My Approach to Helping
I take a direct approach and invite you to do the same. The therapist client relationship is an intimate one, and I believe that in order for an intimate relationship to be successful, it must be real. Thus, while integrating empathy and building trust as I listen to you, I will sometimes challenge you, which can mean hearing things that are hard to hear, and I encourage you to challenge me.
After teaching for 10 years and teaching special education for six of those years, the desire to engage on a deeper level with families is what drove me to pursue a Masters degree in Counseling with a marriage and family specialization. I believe that it is the dynamic in our family of origin and early attachment that lays the foundation for how well we are able to navigate our relationships and our lives. In addition to a psychodynamic and experiential approach, I take a structural family systems approach to therapy, and what that means is this: The role we take in the family system and the structure of the family system impacts the way we function in our lives, particularly in relationships. Individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit. Families are systems of interconnected and interdependent individuals, none of whom can be understood in isolation from the system. The way we are perceived by our family members in the family system is the mirror in which we see ourselves. I believe the mirror in which we see ourselves (our self esteem) is the foundation for how we are in the world, which impacts how we approach relationships and all aspects of our lives.
It is my belief that therapists and clients are collaborative partners in the therapeutic process. My objective is to provide services to you that will facilitate you in reaching your goals. I will provide you with my assessment and recommendations in regard to your treatment based upon the information that you provide as well as my observations as a clinician. While psychotherapy does not provide the guarantee of a cure, the level of success achieved during your treatment relies in large part on your commitment to consistently work toward positive change in your life.
More Info About My Practice
Each individual, couple, and family therapy session is tailored to the client(s) and will vary based on individual needs and relationship needs. In the beginning, we will discuss what you are committed to accomplishing through our work together and we will begin to create a plan to achieve your goals. Periodically, I will give you assignments to help direct your progress. We will work together to acknowledge obstacles, explore alternate perspectives and celebrate successes. With the conclusion of each session, we will revisit your goals and evaluate the next steps that are needed to achieve these results.
We will use the first session to develop a framework that provides you with an understanding of how you arrived at where you are now, and to define your short and long terms goals ranging from self compassion and forgiveness to repetition of old patterns in the family system and the impact it has on your relationships. We will use these goals as a foundation to help you determine how to attain your objectives.
I offer sessions in person or on the phone. I am on several insurance panels and accept cash paying clients as well.
My office hours in Tigard are from 1:00-9:00 on Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and in Forest Grove are from 1:00-9:00 on Thursday.
I would love to talk with you today. Call 503.601.5428 to set up an appointment.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Individual, Couple, and Family Therapy: I believe that the key to strong and enduring relationships is the development of a strong sense of self. While the goal for most couples is to create a deep sense of intimacy, developing a strong sense of self is a prerequisite to creating emotional connection. Initially, the primary focus in my work with individuals, couples, and families is the individual growth and differentiation of each person in order to increase a strong sense of self. My work with clients then moves toward increasing their capacity to accept and tolerate differences, a process that must occur prior to increasing the emotional bond. The objective of my work is to facilitate the process of knowing yourself, which includes knowing what you need and want. You are responsible for articulating what you need and want to your partner andor others from a direct and non-judgmental perspective that includes self awareness and the desire to know yourself and others you are connected to. I facilitate you, your partner, andor other family members in identifying and communicating your needs and wants to each other. Conducive to this process is the ability to experience a reasonable degree of conflict in your relationships and the willingness to believe that your relationships can improve. There is a 'no secrets' policy in place that applies to my work with couples and families. In other words, I will advocate that you disclose anything that is pertinent to the treatment of the family or the couple system.
Parenting; Families in Transition: Parenting can be the most difficult yet rewarding job you will ever be faced with. It requires a lifetime commitment and an ability to temporarily sacrifice your own needs and wants if in the best interest of your child. That being said, as parents you must also practice self care so that you can be as available as needed in caring for your children. I can provide insight and practical strategies for effective parenting while supporting you on your journey as parents.Transitions in families can be difficult. There are specific stages at which couples and families can anticipate major life transitions: marriage, the birth of a child, entering school, graduation (from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, from high school to college), military or something else, and transition into adulthood. These life transitions can make couples and families vulnerable to high levels of stress, which can be taxing on relationships. In addition, I often facilitate families in the process of divorce. When emotions are charged, as they often are during the process of divorce, it can help to have an objective third party facilitate ending a relationship, especially when children are involved. I can facilitate couples and families by supporting you in creating smooth transitions while learning effective coping strategies.
