My first goal in our therapeutic relationship is getting to know you. I want to develop a thorough understanding of how you find meaning in life, and what your values are. I want to know what obstacles you have faced and what obstacles you have to overcome. I believe that each and every person comes from a completely unique history of encounters throughout their life, and my ability to help an individual is predicated on how well I can understand things from your perspective. I will work to ensure that you feel safe exploring your fears, needs, and goals with me. My hope is that through this trusting relationship, I can help you to understand yourself to a deeper degree, towards profound growth.
I utilize approaches and techniques from many individual and family systems theoretical orientations. My natural approach is client-centered; I believe that the client should guide the session more than the therapist. The client-centered approach also provides that the client should always feel a sense of unconditional positive regard. In this sense, no matter what you bring to the session, I promise to treat you with respect, hoping that the trust we have built through the client-centered approach will help you to feel as open and honest with me, and yourself, as possible.
I always look at my client’s life with a family systems perspective as well. The ways we were raised, for better or worse, shape who we have become. Each person’s family is vastly different than any other, and exploring one’s history of both good and bad experiences in their family (or families) will help me to better understand and aid my clients to work towards more positive experiences in their families in the future.
I also identify as a Gestalt therapist. Instead of change being the goal of the work, Awareness, and new Choices are the result. That is, I am to help you define what you want and are in life, so that you might choose wisely. In my study of the Gestalt approach, I have found the techniques to be growth-catalyzing, powerful interventions which have helped my clients to quickly gain awareness from which to make better choices. Through gestalt experiments designed on-the-spot by both I and you, we can creatively work to foster awareness, leading to new choices which may change your future for the better.
I am also influenced by Transpersonal psychology, which posits that the totality of our being is influenced by far more than just ourselves, that we are one with our environment, both seen and unseen. A transpersonal approach helps clients who have experienced things in their lives that they cannot explain, especially transcendental experiences found in dreams, spiritual or religious experiences, and near-death encounters. Together we may work to process such experiences and integrate them into my client’s being, instead of feeling overpowered by the events.
Increasingly in my practice, I have found a knack for addressing extremely “dark” emotions, choosing them to be instances of human functioning embedded with a deep wisdom that we can learn from. Such dark emotions can come from traumatic experiences including emotional and physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, dysfunctional family systems, persistent depression, grief and loss, natural disaster survival, and many other problematic events. By helping my clients gently investigate the dark emotions that may be persistently plaguing their day-to-day functioning, I can help them to look at themselves and their world with a perspective of opportunity, rather than fear or doubt.