People arrive to therapy for many different reasons. Some need support during difficult moments; others seek to make meaning of loss, trauma, and life changes. Some people want to cease struggle and suffering with long-standing “issues”; and, others walk through my door in order to deal with problems related to intimacy, compulsive behaviors, or conflicts within themselves and their relationships.
Often people just get "stuck” in life. As a result, we can find it hard to decide on what action to take or even how to cope with our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Often “the problems” are symptoms of unworkable patterns or traditions. That is, we have moved away from our values, core beliefs, and goals. Compounding this, we can become un-/consciously engaged in struggles with systems of oppression and other social dynamics that unwittingly confine our daily and existential experiences.
In response to these dilemmas and suffering, psychotherapy is one space through which to understand ourselves, cultivate acceptance, and to engage with our lives differently in order to make life more satisfying, worthwhile, and driven by committed action. My job as a therapist, then, is to explore and “walk” with you in an authentic, honest, trustworthy, and well-informed method. “Therapy” can manifest as asking questions & actively listening, offering feedback & education, creating safe conditions for you to engage more candidly & transparently, and as collaborating with you to work with struggle, pain, and change.
Broadly, my work is characterized as rigorous, compassionate, collaborative, and affirmative. I am motivated by a critical stance in that I see our individual existences inextricably linked to and in active relationship with our environment, communities, histories, and society. I pay particular attention to the language we use, our strategies to make meaning in our lives, ways we negotiate our identities, and how we narrate our existence. Important to these processes is our standpoint rooted in our race, class, gender, sex/uality, and temporarily able bodiedness, among other social positions. Therefore, I engage in culturally-informed and –relevant clinical practice that necessarily involves my own ongoing, conscious work as an allied community member, social justice advocate, and insider/outsider.
Pragmatically, my work derives from contextual cognitive behavioral oriented approaches to psychotherapy that are empirically validated (that is, “evidence-based”). This includes work rooted in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). I engage with an integrated approach to wellbeing in that I regard “health” as a function of physical health, mental health, social relationships, and our environment. Integrated into all that, I bring into therapy a deep connection with and application of critical theories and standpoints that help to interrogate our power, privilege, and experiences of oppression. I draw on traditions related to Queer Theory, LGBT studies, feminist theories, intersectionality, and critical studies around communication, human geography, and visual culture.
Also, I have experience conducting intensive case management, health education, advocacy, psychodiagnosing, and biopsychosocial assessments and consultation. Much of this work harnesses methods based in Motivational Interviewing and stage-based approaches to change.
One of the first steps in therapy is to clearly assess your needs and mutually develop a plan that best suits you, and one that is designed to support deeper, more lasting behavioral and emotional change. The outcome of any experience in psychotherapy depends on your expectations, your investment (time, energy), your comfort level along the way, and the working relationship or “goodness of fit” between us, among other factors.
I believe that psychotherapy offers unique possibilities for healing and growth. To learn more about how I work, or if you have questions about psychotherapy and how to choose the right therapist for you, please contact me.