Areas of Specializations
Individual therapy, also referred to as psychotherapy or counseling, is a process through which clients work one-on-one with a trained therapist in a safe, caring, and confidential environment. They explore their feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, work through challenging and influential memories, and identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change. They learn to develop personal goals and to work toward change. Clients are helped to better understand both themselves and others.
People seek therapy for a wide variety of reasons, from coping with major life challenges, or childhood trauma, to dealing with depression or anxiety, to simply desiring personal growth and greater self-knowledge. A client and therapist may work together for as few as five or six sessions or as long as several years, depending on the client’s unique needs and personal goals for therapy.
Couples Therapy & Relationship Issues
Marriage counseling or relationship counseling is one type of psychotherapy. Counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through counseling, one can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding relationship, or a couple may decide it best to separate. Couples counseling is often provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees. Couples counseling is often short term. Couples counseling typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone. The specific treatment plan depends on the situation.
Life transition is a general psychological term that is an expansion on the original idea of the mid-life crisis or transition that many people undergo in their early 40s. It is an attempt to chart the major changes in a person's life as they grow, such as from childhood to adulthood, from school to work, and from single life to married life. The process of life transition theory also includes points of crisis in the lives of individuals that may result from divorce, the death of someone close, loss of a career, and other significant life changes. Each set of major life transitions offers both unique opportunities and challenges for the individual to adapt and to see his place in society in a new light. Every life transition involves an element of increased stress, whether it fosters positive or negative change. This is often due to the fact that the individual is facing a set of circumstances that is largely unknown to him or her on a deeply personal level, regardless of the fact that many others have gone through the same life transition.
Depression, Anxiety & Loneliness
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health concerns in our society. They are often experienced as a complex set of emotional and functional challenges. Anxiety and depression can lead to loneliness. Loneliness is not the same as being a loner or a private person or just enjoying time alone. Loneliness here refers to feelings of isolation, feeling like an outcast, and experiencing a lack of social contact and intimacy. These feelings often go hand-in-hand with depression and anxiety. The science of mind-body medicine helps us understand the connection between our mind and body and enables us to understand how anxiety and depression may be triggered by a variety of factors. These can include nutritional, psychological, physical, emotional, environmental, social, and spiritual factors, as well as genetic tendencies or brain disease. Anxiety and depression are not the same, but they often occur together. It is not uncommon for people with depression to experience anxiety and people with anxiety to become depressed. There is also overlap in some of the treatments, so it is beneficial to learn about both conditions. To work with depression and anxiety, I use an integrative approach including health-promoting lifestyle changes and a combination of mind/body therapies.
Grief & Bereavement
Grief counseling is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help people cope with grief and mourning following the death of loved ones (bereavement) or with major life changes that trigger feelings of grief. Grief is experienced and expressed in many different ways and is often shaped by one’s culture and beliefs. Grief can bring up feelings of sadness, yearning, guilt, regret, anger, and loneliness. Therapy helps one to work through these feelings as they come up in unexpected ways in life.
Transitional Aged Youth (16-25yo)
LGBTQI & Coming Out Issues
Traveling the path that links adolescence to adulthood is challenging for all. The brain is still growing until about the age of 25, especially the part that makes wise decisions, the frontal lobes. During this time, skills must be learned, developed and honed to allow the youth to function well as an adult. This transition sometimes is rocky, and the support of family, friends, and professionals is often needed. It is during this time that abstract thinking, self-sufficiency, and the development a mature concept of self, physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual levels mature.
Sex Positive -- Sex, Sexuality & Alternative Sexuality
Learning and understanding yourself to be different from the general society is difficult in a vacuum. The internet does provide some help but should not replace qualified and professional assistance. Your unique sexuality and sexual expression is important for your relationship with yourself, your body, and with others. The beliefs and attitudes we have about sexual orientation affect us as a whole and should not be compartmentalized. Human sexuality is expressed in many different ways. People have various ways of being sexual including different gender expressions, identifications, and orientations. There is not one that suits everyone.
