There are two types of suffering: the kind that you run from and follows you everywhere, and the kind that you're willing to face and therein find your freedom ~ Daniel Siegel
I work with adults in individual, family, and couples settings. I help a variety of clients with a range of challenges such as personal and career growth, depression, anxiety, trauma, life changes, relationships, and more. I have worked in the mental health field since 2003. I prefer to work with a variety of age groups and cultural backgrounds as this keeps my work fresh and interesting.
What is it? Mindfulness is about observing our present moment thoughts, emotions, body sensations and behaviors without judgement and with compassion for ourselves. Current social science and neurobiology research has proven the benefits of mindfulness. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. Mindfulness allows us to catch negative thought patterns before they lead us into a downward spiral. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. When we are more aware of our mental habits, assumptions, and physical reactions, we become equipped with the freedom of rational choice. We ACT more, and REACT less. For more information on mindfulness visit http://franticworld.com/what-is-mindfulness/
Hakomi: Somatic (body-centered) Approaches
I am a certified Hakomi therapist and my work is greatly influenced by the principals and methods of Hakomi. Hakomi is a mindfulness-based, experiential, and somatically oriented therapy. We are missing a large percentage of available interpersonal and intrapersonal information with talk therapy alone. Most therapy methods do not address bodily responses and chronically activated somatic symptoms. Instead they attend to behavioral, cognitive, psycho-dynamic, and pharmacological interventions. While these approaches are effective and necessary at times, they are not enough. Mindfulness and experiential approaches recognize that emotions, thoughts and memories are necessarily intertwined with the body. Our physical body, via the nervous system, affects our mind, and vice versa. Research shows this type of “bottom-up processing” is effective in treating a variety of issues.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is an evidence-based experiential method originally developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987 for processing trauma. EMDR is a structured approach to therapy using “Dual attention Stimulus” (present focus with attention to past material), and
bilateral stimulation (eye movements, buzzers, audio tones) while processing memories. EMDR is now being used for: panic attacks, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, phobias, pain disorders, performance anxiety, stress reduction, addictions, sexual and/or physical abuse, body dysmorphic disorders, personality disorders.
EMDR has been extensively researched and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2003) and The American Psychiatric Association (2004). For more information regarding EMDR go to www.emdria.org.
Here is a video about EMDR
PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy)
PACT is an experiential approach to couple work. Attachment research informs this work as well as neuroscience and affect regulation theory. Whether we like it or not, our behavior in primary relationships is wired-in by early attachment relationships with our caregivers. PACT does not aim to change our attachment style, but it does aim to experientially teach clients what secure functioning is. Instead of "problem talking," PACT uses experiential techniques to elicit real-time responses which inform us about secure functioning and our nervous system.
I also teach clients about Non-violent Communication in my couple work.
Research has proven time and again that the client-therapist rapport is the most “curative factor” in the therapeutic setting. What does this mean? A therapist can be a foremost expert in their area of practice with a bevy of state-of-the-art therapeutic techniques, none of which will matter if a genuine rapport between client and therapist isn’t present. My work is heavily influenced by recent research on interpersonal neurobiology. Ensure that you have a comfortable and genuine fit with your therapist. If it’s not there after a couple of sessions, switch therapists.
The majority of our suffering comes not from outside sources, but our own struggle between what is, and the picture we have in our mind of what should/could be. Acceptance is a key component to reducing psychological distress. Acceptance is not to be mistaken for apathy. Instead shifting our attention and energies into what CAN be changed or controlled produces results. Accepting one’s self, i.e. loving one’s self, is critical to progressing in therapy. Shifting energy previously wasted on attempts at changing things out of our control over to acceptance one key to positive change.
I place a premium on the client's present experience. This allows insight into how we are wired to arise naturally versus talking about things we already know. We do experiments, like saying or hearing words, doing something with our body, remember memories, or imagine doing something in our lives, and we see what happens. This allows us to deepen towards core material where new experience, insight and lasting change can happen.
The word somatic comes from the ancient Greek word “somat” which means “body.” Traditional talk therapy-only methods are missing much of the equation. Thoughts and emotions have somatic consequences, just as physical sensations inform our psychology.
Alice Miller in her book "The Body Never Lies" says, "The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body. And although we can repress it we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But some day our body will present it’s bill for it is as incorruptible as a child who’s still whole in spirit. It will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth.”
I respect that all clients are different and what works for some, does not work for others. I encourage an open dialogue with my clients about the process of therapy, what’s working and what isn’t. I do not push an agenda on clients, but work to help them identify what thoughts and behaviors serve their own values.
When appropriate to clients I encourage an exploration of spiritual resources and values-based behaviors. Whatever a client’s spiritual preference or upbringing, research shows that a spiritual practice can result in higher self-esteem, and lower rates of psychological and physical distress.
I honor and welcome clients from all racial, ethnic, gender, age, sexual orientation, spiritual, political, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
I encourage clients to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether that means exercise, eating intelligently, or getting plenty of sleep. I encourage balance, and seeking “the middle way.” For some this may be reading more, connecting with friends or family, or connection with anything that feeds the soul. For others this may mean taking a medication, learning a hobby, or just learning to slow down.