My Approach to Helping
In counseling, I'll work with you to understand the immediate issue or conflict uppermost in your mind. Whether there is emotional pain, practical problems, or life-altering decisions that need to be addressed, I will listen carefully to understand what obstacles you are facing; what circumstances, thoughts and feelings are getting in the way of your peace of mind.
Each of us has a story to tell, and we may need support to actively examine the "inside story" or narrative. As we get to know each other, I'll ask about your family of origin, not to focus on the past, but to understand what subtle or obvious childhood history may still be influencing your adult life. I'll work to help you uncover and examine old patterns and create new paths for moving forward. My goal is to support you on an active journey toward well-being.
Additionally, I will ask about past and current environments to see where stress has been or continues to present itself. I believe that, as living organisms, each of us wishes to grow, evolve and move toward health. I may suggest the use of tools that include writing, breath work, guided imagery and meditation, all of which can help access internal wisdom, strength and capacity for higher functioning.
With couples, I listen carefully not only for the presenting problem, but for a characteristic style of relating that I can see rather immediately in your communication style. I will talk with you about the day to day functioning of your relationship. In most instances, some of the individual work (above) can be done while you are together, helping you to understand more clearly what role each partner plays in the "dance" of your marriage. Depending on your level of commitment (and sometimes this is in a state of flux,) couples choose to learn and practice listening skills, healthy boundaries, accountability and new agreements.
I have learned in my own life that day-to-day relational health is not something that we "have," it's something that we "do." The everyday practice of relationship can be challenging, and some days are simply going to be better than others. I occasionally share anecdotes about my personal family experiences, having been in a long marriage (30+ years) and raised four (mostly nice) children along the way.