My overall outlook on therapy
I believe that a genuine warm therapeutic relationship between me and the person is the basis for healing work. The client ideally experiences themselves within such a relationship as seen, heard, and valued, and as an empowered partner in our relationship and in their healing.
I understand clients’ experiences holistically through a biopsychosocial lense:
- I’m attentive to relevant biological factors such as genetics, temperament, physical illness, ability level, physiological changes, etc. I’m also particularly interested in how the body holds life experiences and in mind body connections.
- Psychotherapy of course focuses on the psychological part including conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and behaviors related to ourselves, others in our lives, and the world around us.
- I also understand the client as an individual embedded in a social/political context and I try to be attentive to the intersection between the person and factors such as gender, sexuality, culture, socio-economic background, political context, and larger systems of oppression.
Type of therapeutic approach I practice
I consider myself an integrative psychotherapist. That means that I draw on elements from different psychological perspectives. I work from a base of relational psychodynamic therapy, which is an approach that emphasizes depth, insight, the importance of our attachments and relationships both outside and inside in the therapy room, fully experiencing our emotions, allowing free exploration and imagination, and utilizing the past to inform our understanding of patterns in the present. I also incorporate some elements from various other therapeutic approaches I have been trained in (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, narrative exposure therapy). Overall, my approach is trauma trained and anchored within a broader social justice informed perspective.
My therapeutic approach is pragmatic, creative, fluid, and tailored to the individual client, considering their life journeys, needs, vulnerabilities, and strengths. At the same time, my approach is based on the belief that meaningful change and healing often occurs through the curative “ingredients” below.
I believe therapy can help people by:
* Encouraging them to develop awareness and insight about themselves and their lives. This includes helping them identify patterns and connections between past and present, and between thoughts, feelings, relationships, behaviors, bodily experiences, etc. This awareness often helps clients make changes in needed areas of their lives.
*Helping people weave a story or a narrative of their life and how they came to be the person they are. I find that such a narrative lessens the feeling that there is something “wrong” with a person or that they are “defective”, “bad”, “weak”, “broken”, etc.
*Being attuned to people’s emotional experiences, and helping them understand, experience, and work through various emotions with someone who will listen deeply, witness, and hold.
*Helping people develop the capacity to hold and tolerate painful emotions and aspects of their lives. This includes helping them decrease their efforts to cope with difficulty and pain by excessive distraction, denial, seeking to escape, or fighting with their painful experiences.
*Being attentive to important relationships in people’s lives, both from past and present, and helping them understand the impact of these relationships on their lives, and the interactions between themselves and others.
*Helping people identify directions of meaning and value in their lives and supporting them as they make choices in these directions and seek to live in congruence with their values.
*Helping people understand the impact of larger structural, political economic, cultural, etc factors on their self and wellbeing.