My Approach to Helping
I work with COUPLES, TRAUMA, and INDIVIDUALS:
I help you and your partner restore your emotional bond. My couples usually arrive very hurt and hurting. And in that state, they are often very hurtful to their partners. In the first session, I help your partner empathize with what it is like to be you in the relationship. We'll discuss the typical dance you get caught in. Instead of rehashing a fight, I show my couples how to slow it down and be curious and empathic for what your partner is going through. Following the EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) model, I'll often first have the person who has more of an anxious and pursuing relational style to empathize with what it is like for their partner when they get caught into their painful dance. After it is gotten on a deep level, I'll then help the person who has a more withdrawing and self-regulating style to empathize for their partner. For content, we'll use the typical dance that you get caught into; but what we'll actually be doing is experiencing empathy on a deep fundamental level. This almost always re-invigorates the bond and inspires both members of the couple to be committed to wanting to learn how to shift the culture of their relationship and really show up for each other. Once there is a "team", then we'll focus on problem solving areas of difference.
My primary focus is on restoring the bond, I do use psychoeducation and help my couples learn communication, conflict management, and emotional attunement skills.
I use EMDR to help my clients process their traumas. I believe that the body is designed to naturally process pain and traumas. When somebody has PTSD, it means that the trauma gets stuck in part of their brain because their particular trauma was so overwhelming to them. By doing bi-lateral stimulation (having the brain be stimulated on the left side and right side at the same time by talking with me about your experience while watching my hands move back and forth) it helps trick the brain into letting the healthier rational part of the brain to self-soothe the part of the brain where the trauma is stuck. Unlike Talk-Therapy, which is ineffective with trauma, EMDR produces rapid results. I am also trained in ways of using EMDR with extremely chronic PTSD from long-term abuse. I use Phil Manfield's Dyadic Resourcing, and Flash Techniques and Jim Knipe's techniques in working with more complex cases.
Unlike most therapy where the therapist just sits there and patiently listens and every once in a while asks a question to show you that they are awake, my style is to be very engaged, real and authentic with my people. Usually my clients come in with a problem (relationship not working, something at work sucks, feeling anxious or depressed, etc). While I do bond with my clients and listen to them; I have found that talking about your problems takes a very long time to create change. What I find more effective is to catch the empowered alive part of my client that shows up (even if it is very brief). I'll lovingly redirect my client's attention to the "state" that they are in when they are paying attention to the empowered part. I help my clients learn how to access this part of them that is already there (but they are in oppressive patterns that prevent them from accessing it). So, the therapy instead of being about learning why you are all "messed up" (where it all came from); instead, it is about learning how to shift your state of mind and choose to engage yourself and the world from your deeper self. My job is to show clients how to live in their empowered selves that they previously didn't know how to access.