I provide individual psychotherapy for adults and adolescents. The development of a trusting and compassionate relationship is the most essential aspect of therapy. While the training and skill of a therapist is very important, there are also more intangible and idiosyncratic components of fit between client and therapist that support the potential of psychotherapy to result in meaningful change. No therapist is right for every client, and clients are well served by trusting their intuition when deciding whether they have found a therapist who they resonate with, feel understood by, and whom they inherently trust will be of help.
My individual psychotherapy practice is primarily informed by attachment-based therapy, contemporary psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Attachment clinical research show us that humans are biologically wired to form secure and connected relationships from cradle to the grave. Nevertheless, childhood wounds, traumas, and mismatches between child-parent temperament can easily interrupt our inherent drives for connection and responsivity to others. This may cause individuals to become overly self-reliant, avoidant of emotional expression, painfully anxious about losing or being rejected by loved ones, or fearful of closeness and intimacy. Through a careful focus on attachment in psychotherapy, individuals may begin to return to their inherent capacity to feel secure in relationship, share their authentic feelings more openly, form intimate connections, and respond to the needs of children, partners, and other loved one in a freer and more satisfying manner.
Contemporary psychodynamic therapy emphasizes the vast role that unconscious fears, beliefs, desires and needs, play in our daily lives. By becoming more aware of aspects of our self and experience, that have become walled off, disowned, or otherwise avoided, we develop greater freedom to autonomously choose how to respond to life’s many decision and challenges, rather than unknowingly repeating painful patterns from the past. Many of the difficulties we experience, stem not from the presence of emotional pain, but from the negative consequences of avoiding being present with and processing this emotional material through various defenses and behavior which do not ultimately serve us – for instance anger outbursts frequently stem not from stored up anger, but from the need to escape more threatening experiences of hurt or vulnerability. Though psychodynamic therapy, patients may develop an increased capacity to more fully face and process challenging reoccurring emotional experiences in a manner that facilitates a sense of wholeness, vitality, and direction. Like attachment theory, contemporary psychodynamic therapy closely attends to relational patterns, often formed in childhood, which served to adapt to traumatic or otherwise less than ideal family of origin environments. While these patterns may have been critical to survival during childhood, they often no longer serve individuals in their adolescent or adult lives. By exploring these repetitive interpersonal patterns, and their origins, individuals may begin to take risk to relate to oneself and others in new and more satisfying ways.
Finally, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emphasizes the importance of targeting and altering thinking, emotional, and behavioral patterns that fuel psychological distress. CBT focuses on the “filters” that we use to interpret daily experiences, which in turn cause painful emotions and challenging behaviors. Behavioral research shows us that while avoidance of feared objects and experience is prototypical of individuals suffering from anxiety, that avoidance behavior also exacerbates and maintains anxiety over time. Thus, CBT provides the support and skills necessary to confront avoided materials (e.g. traumatic memories, phobias, feared social situations), in order to develop new experiences of mastery, and gradually extinguish the anxiety associated with these events. Recent developments in the integration of mindfulness and CBT, point to the benefit of carefully attending to the rise and fall of various emotional states, from a position of neutrality, as an antidote to many individuals’ inherent tendency to cling to anxious or depressive thoughts, and enter into painful patterns of rumination. CBT is often particularly useful for individuals suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, or anger difficulties.