Individual psychotherapy for adults and adolescents 16+
Comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments to determine appropriate Level of Care (LOC) for treatment of specialty diagnoses (substance use disorders, eating disorders & BPD/CPTSD)
Group therapy – inquire about current offerings
Licensure supervision, consultation & organizational training/in-services
Mindfulness-Meditation + spiritual Exploration
Ask yourself, “Are you really awake”? Many of us are not. The art of mindfulness is practiced to reduce stress, overcome insomnia, solve personal problems, and overcome worry, sadness or anger. It is also an experience of inquiry and meditation designed to facilitate awakening to one’s true nature. You will learn how to be a witness to your internal experiences without judging or reacting to them. You will also learn a variety of exercises to help you first get acquainted with the practice and then deepen your skills. This might include homework assignments and recommended reading between scheduled sessions.
For those interested, I like weaving talk of spirituality into our sessions, reflecting upon aspects of the human condition that have both awed and puzzled philosophers for millennia. Existential psychology wrestles with the big questions and offers guidance in how to honor the tension of paradox. I can hold space for and with you in the sacred and at times, terrifying nature of death and dying.
Trauma & dissociation work
Complex trauma refers to the impact a person experiences after being subject to several incidents that could be deemed traumatic. When situations that provoke a sense of helplessness and grief occur over a significant period, one may notice a deterioration of their “sense of self”, difficulty coping with seemingly benign life events, and interpersonal distress. These experiences are often compounded by a range of dissociative symptoms. I have undergone extensive trauma-focused training to include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) among others.
DBT focuses upon exploring relational trauma within the context of the therapeutic relationship and together challenging rigid beliefs and associated behaviors that have developed to self-protect against additional harm. Using “dialectics”, we are able to hold two seemingly opposing views and utilize strategies to help access our internal wisdom, often called “wise-mind.” Skills include somatic experiencing and cognitive modalities that address stillness of the mind, improved communication, distress tolerance, and self-care to prevent emotion dysregulation. I have co-facilitated and implemented comprehensive DBT programs as well as provided training to clinicians within various settings.
IFS is a fascinating protocol that conceptualizes our psyche as consisting of an inherent Self or spirit among other parts that may carry extreme emotion and rigid roles. These parts are called “firefighters” or “managers.” Though they often create havoc in our lives, they are meant to protect us from feeling emotional pain, which has often been dismissed or exiled. At its core, IFS works to strengthen Self leadership and heal trauma through witnessing our “exile” parts that likely carry heavy burdens. I completed my first IFS training with the model’s creator, Richard Schwartz, in 2010.
I also walk survivors of intimate-partner violence through the trauma resolution process. “Violence” refers to harm created to one’s mind, body, and spirit. This work includes learning more about power and control, narcissistic abuse, and eventually making meaning out of these traumatic and multi-faceted experiences. The priority is first linking clients to important community resources to establish increased safety.
Brainspotting is a specialized somatic or body-focused trauma treatment. It was developed in the early 2000s after its founder, David Grand, PhD, starting blending two established protocols in which he was trained: EMDR (Eye Movement Densensitization and Reprocessing) and Somatic Experiencing (SE). The research findings are exciting and evolving. Brainspotting was found to be the most effective mode of therapy used with survivors of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut shooting in 2014. This compares to other modalities utilized such as EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, CBT, and neurofeedback.
A “brainspot” is the activity in the subcortical part of our brain in response to focused activation and eye position . This is the oldest part of the brain, often called the “reptilian” brain. This is not only where our “fight or flight” reflex lives, but also where trauma memories are stored in a kind of filing system often not accessible by other forms of therapy. It is hypothesized that even EMDR protocol takes the client out of the subcortex more often than necessary and brings them back to the neocortex. The neocortex is the part of the brain that engages in linear verbal expression, thinking or problem-solving, and meaning-making. We spend most of our time here. When we say that trauma is stored in the body, we mean that the experiences filed away in our subcortex continue to impact emotions, behaviors, and decision-making in the present. Brainspotting allows us to access the subcortex and hold the file open long enough to allow for release.
I specialize in substance use disorders, eating disorders, and love addiction or co-dependency. In our culture, it is common to endorse behaviors or use substances that serve to avoid physical and emotional pain. The origin of addictive disorders is complex and involve changes in brain structure and often the onset of adverse childhood experiences, grief, or persisting internal distress. I help people stabilize addictive behavior and explore underlying experiences or emotions that threaten relapse if not addressed. We explore what “recovery” means to you and focus upon strategies to help you cultivate a lifestyle of true freedom and empowerment.
*Please note for those seeking court-mandated substance use counseling: a conversation with your probation or parole officer is required to assess appropriateness of referral
Scientists have introduced the term, subtle energy, to describe previously undetected, yet intelligent forces in the environment and the physical body. Energy-focused modalities generally increase our physical and emotional vitality. They can also address anxiety, self-limiting beliefs, avoidance or procrastination, and fatigue. Reiki is one of these modalities, which you can read about below. Others include Emotion Freedom Techniques (EFT) or “tapping” and energy medicine exercises.
EFT works by unblocking trapped emotional feedback so that the flow of energy is restored and the body returns to its natural state of balance. Techniques involve a combination of tapping with the fingers on specific meridian points, or energy centers, while verbalizing statements of intention. This is often referred to as acupressure as opposed to acupuncture. Both use similar meridian points.
Energy medicine is a more general practice that works from the premise that our energy body contains evolutionary processes to maintain homeostasis. Our body is designed to heal itself! However, our bodies often need additional support to effectively adapt to an environment that differs greatly from that of our ancestors. I am also a Reiki practitioner and can integrate this kind of energy work into our sessions!
I provide clinical training for organizations and group practices upon specialty populations and corresponding treatment modalities, including BPD and DBT. I teach groups about the biopsychosocial theory regarding the development of BPD, criteria for diagnosing to include identification of underlying behavioral patterns and secondary targets, assessment strategies to determine the appropriate level of care, and the philosophical pillars of DBT. For organizations interested in developing comprehensive DBT programming, we take a deeper dive into dialectical tensions, evidenced-based protocols, clinical interventions, and factors to consider when implementing the Skills Training group therapy portion. I bring more than a decade of experience in developing comprehensive DBT programs within organizations and communities as well as professional training to help teams (clinical and non-clinical staff) adhere to the brilliant treatment model designed to promote transformation and healing for so many. In a time where DBT is grossly misunderstood and oversimplified, this is my greatest passion project!
Other popular training topics for organizations include evaluating severity of substance use disorders and eating disorders as well as general standards in assessment and diagnostic formulation.