My practice offers both short-term and long-term treatment.
Short-term treatment focuses on very specific goals that are attainable in a matter of weeks or a few months. For individuals, this might include ending an unhealthy relationship or working through a specific trauma. For couples, examples are working out parenting differences or communication difficulties. For families, short term work can focus on crisis intervention or working on a specific problem that needs fast resolution.
Long-term treatment, typically for individuals, focuses on recognizing past behavioral and thinking patterns that are not serving you and changing them to provide you with a more integrated and happier life.
I work with a wide range of people and the ultimate goal is to relieve your symptoms/distress, increase your sense of well-being, and improve your effectiveness in all areas of your life.
Couples usually come when they recognize conflict in their relationship. Typical conflicts center on money, communication, sex, parenting styles, commitment differences and cultural clashes. I often assign my clients relationship ‘homework’ so they can try out new ways of talking together at home and resolving their differences.
Some couples start therapy to decide whether or not they want to end their relationship. In these situations, I help sort out what is and what isn’t working well for the couple in order to facilitate their decision. Couples have also come to see me after having made the decision to split in order to make separation as harmonious as possible, especially when children are involved.
The goal of family therapy is to create a better functioning home environment by having family members improve communications, solve family problems, and understand and handle special family situations such as serious mental or physical illness. In the case of serious physical or mental illness, therapy can educate families about the illness and work out problems associated with caring for the family member.
For children and adolescents, family therapy most often is used when the child or adolescent is having difficulties that have a negative impact on the family. The formation of a step-family and a new family life can be particularly difficult for some children and adolescents, especially if there is a mixture of racial, cultural and religious backgrounds. Family therapy helps everyone adjust to the new situation.
Adolescence is a time of many physical and cognitive changes, when teenagers are developing who they are and how they want to be in the world. For some children, this journey is particularly difficult and painful. They might be exceptionally angry or moody or withdrawn. They might change their social group or act out in destructive and/or self-destructive ways. Therapy can be very helpful during this time to help the teen negotiate these waters and treatment can help the parents or family learn new ways to communicate and discipline more effectively.
When evaluating and working with younger adolescents, I will sometimes request to see the entire family and, if appropriate, might have dyadic sessions with the teen and a parent or sibling.
Since a part of adolescent development is identity formation, it is not uncommon for adopted teens to have questions about their adoption, particularly when the adoption is closed. Sometimes these teens find it difficult to talk to their parents for fear of seeming disloyal or upsetting their parents. Their struggle with this issue can manifest in self-destructive behavior, angry outbursts, drug and/or alcohol use or withdrawal. Sometimes parents find these questions uncomfortable, as well. Therapy can be very effective by giving the teen a safe space to talk about their worries and helping the teen and family communicate about these issues.
I am available to provide one or two consultation sessions to offer a “second opinion” on therapeutic situations which feel “stuck” or for another viewpoint on therapeutic directions.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
When we experience a normal event, our brain processes the thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and behaviors and leaves us with a memory of that event which fades over time. When we experience a traumatic event, the thoughts, emotions, etc. get “stuck” or “frozen” in the brain which can lead to having recurring negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors or physical symptoms that interfere with how we see the world and the way we relate to other people. We might experience anxiety, irrational fears, sleep difficulties, intrusive memories, depression, or physical problems.
In 1987, Dr. Francine Shapiro made a revolutionary discovery which resulted in the creation of a new psychotherapy approach to promote healing from the negative impact of traumatic or scary events.
Dr. Shapiro discovered that by guiding people through a process of moving their eyes from side to side, just as occurs in sleep when we dream (REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep), while simultaneously leading them through a process to desensitize the memory, enabled people to integrate and process the memory so that it no longer negatively interfered with their lives. The bilateral (side to side)eye movement stimulates the right and left sides of the brain and since her original research used eye movement, she named this technique Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. We have since learned that any type of bi-lateral stimulation, such as hand tapping or alternating audio tones, can have the same effect.
EMDR is a comprehensive therapy approach that uses bi-lateral stimulation along with a comprehensive protocol for reprocessing upsetting memories and leads to healing and integration. For more information see: www.emdria.org