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My Approach to Therapy

I strongly believe that there is no "one-size-fits-all" model when working with my clients. Just as each of our experiences are unique, my approach to our work together will be unique and individualized, tailored specifically to your needs - taking into consideration your goals for treatment, your personality, and your interpersonal style. I use an integrative, collaborative approach, which allows me to draw from a variety of theoretical models, approaches, and styles in the hopes of best addressing your concerns.  

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the theoretical foundations and influences that drive my work, I think it is important for you to know this: above all else, I want to create a safe space where you feel comfortable.  The most consistent and, to me, the most meaningful feedback that I have gotten from clients in the past is that I never made them feel like "the patient."  They liked my casual, conversational style, because it helped them to feel at-ease in the room, allowing us to develop rapport quickly and easily. This is feedback that I deeply value and appreciate, and I always will do my best to give you that same experience. I want you to feel safe to talk to me and to open up in a vulnerable and transformative way. 

Humanistic - Existential Therapy 

My therapy approach is based on my extensive training in humanistic-existential therapy, and, therefore I view my work through this lens.  We live in a world that tends pathologize the human condition, and it is easy to get wrapped up in focusing so much on the problem.  Using this approach to guide my work, my focus is client-centered - focusing on the person themselves, not on the issue, problems or concerns they are coming in to address. There is an emphasis on warmth and genuineness in the therapeutic relationship, allowing clients to grow and work toward self-actualization, or living up to one's full potential.  The fundamental, underlying goals inherent in using this approach are as follows:  

  • increasing self-awareness and self-understanding

  • helping client to understand the ways reality is influenced by past experiences, present perception, and expectations for the future

  • helping client to free themselves from disabling assumptions and attitudes so they can live full lives 

  • helping client find philosophical meaning in their life by choosing to think and act authentically.

Interpersonal Process Therapy 

Interpersonal Process (IPP) approach to therapy holds that the relationship between client and therapist is the absolute most important component necessary for healing, change, and growth.  The relationship must be open, trusting, and safe. Rapport within the therapeutic relationship is imperative. The assumptions underlying this approach are that the majority of our "problems" tend to be interpersonal in nature and that our present circumstances are typically impacted by our own relational experiences, our thoughts about ourselves, and our familial experiences.  It is believed that the client's issues or conflicts will be reenacted with the therapist throughout the course of treatment, giving the client the opportunity to learn about and hopefully change or improve these patterns. In other words, this approach is built upon the belief that the therapeutic relationship can give clients a corrective emotional experience, in which they're responded to in a new and healthier way than they may have in other relationships and other contexts. Using interventions like in-the-moment interpersonal feedback and meta-communication, and through repeated corrective experiences with the therapist, clients will being to gain confidence to move beyond their outdated or unhelpful coping styles, and they will develop more flexible and more meaningful relationships with others. 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy model that helps you accept the difficulties that come with living life. This approach aims to help the client live more authentically and in-line with what is most important to them (their values).  The overall goal of this approach is to help the client develop psychological flexibility by doing the following:

  • Accepting one's emotional experience - learning to experience the range of human emotions with a kind, open, and accepting perspective

  • Choosing valued life direction - defining what is most important in life and clarifying how one wishes to live

  • Taking action - committing to making changes and engaging in behaviors moving clients in the direction of what is most valued/important 

Appoach
G/L Expertise

Areas of Expertise 

Grief & Loss

"The capacity to grieve is as much a part of us as the capacity to love."

We live in a world that tends to pathologize many of the inherent struggles we face as human beings, and this is very much the case when it comes to grieving. There are many different experiences that trigger grief within us. Whether we are facing the illness or death of a loved one, experiencing a major life transition (like marriage, going to college, or having a child), or we are facing the loss of a job or of some aspect of ourselves, the experience of grief is all around us.  However, I would argue that grief is the most misunderstood and mishandled of any emotional experience. We are still being guided by outdated and often harmful misinformation.  For anyone who has ever lost someone or has truly experienced grief, the popular "stages" model of grief tends to miss the mark completely or, at the very least, seems to be a gross over-simplification of a complicated, messy process. I am passionate about educating and helping people cope with grief and loss in a real, honest, human way.  Grief is not something to be fixed.  It is not an illness or a disorder.  It is a NATURAL response to loss. Instead of approaching loss through the lens of the medical model which pathologizes grief, I approach grief and loss through the lens of the "companioning" model.  Companioning the bereaved is not about assessing, analyzing, fixing, or resolving your grief.  It is about being there with you, meeting you where you are in your grief, and sitting with you through the pain and helplessness.  It is about learning from you about your experience and providing you with a safe, supportive space where you can explore, express, and process whatever it is that you are feeling. There is healing in knowing that you are not alone, and I want to be there with you to help you learn to carry and live with your loss. Your loss is a part of your story now; it does not have to be the whole story. 

 

Health Psychology

In my graduate program, I chose to specialize in Clinical Health Psychology, as this field is a passion of mine and is close to my heart.  I am from a large, close-knit family, many of whom are in medical or healthcare professions. I have been close to the medical community throughout my life, and, therefore, it felt natural to me to seek out training in this realm in my doctoral program.  There is ample research on the intersection of medical issues and mental health.  Whether you are facing a terminal illness diagnosis, you are trying to manage and cope with symptoms and subsequent emotions related to having a chronic illness, or if you are simply trying to manage stress more effectively in your day-to-day life, I am confident that I can help.  

Individual Therapy 

I have worked for several years in a variety of clinical settings, which has allowed me to work with people struggling with all different kinds of issues or concerns.  I have developed skills that allow me to help clients in coping with many different challenges. I am confident that, should we decide to work together, I can help you in coping with whatever it is that you are facing.  

Health Psych Expertse
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