I enjoy working collaboratively with individuals and couples who are ready to look within for the way out of feeling stuck, anxious, depressed, and disconnected. I use proven, effective tools to help clients reconnect to feelings of joy and well being in daily life and inspire the courage to change.
I specialize in mindful self-compassion and optimizing well being. I find it especially rewarding to support individuals and couples to make long-lasting, positive change.
My work is deeply informed by
--my own experience of healing through counseling treatment, including firsthand experience with recovering from depression, anxiety and trauma.
--25 years of practicing Buddhist-inspired meditation & mindful self-compassion
--Specialized PTSD & trauma integration training
--Years of working closely with adults and adolescents to find and express their authentic voice and sense of self through creative writing.
I grew up on the East Coast in a family that held deep appreciation for the wilderness and the natural world. For many years I worked with adults and youth, teaching creative writing (poetry and memoir) at college, high school and the community level. Supporting others to find and express their authentic voice and explore the richness and meaning of their own unique personal life experiences has been deeply instructive. I have learned that we have enormous capacity for resilience, facing life's challenges, and self-transformation. These are the same indelible capacities that I observe again and again in counseling clients.
My Approach to Individual and Couples & Marital Counseling
I draw from a handful of proven methods, including the following:
Cognitive & Dialectical Behavioral Therapies - CBT & DBT
Informed by years of research, Buddhist psychology and interpersonal neurobiology, these behavioral approaches work to soften and transform habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that interrupt our well being and hinder our relationships. Many clients reports that these behavioral interventions reduce the symptoms of chronic stress, anxiety, and depression.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)--developed over decades by celebrated clinician and researcher Sue Johnson, EFT is a very potent approach to couples counseling. This proven method helps couples learn how to observe and change their negative patterns of reactivity which have so often caused chronic disconnection, misunderstanding, disappointment between couples. Replacing reactive patterns with skillful responsiveness has been shown to open the door to deeply loving & connected relationships.
Trauma Treatment & PTSD Treatment using Sensorimotor Psychotherapy--
It turns out that trauma is held in the body. Trauma can wreak havoc on our emotions, our ability to think and function in daily life, and our relationships. Trauma puts our limbic system (fight/flight) on overdrive, making us feel chronically unsafe, reactive, anxious, fearful, and/or angry. We can quickly learn to read the signature of trauma in the body--in our posture, gestures, and nonverbal expressions. Integrating trauma results in a profound and renewed sense of safety, inner strength, confidence, as well as the energy and desire to fully re-engage with the world around us. We remember the traumatic experience but it no longer holds us emotionally and psychologically hostage.
I work with clients to fully integrate past traumatic experiences, using what is known as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is considered one of only several highly effective, cutting edge trauma treatment by psychology experts Daniel Siegel and Bessel Van der Kolk. Learning to listen to the body's messages can not only dissolve our reactive patterns. SMP will also powerfully transform the negative beliefs about ourselves and feelings of guilt and shame that accompany untreated trauma. Clients learn quickly how to use these tools, and the counseling environment provides a safe space for effective treatment. After a successful treatment session, clients often report having an immediate sense safety, inner strength, and renewed energy.
Mental health and the quality of our relationships can be deeply hindered by low self-esteem and negative beliefs about ourselves. Low self-esteem is often a key feature of the most common mental & emotional illnesses, including anxiety and depression, as well as trauma & PTSD. We can learn to free ourselves from the trance of unworthiness through simple practices that fit easily into our daily lives. The benefits are often life changing. Borrowing from both contemporary and proven ancient mind-state technologies, I work with clients to develop a healthy sense of self.