My clinical approach is informed by extensive training in relational, dynamic and culturally informed psychotherapy. I also integrate cognitive and mindful based techniques as well as behavioral techniques that support emotional and cognitive functioning. This integrated approach has advantages as it allows for deep, insight oriented work to address relational patterns, attachment concerns, or traumatic disruptions that are often difficult to work through on your own. I am flexible in my approach because client’s experiences and lives are complex. In addition, I have an abundance of respect for my client’s cultural and personal values and will shape my approach to fit client’s needs.
I will help with identifying or clarifying the nature of your concerns or experience. However, I am aware that what brings you to therapy is often complicated; so I avoid taking a cookie-cutter approach to treatment based solely on a diagnosis. I find that progress comes through building and maintaining a good working relationship and starting with small but meaningful changes. I will be strategic and specific in what I recommend, we will consider and explore options together, and I will help you implement the changes you want.
For many of the issues I work with, I am comfortable with a treatment plan that does not involve medication. However, if you are considering medication or medication is indicated we can discuss it and I will recommend a referral. In rare cases such as severe or worsening symptoms, persistent mood instability, or significantly diminished functioning medication may become necessary.
Clients who are a good fit
I have experience working successfully with a wide range of concerns including anxiety, depression, panic, attention issues, relational/family problems, trauma, and addictive behaviors. For many of my clients their concerns do not fit neatly in any one category, but they feel stuck in a cycle of irritability, worry, disinterest, conflict, disconnection, or avoidance that has them feeling stuck and is impacting their relationships.
I often work with men and women who keep emotional experiences to themselves and are less likely to turn to others until they have exhausted more independent ways of coping. Internal processors often let their experiences or ideas bounce around in their head before they can articulate their reaction. They often pick up on the emotional temperature in a room before others but if asked what they are thinking they feel put on the spot. They might find certain social situations overstimulating or only enjoyable in small doses with time to recover. This way of processing is often misunderstood in a high speed world that values social media and immediate response. Internal processors often find ways to keep up but feel exhausted or drained from the experience.
I enjoy working with individuals who find themselves less inclined to process things emotionally. These folks experience emotions but do so differently than others in their life. There are a number of factors that can lead to individuals processing experiences in this way. For some there was a specific event or events that were overwhelming or difficult to understand. For others, emotions have always been hard to access or expressing emotions feels uncomfortable or risky. People who feel this way sometimes describe themselves as feeling frozen, overwhelmed, or shutdown easily. Others describe themselves as numb to their experience or feeling dread and discomfort bubbling up as irritability or negative self-thoughts.
Problematic Alcohol or Substance Use
I have specialized training and experience in working with problematic alcohol or substance use. Many of my clients present due to mood or relationship concerns but are also using alcohol or substances to cope. Alternatively, you may have been told by someone in your life that your drinking or substance use is concerning. Problematic use can look very different than what we typically think about as being an alcoholic or junky. This is because your pattern of use may not have reached dependence, and it may never reach that stage. However, many people don’t get help until late in the process because they have not experienced severe consequences such as job loss or relationship loss. If you are hearing concerns from others, having minor consequences, or noticing an increase in use it is worth getting a professional opinion. I can help you determine the nature and potential trajectory of your use. If my assessment reveals more serious concerns I will provide recommendations and we will discuss alternative options.
Men and Adolescent Boys
Men often do not think about getting help until something happens in their life or someone else encourages them to go. In addition men often deal with stress through avoidance or distracting themselves from the problem. Therapy can be particularly helpful for men because they are less likely to seek support around intimate and personal issues from people in their lives. However talking to a therapist can feel uncomfortable. The longer you have waited the harder it may seem. If you are feeling stuck, less ambitious, pressured, or stressed and it is starting to affect your work, family, partner, or kids it may be time to try something outside your comfort zone. My approach is thoughtful, personal, and pragmatic; it strikes a balance between supportive and consultative depending on what you need. I specialize in a number of issues that commonly affect men’s mood, behavior, work, friendships, sex, and intimate relationships.
For boys, adolescence is often characterized by decreased communication of personal issues with family and close friends while at the same time experiencing increased academic and social stress. The effects of this can manifest in a number of common ways including changes in mood or attitude, shifts in academic performance, increasing gaming/internet use, uncharacteristic behaviors, or increased isolation. I often work with adolescent boys on setting goals, improving relationships, self-care, and healthy esteem.
Adolescent and Young Adults
I am a great fit for adolescents and young adults who are bright but have gotten off track, are feeling lost or disillusioned, or are questioning what path to take. Often those who are bright, find themselves stuck or starting down a path that just isn’t working. This can be particularly hard for them to talk about with the pressure they feel to go to a good college, distinguish themselves, and launch a successful life. It is even more complicated if academics or work have taken a hit or the increasing pressure is coinciding with new or recurring anxiety or mood concerns.
It can also be frustrating and at times scary for parents, especially if they are seeing changes that seem out of character or hard to understand. If you are a parent looking to find a provider for your child the first steps can be particularly challenging. If you are considering making an appointment for your child please see the Additional Information for Teens and their Parents or Guardians.
Analytical, Business, Technical, and Engineering
My experience with individuals that are drawn to analytical and technical fields is that their concerns are diverse but they share some common experiences. These clients often trust their analysis and are able to break down problems and implement steps to solve them. This can be a very useful skill but it can be especially disheartening if a problem begins to feel unsolvable and you start to feel discouraged, on edge, disillusioned, or disconnected from others. In addition, academic programs and careers in these fields can be very demanding and competitive while lacking adequate support. This seems especially true for those in graduate programs or competitive industries. If the cultural of your work place is one of high demands, tight deadlines, and sacrificing other parts of your life you might fit this category.
Problematic Technology Use
Technology including the internet and video games are immediately available and are designed to be engrossing and rewarding. Video streaming services release episodes in batches with autoplay features to keep you wathing, websites and apps are increasingly interactive, and video games provide rewards for progress that are quantifiable and comparable. When you can take it or leave it, this technology is a great way to unwind but if you are beginning to avoid things, have become overly protective of your use, or it is subtracting from other parts of your life it can become a cause of distress.
Recovery from Instability, Conflict, or Hurt in Relationships.
I often work with individuals who have experienced instability, conflict, or pain in their relationships. This includes experiences within your family of origin, trusted adults in childhood, current or past romantic relationships, friendships, or work relationships. Some of these experiences like the illness/death of a family member, addiction of a parent, or a difficult divorce are known to the important people in your life. Others like abuse, harassment, or manipulation may have been kept secret from at least some people for some period of time. Painful experiences in our relationships often affect varied aspects of our life such as our trust, ambition, ability to form satisfying relationships, or personal goals. However, these experiences also have physiological effects on our body and brain that can be present throughout the day or are triggered by memories, thoughts, or daily experiences.
Later stages of life are filled with both new opportunities and new challenges. Finding purpose is just as important at this stage as it is when you were in your teens, early adulthood, and mid-life. Older adults face many of the same hurdles to finding satisfaction as younger people, plus they struggle with being underestimated, managing health conditions, or taking care of a spouse. Common issues such as depression and anxiety are often overlooked by doctors and lead to increased isolation, alcohol use, and avoidance of hobbies and work. I enjoy working with clients on transitioning into retirement, finding new work or hobbies, improving relationships, increasing healthy activities, and managing depression, anxiety, or health concerns.