Sex positive therapy promotes the exploration and celebration of human sexuality in a non-judgmental environment. This is a consensual open sexual expression and dialogue that aids in gaining a deeper understanding of yourself. A sex positive approach understands that sex extends beyond reproduction and that everyone should have the freedom and resources to pursue a fulfilling and empowering sex life. You can explore, through therapeutic principles, how to create and maintain interpersonal relationships, personal pleasure, spiritual growth, and enhance emotional and physical health. Sexuality is deeply personal and can often feel difficult to talk about in a sex-negative culture. Sex positive therapy works toward helping you feel comfortable with your sexuality, sexual identity and orientation, and sexual functioning as you create a whole and complete life. This includes but not limited to, having or wanting to explore an alternative sexual lifestyle, kink, fetishes, BDSM, and polyamorous or open relationships.
Trauma Related Issues
Trauma therapy can mean many things in terms of what will take place in a therapy session. There are numerous approaches to helping people overcome traumatic experience and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The approach to working with trauma is aimed at relieving the aftereffects of trauma. Often trauma therapy combines talk therapy with body therapy to bring both the mind and body into awareness to help shift out of the effects of trauma. In children, especially those who cannot stay too focused or discuss at length, play therapy and art therapy are utilized frequently.
Occasionally people describe therapeutic approaches to trauma as occurring in three stages. The first goal is to deal with the way trauma changes emotional responses and how these altered responses can impact behavior. Getting responses to an acceptable level and reducing the negative emotional and/or physical aspects of post-traumatic stress provides comfort is and vary significant. As therapy progresses, the actual trauma must be discussed or in some manner dealt with by techniques using a somatic or body awareness approach. However part of the trauma is having difficulty processing the events or truly grieving. As part of the work grief must be included as the matter is explored in therapy. Once grieving occurs, many people need to start the work of learning how to be a part of the world again. Each therapist may suggest slightly different models. Simplifying it too much would downplay the serious and difficult work that most people in trauma therapy undergo. The advantage of this therapy, when it is effective, is that people are no longer victims of the experiences that caused them to seek therapy. Those who have had positive experiences with trauma therapy attest that the hard work is very much worth the outcome.
Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy
Mindfulness-Based Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can bring one’s life into awareness through the use of meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” says Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a form of MBSR that includes exercises linking thinking and its resulting impact on feeling. Mindfulness helps clients work with their thoughts and feeling, to deal with depression, anxiety, shyness & social anxiety, unworthiness, inadequacy, and shame. By becoming mindful of our thoughts and feelings, we can learn to identify them without becoming them. This is an important distinction in my work I draw on different traditions from the East, West, and from native cultures to train my clients in mindfulness and to help them apply it in their lives.
Body Centered Psychotherapy
Somatic Psychology (body mind psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy, etc.) is a holistic form of therapy that respects and utilizes the powerful connection between body, mind, and spirit. How we are in this world, how we relate to ourselves and others, is not just purely about the mind or our thoughts, but it is also deeply rooted in our bodies and our spirits. Unlike traditional talk therapy or cognitive therapy, Somatic Psychology tends to be more experiential. Somatic Psychology has a long and rich history and is primarily derived from the theories and practices of Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst and student of Sigmund Freud. Since that time, it has been influenced by existential, humanistic and gestalt psychology, dance, movement, and art therapy, family and systems theory, biology, neurology, and Far Eastern philosophy and spirituality. Individuals seek this form of treatment for reasons similar to why they might look to more traditional therapy—to address stress, anxiety, depression, relationship and sexuality issues, grief and loss, addictions, trauma including abuse recovery, as well as more purely medical reasons including pain, headaches, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Somatic Psychotherapy includes many different techniques that can be utilized depending on the specific needs of each client. Such interventions can include developing mindfulness and awareness of one’s physical presence using relaxation and meditative techniques, movement in order to promote a deeper physical awareness and to expand one’s capacity to feel and express emotions, breathing techniques to increase awareness of and improve functioning of the breath. For further information about Body-Centered Psychotherapy visit The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy & Counseling
for Individuals, Couples, and Families