of the pre-teen, are all areas I am passionate about. I incorporate trauma-informed conventional therapeutic modalities (leaning mostly on IFS, EFT, DBT, and ACT) and a Buddhist Psychology perspective. I embrace all forms of spirituality as a source of healing.
More Info About My Practice
Full disclosure, I believe in equality for all, am spiritually-minded, and am a rabid ally for all underrepresented, disenfranchised, and marginalized communities.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
There is no greater reward than helping someone find answers where before there were none, than helping a couple understand each other in ways they never could, in teaching emotional language to help better communication, the benefits of which will help you for the rest of your life. This is my second career. I couldn't possibly imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. It is a privilege.
My Therapy Focus
I almost immediately try to uncover the Big T and little t traumas. And if I had a nickel for every client who told me they had no trauma in their history, well, I could buy a lot of over-priced coffees : ) Just to be clear, trauma is not just surviving assault, or a war, or abuse (though it is absolutely ALL those things), but it is anything, ANY thing that overwhelms a person's emotional capacity to tolerate it. If you stubbed your toe and it overwhelmed your capacity to tolerate it, that's a "version" of trauma. Equally as important as "stubbing your toe" is the question: who was there for you to help you manage your pain? What resources and support did you have? How does that old painfear still show up today? And what can we do about it? Lots of answers to be found there, and often a lot more questions. But all along the way, there is healing.
What I Usually Need to Know to Help
I usually need to know about your family of origin. Which, I know, can be a mixed bag. And while I tend to rarely "blame" original caretakers, ignoring the messages, patterns and behaviors we internalized from those developmental years would be a detrimental oversight to understanding why you are who you are, feel what you feel, and do what you do. Additionally, I need to know how committed you are to doing the work. And to be clear, it is work. Emotional work. But it pays off. I promise.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Not gonna lie, if you've never done it before it can be weird at first. Telling a stranger the most vulnerable things about you and your family? But we won't be strangers for long. It requires an ample amount of bravery. And it can get messy, and painful and often gets worse before it gets better. But the potential for a more peaceful, contented life, greater personal understanding and potential, and more harmonious relationships is priceless. If the scale is slowly tipping for you in the direction of therapy, give me a call, and let's talk about your reservations.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Try, try again!! Feeling connected to someone is a mysterious crapshoot! Please don't let not vibing with one therapist, or perhaps not feeling safe or heard in a therapeutic experience permanently color you on the possibility of healing. Please don't give up!
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
I do believe walking through our own personal fire can help us relate and empathize in meaningful ways. I am mindful, though, of my own biases and countertransference. And even if we didn't share the same experience it is likely that we share similar feelings and emotions attached to those experiences. Being truly "heard" and "seen" can be profoundly healing in and of itself. At the time of this writing, my actual chronological time as a therapist is relatively short, but the amount of life lived and experiences had is more than enough to help you navigate your challenges. Ever seen the movie, Slumdog Millionaire? How he went through some truly gnarly life experiences, but then wound up on the gameshow "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and was able to use all of those awful experiences to inform his answers and he won? For me, it's like that. SO worth it.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Therapy is ONLY for the Brave. The "weak" need not apply (and usually don't). To be human is to be flawed. That goes for you and every person in your life. Let's share and celebrate our humanness and vulnerabilities and lean forward with a compassionate heart. Even if, or ESPECIALLY if that compassion is primarily for ourselves.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
My view on the nature of "disorders" is that we are FIRST a living organism with an innate and primal desire to survive. As such, our survival instincts are usually what's "runnin' the show." The oldest, most primal part of our brain (the Amygdala) has been wired since birth to scan for threats and adapt to our environment to survive. It runs on auto-pilot and does a great job of keeping us alive. Sometimes too good. Our disturbing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors tend to be some version of the 4 main trauma responses and deserve to be seen through that lens. Those trauma responses areL Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn. Very early on you figured out what "works" for you to stay safe. Very early on you assessed whether the threat (real, or perceived) is something you can Fight (Anger, protest, hypervigilance), run from (Flight: anxiety, addictions, obsession compulsion. etc)? and if we can't fight or run we Freeze (Depression) or Fawn (people-please, co-dependency). Very early on we learned what we need to do, and who we need to be to survive. Things like "feelings", while immensely important and highly informative, were often seen (usually by others, and eventually by ourselves) as burdensome and inconvenient and were sent down to the basement where we thought they would simply go away if we ignored them enough. Unfortunately, they were actually down there lifting weights, getting stronger and more destructive, waiting for the most inopportune time to be expressed. This is often what is characterized as a "Disorder." These "adaptations" to our environment for the purpose of safety and ensuring our survival, were responses that served us when we were young, small, and powerless. Now, they are liabilities that tend to get in the way of being fully functional adults. All this is to say, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! It never was. However, now, if you'd like to live a more functioning, happy, healthy, harmonious, and successful life, it IS your responsibility. Let's figure it out.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
I believe in "front-loading" therapy, at least once a week for the first few weeks months so as to establish our relationship and to gain some safety, security, and stability in the process. The therapeutic bond (you and me) is like 90% of the determination of success. If you're in crisis I recommend twice a week. After some time, if we are feeling stable, I'm fine with bi-weekly. And once we are solid, I'm happy to just be your touchstone whenever life throws you a curveball.