My practicing philosophy is that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. I believe you have the choice to not suffer, even though the pain may still be present. I help people who are struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, mood disorders and everyday stress. Our goal together will be to learn how to make choices that will increase emotional freedom and assist in living a healthier life. A trusting, collaborative relationship between client and therapist lies at the core of effective treatment. I work from the assumption that you are the expert on your life. With that as our starting point, it is my job as the therapist to help you first identify, and then create the kinds of lasting, positive change you desire in your life and relationships.
The initial session is the most important time we will have together. It is when you decide whether you feel safe and comfortable sharing your story with me, so part of our process is to build a rapport. Being heard is the second part of the session, being sure that we cover all of what you wanted to initially share. Next, can you walk away with the feeling that we were able to assess, not just to the problem areas, but also the strengths you bring to your life. Finally, at the end of the session, do you have a sense of a plan forward in our work together? If all these areas are covered we will then have a successful working relationship aimed at addressing the problems you are experiencing.
With individual and couples therapy I aim to serve clients with a wide range of backgrounds, beliefs, and treatment issues. I draw upon empirically based treatment modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Gestalt Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Solution Focused, Spiritual/Strengths-Based Treatment and Narrative Therapy.
In working with couples, I have found the Gottman Method, for which I’m trained, to be a universal approach to problem solving and working towards a healthy relationship, both parties are given tools to be engaged in the solution. (see gottman.com) One of the most important and difficult times is when couples arguments lead to Inter Partner Violence, either with physical altercation, verbal or emotional battering. Because of the shame often experienced, coming in for assistance is often avoided. I have worked with both sides of this experience and respect the work that needs to be done. Most people consider the issue to be about anger and mishandling of one’s emotions. Though there is always enough blame to go around, it’s an issue of power and control and it must be addressed to be resolved. Having led groups for “the abuser” and the “victim” for many years, I have a profound respect for those who come in for help and direction, given the societal pressures and laws that need to be adhered.
In working with trauma, my approach is uniquely informed by using EMDR, Mindfulness and other Cognitive practices. EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment a variety of traumatic reactions, i.e. panic attacks due to traumatic events, like a car accident to more intense trauma due to abuse.
For the past 30 years, my training and experience has been influenced by my work as a US Air Force Firefighter, Social Worker, Human Resource Executive, Executive Coach, and University Professor. I work holistically with individuals, couples, families or groups. Our work together will be to make healthier decisions and respond to stressors in a way that increases positive interpersonal, social and/or occupational functioning.