How I Work

I use an integrative approach to psychotherapy, combining insight and skills-based frameworks.  I help my clients understand how their past experiences and relationships shaped and influence who they are now and how they experience the world (insight), and I help them develop tools for addressing current life situations and for putting that insight to work in moving their lives in the direction they want (skills-based). This approach helps clients link the past which formed them, the present they are living in, and the future they wish to experience.

Both therapist and client bring important expertise to the table.  I bring knowledge of psychological theory and practice, and you bring knowledge of your present experience, history, life goals, fears, and aspirations which I cannot understand alone.  Together we develop a deeper understanding than either of us could do alone, and we create a uniquely designed treatment best suited to you.

Psychotherapy is not a mechanical endeavor, and what is effective and useful for one person may look quite different than what is helpful to another.  I work collaboratively with each individual to identify and integrate the most useful approach or combination of approaches for them and their present situation.

In technical terms, my approach to therapy can be described as an integration of psychodynamic (or psychoanalytic) and cognitive-behavioral approaches. The underlying assumptions that I work with are:

  • Most people are living and acting from an emotional and psychological framework that was constructed in their past, from their formative experiences throughout their early development to the present day. Understanding how the past is asserting itself in the present can help us to free ourselves to act with greater flexibility and freedom.
  • People are doing their best…If we knew how to do better we would! If one looks closely enough one will find a good rationale (sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious) for what someone is doing or not doing, even if it is causing them difficulty, frustration, or pain.  Understanding what our mind is “trying to do for us” can help us identify better options to reach our goals.
  • The human mind has a powerful instinct toward and capacity for healing and change. Change and healing are completely possible.
  • The major spheres of our experience, physical, psychological, interpersonal and spiritual, are connected and influence one another.

Psychotherapy can help clients gain an increasing and deeper understanding of the thoughts and feelings that are steering them, evaluate the intention of their habitual ways of coping, judge whether those ways of coping are still effective, and identify and begin to integrate new and more effective and satisfying ways of living their lives.

Real change and recovery from suffering can occur through psychotherapy, although it is often difficult work.  Undertaking and realizing the benefits of such work takes courage, commitment, humor, and compassion on the part of both the therapist and client.

I am dedicated to helping my clients work toward their goals in a safe, comfortable, and confidential space.  I will work with you to build an understanding of your situation and your self to solve problems when possible, accept painful truths when necessary, and help connect you to your deep, and sometimes unknown, inner resources with which to courageously and actively engage whatever situations arise in your life.