My Approach to Helping
Pema Chodron explains that "the essence of life is that it's challenging." I believe that each person's narrative is rooted in his/her unique experience of challenges and that, often times, when one decides to enter the process of therapy, that he or she is making a courageous effort to identify and address challenge and work towards growth. As a therapist, it is my goal as a therapist to help you identify these challenges (whether conscious or unconscious), and increase your belief in the capacity to initiate and implement changes that support your well-being. I am compassionate, empathic, attentive, and down-to-earth. I believe that therapy has the capacity to "rock the boat" and produce temporary discomfort, but that, in doing so, you're able to work towards a certain freedom that likely was not present before. I predominantly incorporate philosophies and teachings of Buddhism (Pema Chodron, Deepak Chopra), neurobiology (Daniel Siegel, Rick Hanson), attachment theory (John Bowlby), nonviolent communication (Echo Center), and psychodynamic techniques (Michael Eigen, Nina Coltart) in my work with adults, adolescents, and couples.
More Info About My Practice
At this time, I provide individual and couples counseling on week days and week nights. At the end of session, I accept cash, check, and credit card. I also offer sliding scale rates. I do so because I understand that everyone should have access to treatment and that financial difficulties can deter persons from receiving assistance. Please contact me directly to negotiate a rate that suits your needs. While I do not accept private insurance at this time, I do provide clients with a superbill at the end of each month. This bill can be submitted directly to your insurance company and you can receive reimbursement, as identified by your company. Please contact your insurance to determine what your reimbursement rate is for an "out of network provider." Please also note that in order to receive reimbursement for therapy services, insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I specialize in treating persons who have experienced trauma. Trauma is a unique experience in that two people can experience the same type of trauma in completely opposing ways. I address this unique experience closely during sessions. I assist persons in understanding their personal thoughts, feelings, and bodily reactions towards the trauma, as well as develop an understanding of how genetic makeup, early relational experiences, and society's influence can support or neglect their needs. I have experience in helping persons through events such as sexual abuse, bereavement, medical illnesses, unemployment, emotional abuse and neglect, physical abuse, divorce, infidelity, and difficult life transitions.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
I believe that the purpose of psychotherapy is to assist persons in effecting change, as they cope through difficult experiences. People come to therapy often feeling stuck, unhappy, anxious, and overwhelmed. Whatever the reason, I think that psychotherapy offers a supportive framework and a shared experience, so that persons do not have to navigate through difficult life experiences alone. Through that support, I then believe that people can make subtle changes (i.e. challenging their own thoughts) or greater changes (i.e. recovery from drugs and alcohol) that align with a new or renewed sense of well-being.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
One of the most rewarding things as a therapist is to be witness to a person's evolution. Furthermore, I love applying new research in neurobiology to the process of therapy, helping persons literally understand the inner workings of their brains. Understanding neurobiology (as it changes with experience) can help people refocus their attention, improve their capacity for self-regulation and can positively influence self-esteem and encourage positive change.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Quite a few of my clients have discussed previous negative therapy experiences. Usually, people say they felt misunderstood, were challenged too soon or not challenged at all, were offered faulty advice, or felt their therapist listened to them vent but that they did not feel this to be a good use of their time or dime. Ultimately, I think that finding a therapist that fits and is attentive to your personality, energy, needs, and wants is incredibly critical. Only in the context of a compatible relationship can you feel safe, supported, and understood. Without this context, therapy will feel futile. With that said, I encourage new clients to note whether they feel that connection early on (usually in the first session). If it's not there, I strongly suggest that a different therapist is located.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
There's one way to know what it feels like to be on the couch. And that's to be on the couch. As a client, I have experienced those feelings of anxiety, exposure, enthusiasm, epiphany, and change. I do think that my own ability to work through personal challenge has helped me to be more present, understanding, and attentive to others.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
There really is no time frame on therapy. For some clients, they can benefit from short-term, solution-focused treatment and do very well with this format. For other clients, I might recommend a longer time frame to assist them in challenging strongly held, internalized beliefs that continue to influence their present day decisions. Ultimately, though, I and the client will collaboratively decide what time length feels appropriate. And remember, you can always choose to discontinue therapy when you want and to reengage at another time.