The values that inform my treatment orientation include a conviction that it's important to take ownership of one's choices, to live in accordance with one's values, and to recognize that one is not ultimately determined by circumstances or history.
I view psychotherapy as a partnership between us. During this collaborative journey, I provide you with a safe and confidential space to explore difficult internal, interpersonal, and life issues; to receive feedback; to learn new skills; and to try out new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Within this context, it's my intention to assist you in gaining greater clarity and in achieving the goals you bring to our encounter. I offer a range of therapeutic options, from short-term, solution-focused consultation to long-term, in-depth psychotherapy, depending on needs and resources. Reasons for seeking psychotherapy range from acute or chronic distress associated with diagnosable mental illness to a desire for increased self-awareness, personal growth, and greater wholeness as a human being. You needn't be suffering or even symptomatic to benefit from psychotherapy.
My approach to psychotherapy is drawn from many influences and is best described as a holistic or integrative model. I'm interested in how you're functioning in body, mind, and spirit, and in how these aspects of your being interact and mutually influence one another. I'm as likely to ask you about your diet, your health habits, and your spiritual beliefs and practices, if any, as I am to ask you about your thoughts and feelings. I'm also interested in your relationships, past and present, and patterns in these relationships. I'll invite you to explore how past relationships influence current relationships, and how long-standing, self-perpetuating thought and behavior patterns can be changed. I strive to listen for your strengths and examples of success in your life, and to explore how these can be applied to current issues and concerns.
I'm certified in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and employ a full range of additional evidence-based treatment modalities, including Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Psychodynamic and Interpersonal Therapies, and Narrative Therapy. My work is also informed by developmental psychology, relational systems perspectives, humanistic-existential models and, for those for whom it's important, spiritual integration. Having access to and expertise in a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, I'm able to choose those I believe will work best for you and the issues you bring to treatment. In collaboration, your treatment plan will be customized specifically to your needs.
The tools and processes I use in therapy are likely to include dialogue, interpersonal feedback, interpretation, awareness exercises, mindfulness training, cognitive reframing, stress reduction, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, behavioral analysis, skills training (e.g., assertiveness, communication), rehearsal, self-monitoring experiments, visualization, guided imagery, journaling, dream analysis, psycho-education, and bibliotherapy. Though I may use a variety of different methods to treat you, my approach generally invites your close attention to your internal experience, to your perceptions of the world around you, and to the manner in which you pursue or limit making your way. I believe that therapy is a process of experiencing and understanding who you really are and creating a greater sense of personal alignment.
An important part of your therapy will involve deepening and consolidating new insights and/or practicing new skills outside of our sessions. We will work together to set up "homework" assignments for you, as an extension of the work we do during the therapy hour. For example, I might invite you to keep records, read, journal, practice relaxation techniques, experiment with a new way of being, practice assertiveness exercises, set boundaries, face a fear, or have a difficult conversation with a significant other. Application is key to deriving therapeutic benefit.
Psychotherapy patients also benefit from having a strong support system, including family and friends; 12-step, self-help, or support groups; religious affiliations; community involvement; group therapy; and enjoyable, enriching, and expressive activities, such as art, music, writing, exercise, etc. I will provide suggestions and/or referrals to assist you in developing a support system to maximize the benefits of your therapy.
My therapeutic style is active, interactive, directive, and didactic. I make observations and offer feedback and interpretations. I notice things and invite you to notice them. I use humor. I roll up my sleeves. I try to achieve balance between safety and stretch in navigating our work with difficult material. I believe that you possess wisdom within you and that, by providing the proper relational context, asking meaningful and incisive questions, and truly "getting" you, I'll empower you to discern your own truths and find your own way. You are the agent of change; I am a catalyst. While I provide expertise regarding the conduct of purposeful and effective therapy, you are the ultimate judge of what is important and beneficial to you. I will work to foster your autonomy and self-determination, rather than your dependency on me or on therapy. Ultimately, my job is to make myself obsolete and send you on your way, healthier and happier!
The process of psychotherapy begins with a comprehensive evaluation of the challenges you're facing and your needs. I will then offer you some initial impressions and treatment recommendations that might form the basis of our work. At that point, we'll discuss your goals and create an initial treatment plan. You and I will decide together if I'm the best person to provide the services you need in order to achieve your goals. Because therapy involves a considerable investment of time, money, and energy, it is wise to choose a psychologist carefully. Feeling comfortable and in sync with your provider is the key to a successful therapeutic outcome. A "good fit" is crucial, and I advise consumers to "shop" until they find it. On my end, I only agree to work with those who, in my opinion, I can help. Therefore, I enter our relationship with optimism about our process and the outcome.
As a "seasoned" (i.e., elder) psychologist, I bring the breadth of my own life experience to my work, including those of marriage, divorce, parenting, care-giving, bereavement, chronic illness, spirituality, travel, military service, and my work as a performing artist. I have a broad worldview and multi-cultural perspective, having lived in numerous regions of the U.S. and abroad. In my practice, I'm committed to advancing and supporting the values of social justice, human dignity, and racial/ethnic/cultural diversity.
Revisioning my brick-and-mortar practice of 35+ years to provide Telepsychology has extended my reach to consumers who could not otherwise access my services. I've found working remotely to have significant advantages over traditional in-person psychotherapy, including convenience, flexibility, privacy, efficiency, and the comfort and safety of accessing care from wherever you are. Both outcome research and personal experience suggest that Telepsychology is a robust and highly effective modality and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to assist you in this virtual venue.