Listening, Hope and New Skills

When you enter into my office, you can expect to be listened to very closely, so I can understand fully what is troubling you. I want to hear what has and has not worked so far, so I can build on your successes and avoid what has not worked. I provide a safe space to explore your problems and get to know your strengths. I normally work on providing some sort of help to you within the first session, so that you can begin to feel more hopeful and know that our work will produce healing and give you new skills for successfully facing and resolving your troubles.

Serious Focus and Creativity

I take my client’s hurts very seriously and use my diverse training and creativity to bring healing and successful solutions to your problems. I work to unblock my clients, whether that involves helping with skills to express themselves to significant others, have their sense of power and voice in relationships or reduce the painful symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety can result from many sources: mistaken beliefs, skill deficits, fears, painful sensations, past trauma or the inability to feel one’s feelings in a meaningful way. Depression can have similar sources as anxiety, but have in addition the painful sense of hopelessness, and low energy.

Workable Solutions

My approach is to help client’s examine and replace faulty beliefs, to acquire skills of communication, coping and relaxation, to lesson fears and begin to feel more confidence and efficacy, to find ways to get past constriction and learn that feelings, when felt in a genuine, full-bodied way, can be deeply satisfying, full of meaning, and, paradoxically, lower one’s anxiety and depression.

Diverse Training and Client-Centered

I use a wide array of clinical approaches. For example, one week I could help you make sense of conflicting feelings and reasonings that you are torn by. The result could be to resolve an ambivilent place you have been in or begin to understand it. A different week, I may be working with you in a role play to practice expressing your thoughts and feelings to a significant other. How I choose to work is a function of what problem is most important to you, and how fragile or strong you are feeling. If you are feeling fragile, then I will likely help you feel stronger with resources to calm you and lower your anxiety.

Psychotherapy Approaches

I use many approaches in psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, gestalt, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused and family systems. This is because they each have useful principles and tools. If you are curious about these approaches, then you can read my brief effort at describing them below.

Psychodynamic Perspective helps me invite individuals to experience how they feel about something and then track the possible anxiety or defenses that can arise to try to prevent them from sensing their feelings.

Gestalt Psychotherapy is useful to explore one’s sensory awareness of a problem, or one’s difficulties in mobilizing one’s energy to achieve an action, and also working experientially in exploring one’s ability to feel satisfaction from one’s achievements. The goal in Gestalt is to learn to become aware of disowned parts of one’s self and then work to re-integrate them back into your life. For example, you may be good at kindness, but lack the capacity for self-assertion or expressing healthy and appropriate anger for good boundaries and/or getting your wants and needs met.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has lots of excellent, concrete tools. It’s advantages involve discovering new behaviors that will help you solve your problems. For example, if you are shy, then you would learn new behaviors to speak up, while keeping your anxiety low. Giving individuals homework is another good tool. Finally, it is useful to examine beliefs that are unhelpful in your current life and find new ones that fit with behaviors that work.

Solution-Focused Therapy is a perspective that believes that individuals are already in possession of many of the skills they need to solve their problems. Here the goal is to name a strength an individual has in one area of their life, and then use this strength to help solve a problem the individual is struggling with in a different area of their life.

Family Systems Therapy looks at how the rules and expectations in families interact with the temperments and unique aspects of ourselves that we are born with (genetics) to produce our personalities, and character. The complication is personalities we evolve to survive and thrive in our families can have both very lovely dimensions as well as unhelpful aspects, like anxieties or depressive symptoms. So, examining the family rules and expectations can be very useful for healing your painful troubles.