I offer individual therapy sessions to adults ages 18 and older. I have worked with clients to address a wide variety of difficulties, such as symptoms of depression and anxiety, the aftereffects of trauma, low self-esteem, and relationship issues. However, while there is perhaps an infinite list of concerns that motivate people to seek therapy, treatment is most effective when it identifies and addresses the underlying roots of these psychological difficulties rather than attempting to patch or “get rid of” particular symptoms. When we’ve reached a place where we somehow are not able to take good care of ourselves, can’t trust ourselves, and don’t value ourselves, it’s not surprising that we might feel depressed or anxious, abuse food or substances, have stressful relationships, or experience any of the many other ways in which the lack of a healthy connection with ourselves can manifest.
Therefore, treatment aims to facilitate self-awareness in the service of inner relationship-building. There are broad ways to describe how we will do this work, (see How Therapy Helps), and also several specific modalities that we can use intermittently or in a more concentrated way, depending on the needs and preferences of each particular client. These modalities include:
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
The IFS model is my therapeutic “home base,” and shapes my thinking even when we use other modalities and interventions. Derived in part from its creator Richard Schwartz’s experience of being a family therapist, Internal Family Systems work helps us to identify and appreciate the many different viewpoints and coping strategies that coexist inside of us. Many of us have had the experience of trying to do something only to watch helplessly as we appear to sabotage ourselves, so we know that this coexistence is not always harmonious! IFS work enables us to get our “inner family” members pulling together instead of working against each other, a positive shift that is produced by building attuned connection between the inner family members and our core, essential Self.
Hypnosis creates a state in which we experience both deep relaxation and heightened awareness. The analytical, conscious part of our mind is guided to take a “back seat” so that we can connect more fully with our subconscious mind, where our long-held beliefs, memories, and feelings reside. Although hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that we may enter many times a day, often without even realizing it, hypnotherapy can maximize our ability to make use of this state in order to gain insight as well as to cultivate and increase healthy, positive beliefs and behaviors.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Research has shown that when an experience causes us to have emotions that are intense and overwhelming, our brains cannot process information as they normally do and the upsetting experience becomes “frozen in time,” leaving us feeling stuck with the images, sensations, and feelings associated with it. EMDR work combines focusing on the trauma with bilateral stimulation of the brain, (using simple methods such as eye movements, audio tones, or tapping on first one and then the other side of the body) to nudge the brain back into normal processing mode and thereby “digest” the experience. EMDR was first used to treat the trauma symptoms of war veterans and rape victims, but increasingly has been found to effectively address a wide range of difficulties, or as creator Francine Shapiro puts it, both “big T and small t” traumas.
Crystallized from Eugene Gendlin’s research on what exactly it is that enables people in psychotherapy to create positive changes in their lives, Focusing is a gentle but powerful process of accessing information about ourselves and our lives that we don’t always realize we possess. By sensing into the subtle ways that memories, images, sensations, and emotions are carried by our body/minds, we can connect to meanings our experiences hold for us that are not always available through our more familiar linear thinking.