Over the past several years I've focused my professional development on helping people understand and overcome the devastating effects of substance abuse, traumatic experiences, and serious mood & anxiety disorders.
My approach is intended to help clients develop new skills to thrive, not just manage or survive life, but to realize individual potential for dynamic engagement with life. Typically, the primary goals are reduced shame, increased understanding and skill development for self regulation.
My graduate training focused on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As mentioned in my introduction, however, I draw from a variety of orientations in an integrative approach. Below are brief descriptions of the most influential to my practice and links to other sites with more information about them:
(From the Somatic Experiencing Website):
Somatic Experiencing® is a body-awareness approach to trauma being taught throughout the world. It is the result of over forty years of observation, research, and hands-on development by Dr. Peter A. Levine.
Based upon the realization that human beings have an innate ability to overcome the effects of trauma, Somatic Experiencing has touched the lives of many thousands. SE® restores self-regulation, and returns a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized individuals who have had these precious gifts taken away. Peter has applied his work to combat veterans, rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, auto accident and post surgical trauma, chronic pain sufferers, and even to infants after suffering traumatic births.
(Excerpt from EMDRIA website):
EMDR has helped thousands of clients haunted by abuse histories or recent traumatic events. It also benefits people who have not found relief with other therapies and those with chronic conditions or blocked personal and professional performance. EMDR® therapy incorporates eye movements or other techniques that stimulate the right and left hemispheres of the brain while focusing on problematic issues, which helps to release and reprocess information trapped in the body-mind. As a result, people are freed from disturbing images and body sensations, debilitating emotions and restrictive beliefs. Not only does healing occur much more rapidly than in traditional therapy, but some clients also report an experience of joy, openness, and deep connection with others. EMDR® seems to be a quantum leap in the human ability to heal trauma and maladaptive beliefs.
CBT stresses the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the belief that thoughts, rather than people or events, cause our negative feelings. The therapist assists the patient in identifying, testing the reality of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs underlying his or her thinking. The therapist then helps the client modify those thoughts and the behaviors that flow from them. CBT is a structured collaboration between therapist and client and often calls for homework assignments. CBT increases intellectual understanding of problems and has been clinically proven to help people in a relatively short amount of time with a wide range of issues, including substance abuse, depression and anxiety.
Solution-Focused Therapy focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future.
Like CBT, Solution-Focused therapy provides concrete tools to support rapid change. This is especially valuable when self-destruction poses an imminent threat to the safety of the individual in therapy and others. Further, because managed healthcare and the cost of therapy services present barriers to long-term treatment for most people, both of these orientations are especially popular among practitioners who typically have about 6-10 sessions to help people make significant changes.
On the other hand, neither CBT nor Solution-Focused therapies acknowledge the context in which problems develop nor the spiritual aspect of existence, which may or may not be helpful to a given individual.
Family Systems Theory suggests that individuals need to be understood not in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit. Families are viewed as systems of interconnected and interdependent individuals.
Person-Centered Therapy, also known as client-centered, non-directive, or Rogerian therapy, is an approach to counseling and psychotherapy that places much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a nondirective role.
Jungian Psychology (in an eloquent nutshell found on Wikipedia): "...is the apprehension and integration of the deep forces and motivations underlying human behavior by the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, folklore and mythology, and employs the model of the unconscious mind as the source of healing and development in the individual."
Each of these theoretical orientations offers significant contributions to the process of personal change. None, however, can effectively address the wide variety of issues faced by those in need of therapeutic services. My integrative stance is a result of the obvious - people are complex and lasting relief or change depends on effective treatment interventions tailored to meet individual needs.
More About Me
With several years' experience in social service and administrative positions, I maintain an active commitment to further professional development.
Through a respected colleague I learned of Somatic Experiencing (SE) Psychotherapy, and in early 2012 I began the three year training program. It affected me so deeply, I applied and received approval from the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI) to assist new cohorts beginning in 2014. In Fall 2014 I received a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) certificate and began a yearlong training in touch skills for therapists with Kathy L. Kain.
With enthusiasm for this wise and gentle, respectful approach to trauma recovery, I intend to continue expanding my knowledge in all of these areas in order to best serve the individuals seeking my help.
C.V. available on LinkedIn:
As a full clinical member of CAMFT , Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and an EMDRIA-certified therapist, I am familiar with and abide by the ethical standards and professional codes published by these professional organizations, as well as California laws and regulations governing the conduct of licensed marriage & family therapists.
Please feel free to contact me for more information. I look forward to meeting with you personally to determine how I might assist you in uncovering your full potential.