Some of the areas that I work with:
COUPLES THERAPY/MARITAL COUNSELING
When kinds of qualities make the difference between effective and ineffective couples counseling? When a new couple enters my office, they often express a wish for someone impartial who will listen to their disagreements, in the hopes that I might be able to help them reach some kind of compromise. Sometimes they want to learn better communication skills. Both are worthy goals, but any couples therapy that focuses on that does a disservice to the couple. The practice of Gottman Method and EFT for couples suggests a different route: communication and compromise become easy when you add one missing ingredient: a secure, loving and responsive connection between partners. The work of therapy is to rekindle that connection.
The problem is, we often get lost in cycles that make it harder to reconnect. Most couples let out a knowing laugh when I start to explain how partners slip into predictable roles. Often one person is a pursuer, always chasing after partner through demands or criticism, while the other person occupies the role of distancer, avoiding confrontation, minimizing the issue. This distance, of course, only enrages the pursuer who tries harder to get their point across, which inevitably results in more of the same from the distancer. Couples, understandably, make the mistake of thinking the solutions to this pattern is to resolve the issue at hand. But that only strengthens its hold. What's important to recognize is that beneath that pattern lies deeper fears of rejection, abandonment or unworthiness that ultimately need attending to. When you have a secure partnership, compromise and communication become easy.
We experience anxiety in many different ways. Sometimes it is directly connected to our relationships and sometimes it's feeling anxious about other things that affects our relationship or capacity to form one. A few examples would be: worrying about your partner leaving you, you can't stop thinking about them or some aspect of the relationship, you're too anxious to enjoy activities you used to love, or too worried about the consequences of decisions to take risks. Other times, we only experience anxiety physically and can't yet put a thought to it. No matter what the issue is, whether it's directly related to a relationship or not, we can gently begin to help you work through your anxiety so that it is no longer a source of distress for you.
If you've ever struggled with questions about your purpose or your worth, then you know how toxic it can be in many areas of life. When it is conscious, it impedes us from taking risks or developing meaningful relationships. Why bother trying when you believe it's going to fail? Why bother asserting your needs if it'll only result in you being alone?
Often, questions about our self-worth relate back to important relationships in our lives, as we often come to believe negative things about ourselves from the messages we receive. Sometimes weactively receive these messages and other times we come to believe them through the experience of silence or abandonment. Our work together is to revisit those difficult experiences and repair them from a place of love and compassion.
Parenting is such important but challenging work for couples. Few things can stress a relationship like negotiating co-parenting with your spouse. At the heart of parenting conflicts are often very important parts of a person's identity - your values, your history, your sense of efficacy.
My work with couples in this area focuses first on de-escalating conflict, understanding the dynamics at play that fuel the conflict and then unpacking the deeper core emotions that make this problem so hard to solve on your own.
MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
Counseling provided for 10 year olds and up, a safe space for your child/adolescent to explore feelings, identify new ways to understand and solve problems, develop healthy coping mechanisms and feel less stuck in daily life. Developing a strong therapeutic relationship with the right professional is key. When kids feel that a therapist listens to them in a non-judgmental manner, defenses loosen, they feels understood and valued and it becomes easier to speak more openly. At this point, a child/adolescent and therapist can work together to pinpoint the dynamics that are holding him or her back academically, emotionally or socially.
There are many areas relating to sexuality that lead people to want to talk about it in therapy. A few areas that make this an important and relevant topic: feeling confused about your sexuality, sexual choices/practices, shame around sex, frustration or disappointment in your sexual connection with your partner, sex addiction, etc. What I've often found is that sexuality is an important part of ourselves that work in this area often leads to powerful changes and insights in other areas as well.
ABUSE, trauma, P.T.S.D.
Often when we think of P.T.S.D. we think of veterans who have served and returned from action, but did you know that many other people outside the military can struggle with P.T.S.D.? Processing and seeking treatment for your traumatic experience is important. Anyone can experience emotional and/or psychological trauma after an extraordinarily stressful event, it can dissolve your sense of security and leave you feeling helpless and vulnerable. Your subjective emotional experience is what classifies an event as traumatic for you.