My Approach

I approach my work from a psychodynamic, relational perspective.  I work with adults in an in- depth way to make a significant difference in their life.  Many people come to me after trying other approaches which seemed to work for awhile and then they find themselves back in the same self-defeating patterns. I want to help people substantially and that requires their readiness and commitment to begin dealing with their issues.

Unresolved trauma is often the reason why self-defeating patterns and recurring issues do not change significantly.  I have developed an expertise in attachment theory and trauma theory, both supported by neuroscience, in order to deal with unresolved trauma.   Therefore, I begin by taking a trauma history and looking at any patterns and symptoms that may be related to psychological trauma.

Trauma can greatly interfere in a person’s life.  Childhood trauma can be caused by caregivers so psychologically wounded that they were not able to give their child loving attention, comfort, and support.  It can also be caused by caregivers who were physically or emotionally abusive.  There may be other traumas that have occurred in a person’s adult life as well, such as a motor vehicle accident, abuse (emotional or physical), or a life threatening illness.  Disconnection that comes from psychological trauma is best bridged by the empathy and compassion of a highly trained, experienced therapist.  The safety and comfort of the therapeutic relationship can help heal deep wounds.

For the first number of sessions I take a thorough history, in addition to the trauma history.  This thoroughness makes it possible to develop the best plan for the therapy. In addition to what we will focus on first, I have many ways to approach each issue and we select the approach that feels right and comfortable to that person.

We then proceed with developing a deeper awareness and understanding of the impact various stresses and have had on a person’s life.  This deepening awareness and understanding comes from careful, mindful attention to the person’s experience in the safety and comfort of the therapeutic relationship.

In the process we will continually refer to the principles and practice of mindfulness and possibly use clinical hypnosis, EMDR, and dream analysis.  All of these approaches are extremely helpful in developing awareness, understanding, and working through substantial issues and patterns.   I also draw from Ego-State Therapy (looking at all the parts of oneself—we all have many parts to our experience), Emotionally-Focused Therapy, and Relational Therapy.

Social justice has always been a focus of my life and no less so as a psychologist. Whether I am working with individuals or couples I am concerned about issues of power and privilege. I want each person in the room to feel of equal value and have an equal voice.  I am very comfortable working with heterosexual or homosexual couples or individuals.  Recognizing how a person feels in society is part of the conversation.

I approach people with mindful attention, respect, and acceptance; knowing that people do the best they can and with a deeper awareness, understanding and compassion they can discover parts of themselves that help them strengthen, face difficult issues, and move forward in their lives and in their relationships. Finally, therapy is too serious a business to be without humor and a good measure of common sense; I invite people to bring in both.