Blending Families: The transition into a blended family is rarely a smooth process. Some children may resist changes and parents can become frustrated when the new family doesn't function like their previous family. While changes to family structure require adjustment time for everyone involved, sometimes four to seven years, blended families can work out their growing pains and live together successfully.
Adolescents: Drawing on my personal life experience as a parent raising a daughter and a son, my formal training, and on my 10 years of teaching experience as a special educator at the preschool, elementary and middle school levels, I am familiar with the broad range of emotional and behavioral challenges parents often face while raising adolescents. Using a structural family systems approach, I work directly with the parents, adolescents, and the overall dynamic within the family system to facilitate the process of differentiation, which means to maintain a strong sense of self while staying emotionally connected to family members.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
Self understanding is the key to getting what you want from relationships, life, and to achieving a high level of self esteem. A healthy self esteem is the foundation for 'how you are in the world' and deeply impacts the quality of your relationships. I believe psychotherapy facilitates the development self understanding. In doing so, you can take responsibility for achieving happiness and self fulfillment. I believe that all behavior you engage in is an attempt to get your needs met. In addition, I believe that you want to achieve your potential and that often, it is your perception of yourself, often rooted your family of origin, that keeps you 'stuck'. Psychotherapy helps to facilitate you in identifying what keeps you 'stuck' and unable to move forward in your personal relationships. Psychotherapy also facilitates you in achieving your goals through the exploration of your family system and your family of origin patterns that have been passed down from generation to generation. Through the process of psychotherapy, the 'dysfunctional cycle' is broken and healing takes place.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
An individual, couple, and family therapist can take you above and beyond your own personal limitations. More often than not, people try to achieve their greatest potential, but don?t even realize what stands in their way. An individual, couple, and family therapist can offer an unbiased and objective perspective, and can help you realize your patterns and habits. Most people experience that they are more efficient when working with a professional therapist and that this provides the opportunity for them to better realize their potential. Individual, couple, and family therapy can make your relationships more meaningful and will give you support and encouragement along the way.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
There is no greater joy than working with someone as they have that "Aha" moment. As stated before, understanding what makes you tick lays the groundwork to help you make the right decisions for your life. Self understanding, insight, and developing your full potential are the keys to finding and creating the relationships you want, which leads to self respect and respect for others. A lack of self respect and respect for others can prevent you from fulfilling your potential and from developing healthy relationships. In order to understand someone else, you must have an understanding of yourself and what your needs are. The facilitation of self understanding is the path that leads to developing your full potential.
My Role as a Therapist
I take a direct approach and invite you to do the same. The therapistclient relationship is an intimate one, and I believe that in order for an intimate relationship to be successful, it must be real. Thus, while integrating empathy and building trust as I listen to you, I will sometimes challenge you, which can mean hearing things that are hard to hear, and I encourage you to challenge me.
My objective in working with you is to use a direct approach in helping you identify what keeps you stuck in your personal relationships with yourself andor others. Whether it is learning to improve your relationships, increase self understanding, clarify your value system, or put your life into perspective, you have the power to take charge of your life and the quality of the relationships you build.
I can help you get there.
I will hear you, relate to the challenges you face, and will help you move past your obstacles so that you can live the life you are meant to live.
My Therapy Focus
My theoretical orientation stems from Psychodynamic, Experiential and Family Systems Theory, where the purpose is to help you identify the root causes of the problems that make it challenging for you to permanently solve them, not just temporarily solve them, as well as to learn to tolerate differences in relationships while staying emotionally connected. My goal as a therapist is to facilitate healthy and satisfying relationships, self understanding, spiritual connection, and the process of reaching your full potential. While this can be an extremely challenging task, I am very driven toward facing this challenge as a marriage and family therapist.
What I Usually Need to Know to Help
Rather than asking, "Why aren't you motivated", as a therapist, I ask, "For what are you motivated?" Instead of focusing on why you don't want to make a particular change, I facilitate exploring what you do want in order to provide a context for change as well as the exploration of obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your goals and true potential. There are often multiple ways to approach a desirable goal; given a choice of strategies to try, you may find one that is acceptable as a starting point.