The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
--Derek Walcott, "Love After Love"
The primary focus of psychotherapy is healing. As a therapist, I believe that self-healing is a natural property of all people and that we all have an inherent impulse for growth. The role of the therapist is to help create the conditions for healing.
Sometimes the strategies we developed as children and adolescents to manage overwhelming feelings and stressful environments no longer serve us well. In psychotherapy, the client works with the therapist in a safe, supportive environment to cultivate curiosity about feelings and behaviors, practice self-compassion to and develop more effective strategies in the present moment.
My specialties are in complex trauma, developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, identity concerns, and transitions.
Some tools and approaches I use are:
Mindful Self-Compassion/Compassion-Focused Therapy: Compassion for self and others is an antidote to shame and is also a powerful motivator. Mindfulness is a practice in which we are aware of ‘"thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, our body as a body, and our intentions as intentions."
Somatic & Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: How do our bodies know we are safe? Somatic approaches focus on integrating unresolved responses to trauma and other difficult experiences through physical, sensorimotor, and emotional experience, in addition to talking. Drawing on the natural intelligence present in our body and emotional mind to direct healing, somatic approaches are often immensely helpful for people with histories of trauma, and/or feel stuck in traditional talk therapy.
- Internal Family Systems (IFS): The internal family systems model holds that the mind is naturally multiple and that that is a good thing! Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our Wise Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS, we practice curiosity and compassion as we work to welcome all parts.
Structural Dissociation: Dissociation refers to the nervous system’s ability to disconnect itself from aspects of experience. Structural dissociation describes experiences ranging from numbness, feeling disconnected, feeling frozen, and body memories (flashbacks experienced mostly physically). Simply put, structural dissociation is a way in which we survive difficult situations as children.
Somatic and Attachment-Focused EMDR (SAFE EMDR): A very specific type of therapy to help people suffering symptoms of PTSD and difficult experience. With EMDR, the patient adaptively reorganizes their experiences in an accelerated manner. S.A.F.E. EMDR incorporates the principles of nonviolence and mindfulness to the EMDR therapy training as well as a simplified way to conceptualize attachment and somatic theories. Nonviolence and mindfulness are important aspects of effective therapy of any type, but especially trauma therapies.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT): A mindfulness-based approach to therapy that teaches radical acceptance of things we cannot control, cognitive defusion ("noticing thoughts as thoughts"), perspective-taking, the importance of beliefs and values, and committed action.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT combines elements of mindfulness with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). A dialectic is a synthesis or integration of opposites. In DBT, dialectical strategies help both the therapist and the client get unstuck from extreme positions. DBT is a skills-based model that teaches mindfulness of current thoughts and emotions through Wise Mind/Wise Self, curiosity about the causes of behavior, and helps clients practice interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills. Because I am in individual private practice, I cannot offer the full DBT model, but I am able to offer DBT-informed therapy and to incorporate DBT skills into treatment.
What Works in Psychotherapy