Evidence is conclusive that finding a therapist with whom you can be comfortable and whom you trust is essential in treating mental and behavioral health problems. My warm, gentle, and intuitive approach helps my clients build the partnership needed to guide them to a positive treatment outcome.
Be aware that the therapeutic process, while built on trust and compassion, is not one that can always remain comfortable. When necessary any good therapist will hold his or her client’s feet to the fire of self-responsibility for the sake of treatment and healthy rewards. But this can and – I believe – should be done with kindness and without judgment.
We all suffer. Life seems to require at least some pain — the pains of loss and disappointment, for instance. But often pain is avoidable, or will respond to soothing.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
~ C.S. Lewis
The pains we carry require our attention. By showing up time after time, smarting through our memories or our current patterns of thought and behavior, they persuade us to act. Though unwanted and often confusing, these pains are friendly reminders of tasks left unfinished. Therapy offers a chance to hear the cries of these inner voices and to face the message they carry. Once that is done, choices of thought and action open up and provide new avenues toward health and happiness.
I base my approach to therapy on personal insights collected through my own learning journey and my education in therapeutic techniques, including those listed below.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive psychotherapy approach to addressing disturbing life experiences. It has been proven especially effective in treating trauma and trauma related problems including PTSD.
Its premise is simple: in the moment of experiencing a traumatic event, we are too busy surviving or utterly overwhelmed to fully process all the information perceived. Instead, we store the information so we can come to terms with it later. During a car accident, for example, as the car rolls into a ditch, all the sights and sounds, our thoughts and emotions, even the smells we experience are stored. Yet many people never come to terms with such occurrences. Because they are frozen in place with all the feelings intact, anything that triggers memories of trauma may bring the same emotional and mental state experienced at the time of the event. EMDR allows the sufferer to reprocess traumatic events, unlocking and releasing the unwanted mental and emotional reactions for good.
Bowen and Family Therapy
Bowen found that the family unit is the primary source of human emotional experience. From our families, we learn how to ask for what we need, how to love, and how to connect with others.
We have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
– Herman Hesse
Bowenian therapy begins with education about the individual’s reaction to others, roles family members unconsciously play, and how these roles are passed along among family members. This education provides insights and offers new and more effective options for living. The therapist’s job is to help pinpoint roles that surface among family members and offer new responses that bring release from painful patterns and healing to old wounds.
Structural therapy is a process of highlighting and challenging interactions in the moment. We each grew into our identities through two inner experiences: a sense of belonging and a sense of being separate. The laboratory in which these ingredients are mixed, dispensed, and accepted is the family.
Clients carry into my office all they learned in their families. In session we explore these lessons: these boundaries, relationships with power, and painful patterns of behavior. Adapting to the new relationships created in sessions, family members learn more effective and healthy techniques to survive and cooperate.
Narrative therapy is based on the idea that people create and carry an understanding of themselves in the form of a story. We use our stories to make sense of our lives and to find meaning and context, but often our stories are incomplete and leave us without words for what we experience.
Of all the devices available to us, stories are the surest way of touching the human spirit.~ Kurtz & Ketcham
Narrative therapy is finding the other story. Clients are the experts of their own experience and problems. The therapist merely has expertise in the narrative line of questioning. Narrative therapy is curiosity in action, guiding clients to tell a more inclusive story.
Just listening and asking facilitating and clarifying questions from a position of curiosity can be very therapeutic. Sometimes people get all they want from therapy through this process alone.
Solution Focused Therapy
Solution focused therapy helps clients change their focus from the problem to a focus on the solution. Solution focused therapists search for, discover, and trust individuals’ solutions to their problems. When clients discover and use their own solutions consciously and intentionally their solutions become more effective and permanent.