Meet The Therapist
I am a licensed psychotherapist (LCSW), and have been working in the mental health field since 1996. I specialize in couples therapy/marriage counseling, helping couples in crisis to break out of the vicious cycle of hurting and being hurt. I also see individuals.
I have been married myself for almost 30 years, with two teenagers, so I understand both the joys and struggles that marriage and family can bring. In our culture, there's a lot of pressure to look like we have it all together, especially when it comes to our families. Most of us don't though, and the sooner we realize we could use some support, the better!
My Therapy Approach
I incorporate a blend of multiple individual and couples therapy approaches, which include Emotionally Focused Therapy, Bader-Pearson's Developmental Model, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Put simply, my focus is on understanding how our thoughts, feelings, and patterns of interactions with others effect how we experience life. From these understandings we will work together to find practical solutions and create new experiences.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Have you ever noticed how you might be disagreeing about something small and superficial, and it turns into a really big argument? In EFT we look beyond the content of an argument to uncover patterns of communication and underlying deeper feelings that give repeating arguments their fuel. The focus is on stepping out of the blame game and restoring trust.
Bader-Pearson's Developmental Model (The Couples Institute)
This approach integrates insights from attachment theory, differentiation theory, and neuroscience, helping you practice new communication tools and skills, first in our sessions, and later at home. These communication tools work in two ways: First, they can help you navigate concrete disagreements. How do you express what you desire without blaming or nagging? How do you listen to the other's perspective without flying off the handle or shutting down? Second, as you get better at this, your brain will actually rewire in beneficial ways, making it easier and easier to become an effective communicator.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on how thoughts and feelings affect our behavior, helping people change destructive patterns by learning to see things differently. Individuals that struggle with depression for example often make negative evaluations of themselves, the world, and their future, and experience the events in their life as confirmation of these cognitive “biases”. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches you to question these biases, both by looking for evidence for these beliefs in reality, as well as finding new ways of perceiving yourself and your world, empowering you to take control of your life and your feelings.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a newer approach to treating anxiety and depression. Instead of fighting off unwanted thoughts and feelings with internal pep talks and debating your own mind (an argument you seem to never be able to win), ACT teaches you to defuse pessimistic mental voices with respectful attention (i.e. mindfulness), and to commit to leading a purposeful life despite our mind's "nagging."
I also frequently borrow from other psychotherapy models, such as Gottman, Stan Tatkin, Terry Real, and Gestalt.
Caring for the Soul
I'm committed to addressing couples and individuals as whole people, on an emotional, mental, social, and spiritual level. That means that a big part of my focus on relationships is about respecting who you are— your values, choices, and beliefs— and helping you to grow and flourish in that.
Beyond the immediate needs of treating personal and relational problems in crisis situations, people have a need to care for their souls by cultivating depth, and meaning into every day life. In a word, it's about love— learning to love and be loved, and by that opening oneself up to depth and meaning.
Part of my own faith background that informs and shapes my work entails a deep belief in the inherent value and dignity of people, no matter where they are at or what they are going through, and a belief that everyone deserves a new start, a chance for grace.
Broken relationships, tragedy, illness, and trauma can all have the effect of making people feel cut off from others, even from themselves. In such times, it's easy to feel alone, severed from God, life, and hope. Caring for the soul involves reminding people in crisis that what they are experiencing now is not all of who they are.
It's about learning to see the "more" of ourselves, and the "more" of life. Remembering that even in the midst of our struggle and hurt, we are whole people, valued and loved.