My Practice

Why Therapy?

We seek the assistance of a professional counselor when we are experiencing elevated discomfort – emotional pain, fear, confusion, loss, or some other vulnerability. The initial risk of therapy may be the risk of letting yourself be known and seen, perhaps more fully than you usually would allow. This takes real courage, and if you are getting ready to take this step, don’t be put off if you feel anxious. Going forward while feeling anxious is a good definition of courage!

Many people discover that therapy is something they enjoy. This may be because we like to be safe and protected, while also in a position to observe — to see what’s going on, at close range and in the distance. Kids in a treehouse enjoy this dynamic, as do tired parents who choose a table in a corner of a restaurant, where they enjoy privacy but also people-watching. Architects design these situations into their buildings — opportunities for both refuge and prospect. Actually, within the first or second meeting with a therapist who is a good person to trust, you will experience both of these. Refuge is the experience of feeling safe and understood. Prospect is the experience of gaining a more accurate and meaningful view of your concerns.

The initial risk of therapy is the risk of letting yourself be known and seen, perhaps more fully than you usually would allow.

When client and therapist are connected and comfortable, therapy becomes a space where we can be very effectively curious about ourselves and the patterns in our lives. We learn to make wise use of the perspective we gain  – for ourselves, for the people in our lives, for the world we encounter each day.

8 Points to describe my approach

Established theories and techniques guide the work of modern therapy. I take an integrationist approach. It blends a number of ideas, theories and techniques — the ones I’ve found useful in the process of learning and practicing. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, emotion-focused therapy, interpersonal processing, dialectical-behavioral therapy, feminist theory, multiculturalism, and some (but not all) psychodynamic theories about how past experiences shape one’s self-concept. But I’d be surprised if that gave you a useful idea of how I work with people! 

Read this 8-point list to better understand my approach:

Good therapy is also unique therapy. I customize my approach and respond to your concerns, taking into consideration your goals, personal strengths, cultural identities, support systems, and circumstances.

Therapy is a collaboration, and our combined strengths will shape our work together.

My experience allows me to function as a Guide. Being a Guide means that I’m able to improvise, shifting between leading and following in our conversations. I can put into words the essence of where we are in the process, and this creates a map with points of interest and destinations.

The focus tends to zoom in and zoom out. We zoom in when we talk together about you as an individual, and we zoom out when we consider the outside forces impacting your life.

Outside forces can be historical, including the oppression and exploitation of people based upon traits like age, gender, size, appearance, education, wealth, and sexual orientation. Being a therapist who devotes energy to understanding these realities positions me to be an Ally to people with many different identities and experiences.

It can be useful to notice what clients are experiencing “in the room,” and make it comfortable to give voice to current thoughts and feelings. It’s ok for us to experience silence while you pause to sense your inner world.

Most people are conditioned to feel concern about being “too emotional.” As a therapist who values the good things that can happen when we allow our feelings to surface, I’ve learned to create safety for people do this, so they may experience a deeper, more respectful self connection.

I know about and practice a number of things that positively influence mental and emotional health. I like to offer suggestions as “experiments” to try out for brief periods of time, so we can evaluate them based on your experience, and adjust them as necessary.

Other Areas of Interest

Clinical Supervision

If you are a graduate student seeking clinical supervision to complete a practicum or internship, or a professional in practice seeking clinical supervision prior to obtaining independent licensure status, you are welcome to contact me to discuss your interests and needs. We should take some time to understand how my experience and perspective may or may not be a good fit for your current stage of development, and for your clinical setting and caseload. Clinical supervision is a commitment, elaborated in a contract with important legal and ethical consequences. Before making that commitment, we should have ample opportunity to ask one another questions, to discuss our approaches to therapy and our expectations about clinical supervision, and to intuit whether our supervisory relationship would be characterized by trust, respect, and collaboration – in the service of your growth and development.

Continuing Education

Please contact me to arrange engaging and productive training experiences or workshops for your staff or students. Sample special topics include Core Therapeutic Skills, Mindfulness Interventions In and Out of Session, Motivational Interviewing: Essential Attitudes for All Therapeutic Approaches, Understand Addiction Through IFS (Internal Family Systems), and CARE: Calm, Active, Realistic, and Ethical with Clients in Crisis. Continuing Education Units possible.

Policies

Important laws and ethical principles contribute to a safe and therapeutic experience in counseling. Reading and understanding my policies is essential to knowing your rights, protections, risks, and responsibilities. Please seek to discuss with me any questions or concerns you have about my policies. A single document containing all of the policies is also available for viewing, downloading, or printing – scroll to the bottom of any webpage, and find “All Policies in One Document” in the center column of the footer.