Therapeutic Approach and Focus Areas
Sometimes we know why we're unhappy and sometimes we don't. In both circumstances therapy can be very helpful. If we don't know why we're having difficulties however it can be hard to know who to reach out to for assistance. Below are descriptions of how I approach therapy and a list of my practice focus areas. If you read through this and still aren't sure whether or not your circumstances fit my practice, feel free to reach out. I will let you know if I think I can be of help or if a therapist with a different orientation might be more useful for you (no single therapist is the right fit for everyone!). As mentioned on my homepage, if needed I will be happy to assist you to find the right therapist.
Individual psychotherapy with me will be as short or long term as you wish and is always under the control of you the client. In my work I start from a fairly psychoanalytic stance but will include Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Gestalt approaches too. My goal is to create a non-judging environment in which you feel heard and an equal partner in sessions, and can therefore talk about issues that may feel impossible to talk about anywhere else.
People new to psychotherapy, whether in individual, group or couples psychotherapy, often begin their sessions with some confusion about the value of staying with emotions rather than focusing on concrete problem solving. Although problem solving has its place in psychotherapy, the bulk of session work really should be about feelings. This is an important aspect of how I practice. Feelings profoundly affect the decisions we human beings make, even if we think we're making purely rational, non-emotional determinations. Feelings affect the way we approach romantic/sexual relationships, the way we handle conflicts, the way we relate to family, the way we approach authority figures and even the way we define ourselves. If we don't understand our fuller emotional selves, much of our living is done out of sight and unexamined. Destructive patterns we may have developed over time can go unchanged, despite our frustration, or even despair. So psychotherapy, whether for individuals, groups or couples, is about laying the emotional groundwork for us to make real and lasting life changes rather than just helping us get by the problem of the moment.
To understand how I approach couples psychotherapy, it is important to know that I draw first from a Family Systems perspective, a collection of related theories that sees couples as a system of two, each of whose individual behaviors will impact the other to create a larger whole.
In a Family Systems approach there isn't a 'bad guy', even in relationships that have come to feel terrible to its members. In fact, as long as both partners are willing to take a step back and look at how each may be contributing to what doesn't feel good in the relationship, then much can be done. The therapist's office becomes a safe space where a couple can explore how each member can shift her or his part of the 'system', freeing the other to respond differently too. Having said this, it's important to note that couples therapy isn't just about behaviors. It's about the feelings that drive and are created by these behaviors; they are an integral part of this couples system. Therefore, when a destructive interaction between feelings and behaviors in a couple changes, then the whole relationship changes. Feelings of love, trust, safety, tenderness and passion – perhaps buried for a long time - can, and often do, resurface. When that kind of shift happens, and demonstrates some durability, the work is primarily done.
Group psychotherapy is a powerful tool for change, uniquely able to assist people to find a sense of community, self and hope, even when things seem bleak. Joining a group can be a frightening prospect. Most people feel nervous at first. But when a group and a new member are the right match, the experience is deeply rewarding and can change lives.
Groups in my practice serve many functions. If you feel uncertain about how to negotiate relationships (friendships, romantic partnerships, familial or professional relationships), worry your experience in life is not shared by others or struggle with persistent anxiety about how others in the world relate to you, then you may find group to be an invaluable resource.
In group we build real relationships that can be talked about as they form, expanding our ability to develop the kind of full and lasting attachments we want.
Practice Focus Areas
- Anxiety (general, social)
- LGBTQ+ Concerns
- Artist Support
- Relationship Challenges
- Work Stress
- Professional Uncertainty
- Grief and Loss
- Challenges of Adolescence
I value diversity. All are welcome in my practice.