My approach to treating anxiety hinges on developing an understanding of the issues underlying the anxiety (i.e. what does the anxiety mean for each person, what is it responding to, what does it try to resolve?) so that we can use this awareness when seeking to interrupt the anxiety. Addressing the symptoms involves targeting both cognitions and behaviors in ways that provide symptom relief and more effective coping.
I work with trauma in its varied forms by addressing the trauma, its impact, its sequelae, and its traces. In the trauma recovery process, I support patients in identifying ways in which their means of coping with the trauma have ceased to serve them and instead may interrupt healing and erupt as symptoms (i.e. depression, anxiety, PTSD, food/relationship/ substance abuse, etc…). While striving towards symptom relief, I help patients in approaching the trauma, reflecting upon it, developing a nuanced understanding of the traumatic event or experience, integrating these insights into the self-concept and life story, and locating themselves confidently in the present and within themselves.
My approach to treating addictive behaviors, whether they be related to food, internet/technology overuse, self-destructive relationships, or other substances is to unpack the ways that they are a method of compensating for something else (i.e an unmet need, an underdeveloped capacity, a difficulty being with oneself, a way of dealing with difficult emotion or experiences when other means are not in place, etc…). In essence, I look at the behavior as meaningful and seek to help the patient gain understanding into it. Simultaneously, we seek to interrupt the self-defeating behavioral patterns; this is absolutely critical in that left unchecked, they can alter personality and harm the individual in profound ways.
My approach to helping people with relationship issues of all kinds, particularly relevant to couples therapy, is to cultivate understanding of the nature of the conflicts between them and the dynamic and patterns of relating in which they are stuck. We look at how the past influences the present and how this is carried into the relationship and how dysfunctional communication styles impact the dyad. We seek constructive change by knowing self and other, as well as relational binds, and work towards improved intimacy through sharing, active listening, internalizing the other, more intentionality in reactions, conflict resolution, and commitment to change.
In treating eating disorders, I work with individuals, and sometimes significant others, parents, and families, and I may employ a treatment team model (collaborating with other professionals, like doctors, nutritionists, etc.) in order to address the complexity of the eating disorder and its impact on the individual’s physical, familial, and social well-being, if appropriate. The therapeutic process involves investigating the dynamic underpinnings of the eating disorder, overcoming resistances or other ingrained ways of being (e.g. bad habits), working through psychological conflicts, uncovering the meaning of the symptoms and the ways in which the symptoms “speak,” acquiring language for the expression of emotions and improving one’s ability to tolerate emotion, developing a core sense of self, cultivating consciousness, self-reflectivity, and self-knowledge, working through trauma and relational binds (i.e. the ways in which relationships in our lives have gotten us stuck in one way or another), realizing true power and control instead of relying on the eating disorder to feel empowered, cultivating more effective coping mechanisms, and striving towards daily symptom reduction and relief.
I have a developmental approach to working with individuals, children, parents, and families as I think an essential part of life is negotiating the transitions between different stages of life, the gains and losses of capacities and abilities, joys and disappointments, successes and failures, frustrations, inevitable losses, surprises and abrupt changes, and relational binds, conflicts, and fractures. Many of us struggle with these very normal experiences and from time to time, need help working through these developmental challenges, to prevent the manifestation and escalation of symptoms.
Some specific examples of developmental challenges are: handling the physical, social, and emotional changes during adolescence, developing intimate relationships, leaving for college, becoming pregnant and embracing pregnancy itself, preparation for labor/childbirth, parenting, managing life/work balance, dealing with illness and chronic pain, coping with the loss of loved ones, and aging.
Working with parents around parenting issues related to child, adolescent, and young adult development is of particular interest to me. I work with many children, parents, and families to address family dynamics and parent-child issues. Some of this work is done in open-ended therapy, while I also offer consultation to parents and families whereby I perform an evaluation and help develop a plan for intervention that the family can employ at home on their own. I will see kids in my practice from early adolescence and older.