It is my belief that effective therapy requires an authentic human connection. It requires that all involved are physically and emotionally present and have the courage to be vulnerable. Healing happens within that relationship. The relationship can only be cultivated when a person feels safe, fully accepted, unconditionally supported, and feel that the other person truly has his/her best interest at heart. These are my responsibilities as a therapist. I take them seriously and genuinely see my work as an honor; an opportunity to walk with people through their deepest struggles, sit with them in profound pain, experience the unique joys and challenges of family, glorious success of a new way of doing something, the sweet relief of healing, the unique challenges…it truly is a privilege.
Establishing this relationship is one piece but it’s also about nurturing it by continuing to treat people with respect, dignity, empathy, acceptance, and by responding authentically. That means being responsive to your requests; scheduling appointments around your scheduling needs and not mine; being compassionate toward individual needs and abilities. I deeply believe in the value of being visible and present. In addition to relationship, it is my job to create a safe space. A safe space is created by safeguarding the emotional well-being of individuals as well as tending to the environmental factors that contribute to soothing and healing one’s soul.
It’s my belief that counseling is a two-way process. That means that we work together to identify problems and develop solutions. So I am not expert on your life or the fixer of problems; nor am I a the kind of counselor who dispenses advice to the client on exactly what he/she should be doing, thinking, or feeling. For me, the counseling process is not a passive experience. In order for the process to be effective, the other person needs to be actively engaged in the process.
One of the ways that I assist people is by helping them identify patterns that have become unhealthy, or dysfunctional. Patterns often operate outside of our awareness. They show up in our lives as repeating themes; thoughts or behaviors that keep you stuck, keep you from fully functioning and experiencing life as a whole and healthy being. Often these patterns are rooted in experiences from your past.
My practice is trauma sensitive which means that I have additional professional education and training specific to the unique needs of individuals who have experienced both chronic and acute trauma. People who have grown up experiencing trauma throughout their childhood, such as chronic abuse, neglect or domestic violence, and people who experience acute trauma events such as witnessing violence, sudden loss of loved one, or house fire, tend to experience the world in such a way that it leaves them even more vulnerable. Sometimes even helping professionals can inadvertently cause more damage by not knowing how to approach their situation. The additional training ensures that I am more sensitive to the often universal needs of those that have been exposed to trauma such as feeling unheard, unimportant, or question perceptions and sanity and often deep feelings of betrayal, difficulty being able to feel safe and trust.
The interventions I design are always based on individual needs and the goals that we have established together. I integrate the most relevant principles from cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment based theory, family systems theory as well as change theory, also known as motivational interviewing.
Other foundational principles include the use of techniques from mindfulness/meditation and complex trauma as well as incorporating the latest scientific brain research – for example; how to heal and improve emotional regulation at the brain level.
Across all areas of my practice, I use evidence based therapeutic interventions and tools. For the client, this means that I use interventions that have been researched, evaluated, and tested through clinical experience and found to be effective. However, decisions are not just made based on the data or evidence. Instead, decisions are made in conjunction with the client’s values, ideas, and preferences. The tools and strategies that I use during your therapeutic process are always intentional, mindful, and prepared based on the goals we establish together.