Individuals and Couples Counseling
Research findings continue to validate the notion that healthy relationships are the primary key to happiness and longevity. While the importance of diet and exercise should not be downplayed, we are wired to connect. Because of this, our greatest pain and even trauma is often inflicted by our relationships with others. This also means though, that our greatest healing and growth can occur through relationships (both with ourselves and with others).
My work with clients often revolves around their relationships, both in the present moment and in the past. No matter the details of our pain, healthy relationships, like a well balanced diet and exercise, can provide the support, strength, and resilience needed to face life's challenges.
Trauma and Abuse
I often have clients question whether or not they "really" have trauma or abuse. I find these terms can be relative. The severity is usually on a spectrum, and unique to each client. The ultimate question is, "how (if at all) are your past experiences affecting you in the present?" This requires exploration and is my focus in treatment, in addition to finding ways to help clients manage their symptoms and cope with present day problems. I have experience treating clients who have single incident trauma, attachment trauma, complex trauma, and various types of abuse. When needed, I will process past experiences with clients using EMDR or through more traditional therapies. Given that trauma is often stored in the body, I at times use somatic and experiential therapies as well.
LGBTQI and Gender Identity Issues
Coping with and exploring concerns and/or questions around sexual orientation and gender identity require a safe place, which can ideally be found within the therapeutic relationship. I have both personal and professional experience with struggles that are unique to LGBTQI individuals and gender identity. I understand the pain, fear, and feelings of isolation that can be both intentionally and unintentionally inflicted upon by family and friends, who are unable or unwilling to be fully supportive as their loved one explore some of the deepest, most intimate parts of themselves. I assist my clients in navigating both the difficulties and joy that are often found with coming out of the closet, discovering their true identities, unique relationship dynamics, feelings of belonging and community, how they relate to others, and connection and pride with themselves.
Depression and Anxiety
It's normal to experience ups and downs in life, but when we feel stuck and heavy, or out of control and on edge to an extent that we are unable to enjoy the things that we used to, something deeper may need to be addressed. As with many conditions, depression and anxiety can occur on a spectrum. Often times, my clients are struggling with adjustment to life transitions, and short-term therapy is sufficiently effective. I am able to help with these issues, and am also qualified to treat more chronic, low-level versions of depression and anxiety (dysthymia/persistent depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder), as well as more severe manifestations (bipolar, major depression). While medications alone may certainly help treat anxiety and depression on a short-term to moderate time frame, studies have shown that they are not as effective without psychotherapy.
The cause of addiction is often a combination of genetics, life experiences, and past relationships. I have experience in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, as well as process addictions (love, porn, work, shopping, etc). I not only work on symptom management with my clients, but also address any co-occurring issues and underlying trauma. I am also experienced at treating codependency, betrayed partners, and adult children of alcoholics. Additionally, my experience working in a residential treatment facility for professional women struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders, has given me insight into the unique struggles encountered by women who are attempting to juggle careers, families, and their emotional and mental well being.
The term unseen, invisible, or hidden disabilities, encompasses a wide range of chronic and sometimes unpredictable illnesses, which can cause mental, physical, or emotional impairments. Some of the more common invisible disabilities that I treat include epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. Unlike other disabilities, which may be recognizable due to an assistive device, invisible disabilities are not obvious, and lack the signs, language/vocabulary, and framework to talk about and acknowledge in everyday life. This often leads to peer misunderstandings, isolation, ableism, bullying, depression, low self-esteem, marginalization, stigma, and severe psychological distress. These individuals appear to have the same capabilities as "normal people", yet live with a unique set of challenges and must take precautions others need not worry about. As with physical disabilities, my clients with unseen disabilities usually have impairment in one or more major areas of their life. I provide a supportive environment to assist these individuals with the unique mental and emotional challenges that result from their disabilities.