My Approach to Helping
Do you feel lost, overwhelmed or disconnected from yourself and others? If you feel as though you are on autopilot and living life in monochrome sameness, I invite you to step back into vitality and meaning. I specialize in attachment injuries that show up in adulthood in ways that affect our relationships, identity and sense of purpose. As a trauma specialist, I treat the fallout from shock trauma or chronic stress that is often expressed in identity-related issues, PTSD, depression and or anxiety.
Many of the clients who seek my services struggle with relationships centered around co-dependent behaviors and narcissistic abuse all of which can sometimes manifest as reactivity to perceived or real rejection or abandonment. They are also families managing diagnoses, that are sometimes non-affirming and pathological in their labeling. As in the case of autism, I see families and individuals contort themselves into compliant behaviors when really, what's *wrong* is an unaccepting and intolerant environment. Unfortunately, simply having insight into behaviors and pain doesn't always curb repeated cycles of reactivity or disconnection and these entrenched behaviors can affect how we relate to ourselves and others. My attachment focus extends to conditions not typically associated with neurodivergence that includes mood disorders such as bipolar in which we focus on present difficulties and future goals.
More Info About My Practice
I have a knack for helping my clients get straight to the point so that they can start feeling relief at the beginning of their treatment and not after several sessions. I know the importance of feeling that there’s hope and that this therapy thing is going some place whether its rediscovering motivation or being able to sense that you are still grounded amidst change and the unexpected.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
I've an inborn sense of injustice, but I've had years to accept that I'm probably a rebel at heart and have learned that there's a balance for everyone living in that nuance between autonomy and connection to others. We all want to "fit in" to some degree while maintaining our integrity and purpose. Somewhere in that grey, is our sense of who we are.
My view on psychotherapy is that it doesn't stand alone as some neutral ground of objective science. It's part philosophy, identity, politics, culture, spirituality, and biology because as humans we are as much a product of our environment as well as a source of change for what goes on around us. We are born with the capacity to sort all that out, but let's face it, sometimes that learning process doesn't go as intended. I believe that we can most definitely impact what's possible. Since we are born with the capacity to adapt, acquire new learning and automate helpful behaviors and thinking, we can reach beyond beingfeeling "stuck."
Much of my personal and professional life has been curious around how we can find that confident sense of self that helps us navigate our journey in the world towards fulfillment and I am dedicated to facilitating this outcome for those who seek this transformation.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
My therapeutic approach is formulated from extensive and continual training as well as personal experience navigating intersecting identities and different cultures. This has allowed me an expansive perspective on many issues to define what's "normal" and meaningful on an individual level. There really isn't a "normal," right? What's considered normal shifts and depends on culture, perspective and power. This is why self-advocacy and awareness are key strengths so that you can confidently step into your rightful place in a world that doesn't always value difference.
In particular, this point of view permeates my approach in supporting families with autistic adolescents and also autistic adults (including those who are self-diagnosed and do not have a formal diagnosis). Neurodiversity is a concept with which I resonate on a personal level because it really addresses a tendency in the mental health profession to pathologize individuals when we are really about helping them heal. Sometimes we get into binary mindsets of what is "good," what is "bad" or what we consider "right" or "wrong." This can promote a tendency to put people into defined categories of "compliant" and "non-compliant" so that what is "well" is doing what your others dictate to accommodate their comfort level around difference. That's about power and dominance. It pains me to see families who are grappling with a recent autism diagnosis contort themselves to comply with confusing and harmful suggestions by health providers. Frankly, I don't like that so many of the diagnoses with which I work are labelled "disorders." So pejorative. Don't get me started on "personality disorders" which are often reflections of sustained chronic stress or trauma or forms of neurodivergence. The term "disorder" continues to generate stigma around mental health conditions which makes people reluctant to seek out therapy.
To let you know, licensed practitioners are required to provide you with a diagnosis as part of keeping the treatment above-board as a process with goals, direction and use of appropriate interventions to address your concerns. I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment regarding accountability. But can use use terms that are more accurate, empathetic and affirming? This is an area that is evolving and the neurodiversity movement is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, licensed practitioners have "disorders" as their option for diagnosing. It might be on your paperwork. It doesn't have to permeate your session or care.
To address this, it is not enough to develop self awareness and insight. When we learn ways to calm ourselves and be at ease, we then need to know how to implement our core selves in a world that can sometimes be intolerant. Simply ignoring this can promote backsliding and distress. This doesn't mean we have to change the world. Well, not all at once. We can learn to sustain our recovery by improving how we seek and maintain supports and express our needs, among other things. Each pathway on that journey is unique and I am here to support you on that endeavor. While it may be a little scary, it is also the most powerful and fulfilling passage you will ever make and you can make it at whatever pace works best for you.