I’m a trained psychotherapist with 19+ years experience working with adults and adolescents. I specialize in treating:
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or behaviors
- depression and/or negative thinking
- relationship problems
- self-sabotaging behaviors
- abandonment issues
- relationship break-ups
- grief and loss
- meaning of life or spiritual growth
- self-esteem issues
My style of working with clients is predominantly emotion-focused and experiential, with emphasis on the body and what is happening in the present moment. Although talking about our issues and gaining insights into them can be helpful, I don’t believe that ultimately heals us; what does is working them through (or “digesting”) them in our bodies. I am very interactive and engaging. I don’t believe just letting someone just talk is curative. With clients who have anxiety, I help them regulate their anxiety in the present moment so that they can ultimately be free of it and help them get to the engine (warded off feelings) that drives their anxiety. With clients with depression, for example, I help them become aware of the things they do which perpetuates their depression and ultimately feel the underlying feelings, to help them get unstuck.
My work is influenced primarily by a therapy approach called Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). ISTDP is a powerful, accelerated form of therapy designed to rapidly uncover and resolve deep emotional and psychological difficulties that drive symptoms and problems in life. It is an evidence-based form of treatment, proven to be effective in resolving numerous issues, depression, anxiety, any trauma, to name a few. I was first exposed to ISTDP in my training as a therapist and was so inspired by it that I sought this type of therapy for myself. It transformed me in huge and lasting ways, unlike any other type of therapy I underwent or learned about. Hence, I became a believer, studied the model extensively, and have been practicing it for 10 years now. If you’d like to learn more about ISTDP, go to http://www.istdp.com/. But to give you a sense of it, you can read more below. I also integrate the following approaches I have found to be very helpful: somatic experiencing, cognitive-behavioral, attachment theory, and mindfulness.
Almost always, what creates suffering is the avoidance of painful feelings and/or experiences, either painful feelings that originated in childhood which were too painful to feel or ones from the more recent past. When we avoid these painful feelings, we become more anxious or depressed. This leads to a vicious cycle of problems within ourselves (i.e, depression, chronic anxiety, chronic anger) or with others (i.e., relationship problems), which cause us even more suffering. By bringing to the surface the deep and buried, often complex, underlying thoughts, emotions, and experiences and digesting them (feeling them in the body in a way that is manageable and not overwhelming), this frees them up.
Feelings are just energies, and like all energies they have momentum and strive for expression. When these buried feelings are finally felt in the body, the unwanted symptoms (anxiety, depression, unwanted behavior) melt away on their own. This then allows us to be more connected to both ourselves and others, to have more intimacy in our relationships and to feel more content and at peace within ourselves. Using this approach, significant and lasting change can happen rather quickly, much quicker than most other therapies out there. ISTDP is not just a talk therapy, where you are talking about your problems and the therapist is passively listening. It’s a very interactive, engaged, body-based approach. And since we are getting to the root of the problem (buried feelings) and not just dealing with the more superficial thoughts, the changes occur at a deep level and are therefore, lasting.