I step into the therapeutic space with a warm heart, an open mind and a passion for the resiliency of the human spirit. I view therapy as an opportunity to discover and strengthen the coping skills that help us navigate the ebb and flow of life, while taking the time to examine what is and isn’t working for us personally and in our relationships.
My practice is geared toward working with these clients:
Adults of all ages
Children (8 & up), Teens, and Young Adults
Couples (all types of couples and relationship styles)
AREAS OF FOCUS INCLUDE:
Narcissistic abuse recovery
“Enough about me, tell me more about me.” Anonymous narcissist
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition in which a person’s fragile self-esteem and sensitivity to criticism is expressed through an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. While this condition is found in 1% or less of the population, narcissistic traits and accompanying behaviors are much more common and can have an outsized impact on children, romantic partners, employees, and friends. While you can’t change the people around you, there are ways to adjust your own choices to minimize the negative impact of a narcissist in your life. Through understanding your role in the relationship, exploring ways to adjust your half of the dynamic, and developing boundaries that work for you, you can begin the process of healing, whether or not you stay in the relationship.
Click here to read my feature in Women's Health Magazine on the topic of narcissistic abuse recovery.
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” Pema Chödrön
In addition to impacting your thoughts and emotions, anxiety can show up somatically through fatigue, insomnia, and muscle tension; and, is also linked to higher levels of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). While anxiety can become a habit in which we become stuck in our body’s danger response system, despite the lack of any true danger, it can be unlearned and managed. We all experience anxiety from time to time as a natural part of life, but when it becomes more frequent and forceful, it’s important to learn the skills you need to reclaim your peace. How that is accomplished is tailored to your needs and strengths, but usually involves a combination of talk therapy, ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques, breathwork, grounding exercises, and mindfulness.
“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” Dr. Peter A. Levine
Traumatic experiences, such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, cultural and racial trauma, and growing up in a chaotic or stressful family, are defined as stressful events that can exceed our ability to cope. Many times we move on as best we can from these experiences, but find that we continue to struggle with the remnants, which can show up in our lives as emotional dysregulation, anxiety, upsetting memories, fear, difficulties in establishing trust, or unsatisfying relationships. Recovery from trauma is a very personal experience that can evolve as you grow and change over time, and the therapeutic relationship is a powerful tool to begin or continue your journey while working to develop resiliency, coping mechanisms, and new insights. In addressing trauma, clients have the option of considering EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as a treatment modality, in addition to more traditional talk therapy modalities. We can work together to find the approach that best meets your needs. My specialty areas in working with trauma include women's issues, sexual trauma, incest, child abuse & childhood parentification, intimate partner violence, and narcissistic abuse.
Relationships and intimacy
“Love is an action even more than a feeling. It requires intention and attention, a practice we call attunement.” Dr. John Gottman
Humans are fundamentally social beings and our connection to others is critical to our overall happiness. When our relationships don’t meet our expectations, it can profoundly impact our well being. Through the different stages of relationships – dating, engagement, marriage or partnership, and divorce or loss of a partner – common issues addressed in therapy include boundaries, attachment styles, sex, communication, and maintaining your sense of self in your relationships. Therapy can be a useful tool to address relational issues individually or as a couple. I am trained in the Gottman Method for couple’s work and incorporate that along with other modalities to meet the unique needs of the client, if you are coming to work on relationship issues individually, or clients, if you are seeking couple’s counseling. I am LGBTQIA + affirmative, welcome all relationship styles, and am also available to work with couples who are preparing for marriage.
Children, Teens, & Young Adults
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” Fred Rogers
Attending to the mental health needs of our youth has become an urgent priority as rates of anxiety, depression, body image concerns, school stress, and attention disorders have all been on the rise in the past few years – further exacerbated by the pandemic and the closing, and then reopening, of schools. With experience as a parent, a former teacher, and a former school counselor, I bring a multi-faceted understanding to my work with children (8 & up), teens, and young adults. I prioritize finding the right balance between respecting the sacred therapeutic space of the child and working with parents and families to improve communication in a teamwork approach to facilitate the child getting the support they need in all facets of their lives. My work is trauma-informed with a strong focus on ACT, mindfulness, and providing a safe and supportive space to process and problem-solve, and I have extensive experience with neurodivergence, specifically ASD and ADHD.
High conflict divorce, separation, and co-parenting
“For many people the pain of a divorce is only partially about the loss of the other person; often it’s just as much about what that change represents – failure, rejection, betrayal, the unknown, and a different life story than the one they’d expected.” Lori Gottlieb
The end of a partnership can be painful, but it can also be an opportunity for growth as we reflect on the past, re-evaluate our needs, and explore new possibilities for our future. High-conflict divorce can be uniquely painful and can drag out over an extended period, making it even more challenging to move past the pain of the separation. When children are involved, it becomes even more important to obtain perspective and support in order to minimize the stress on the family system. It is also vital to establish a feasible method of co-parenting, or, in those instances where co-parenting is not possible, parallel parenting. Common issues addressed in therapy include establishing new boundaries and redefining relationships, working to minimize conflict, managing the stress of legal proceedings, supporting the emotional needs of children, exploring feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger, and maintaining your own self-care and well-being. Mindfulness, stress reduction, and skill building, along with traditional talk therapy, can make a big difference in how you feel as you navigate your new reality.
Blended families and stepfamilies
“Life is not the way it's supposed to be, it's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” Virginia Satir
It is estimated that 16% of children live in a blended family – a household with a stepparent, stepsibling, or half-sibling. When two families merge, you experience the blending, or the clashing, of parenting styles, needs, communication styles, sibling relationships, and family routines. Relationships and custody arrangements with previous partners can add additional stress to the new family unit. In order to keep things humming along, you also still need to devote energy to nurture the primary relationship between the two partners in the household, because strong marriages lead to strong families. It’s no wonder that blending two families is such a big undertaking! It takes, on average, two to five years for a new blended family to establish its footing, and therapy can help that process by working on nurturing the primary adult relationship, exploring ways to blend parenting styles, and providing support to explore the feelings and needs that come up when the family dynamics shift. When addressing issues around blended families, it is often useful to utilize a combination of couple and family therapy.
Personal growth & life transitions
“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” Carl Rogers
Life is about growth, but that doesn’t mean that change and growth are easy or painless. Sometimes even the happiest of life transitions can disrupt our natural flow and inspire us to reevaluate priorities, examine patterns, and search for meaning. Therapy is a wonderful way to invite a partner into your process to offer a compassionate and non-judgemental opportunity for reflection. Common life transitions include: marriage or new relationships, breakups and divorces, estrangements, having children, moving, adjusting to college or a new job, becoming an empty nester, retirement, death of a loved one, facing aging or illness, and questioning one’s faith, gender, or sexuality.