My work with you can be very goal directed and practical, using short term therapeutic approaches. Or it can be expansive, open-ended, and inquiring, offering a more holistic approach. See below to get an idea of my therapeutic approaches.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, often simply referred to as CBT, is an evidence based approach that involves the practice of examining your thoughts and noticing how your interpretations of situations influence your reactions. First, you notice your regular cognitive distortions, and then you begin to challenge them. As you challenge what you once assumed to be true, your perceptions will begin to shift, and with these shifts, your reactions will change, with the result being a targeted change in behavior.
Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment and noticing what is going on both within you and around you. You will be introduced to several exercises and be encouraged to practice daily. These meditative exercises will train your mind to notice your thought patterns, as well as associated emotions and physical sensations. With this attention, your thought habits will naturally change, as will your emotional reactions.
This practice of self-examination will help you to gain insight and be more present, both in painful and pleasurable situations. Part of mindfulness is learning to be present with painful sensations and “negative” emotions, just noticing how it feels without trying to change it or escape it. Instead of turning away from the pain, mindfulness teaches us to turn towards it and “ride the wave.” The medicine for healing the pain lies within the wound itself. Much of the time when we are in pain, it is because we are resisting the process of moving through the thoughts, sensations, or emotions. Once we can let it be and simply sit with the pain, we find the relief we have been seeking.
Through the practice of sitting with yourself and observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations without running away from or to sensations; you will come to know yourself on a more profound level. This cultivated wisdom and self-compassion deepens the traditional CBT approach, so that you can see how you may get stuck in undesired cycles, and how to create new cycles that support greater well-being.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a cutting edge, evidence based alternative to talk therapy for healing trauma or anxiety. It is a very structured psychotherapy that includes eight treatment phases, and has been shown to work more rapidly in treating trauma than traditional therapies. This is highly desired as it allows you to spend less time reprocessing the traumatic material. The active process of this therapy is the use of bilateral stimulation (through following the therapists's hand movements, tapping, or listening to tones) to cause bilateral activity in the brain (between the right and left hemisphere) while simultaneously processing traumatic or anxiety producing material. This dual attention process has been demonstrated to help individuals "digest" these overwhelming emotions, memories, and experiences. In this sense, you may find that you can move forward in life more freely without unresolved emotions from the past being activated by current triggers. This work is client-centered, meaning the resolution and integration of past traumatic events comes from your innate capacity for healing. This may leave you feeling empowered as you find your own ability to move through painful material and make sense of it in a way that lets you grow in wisdom and move forward in life the way that you want to.
EMDR is an emotionally challenging therapy, and you may find your symptoms intensifying before they decrease. For this reason, it is important to have a current level of stability in your life before participating. It is also necessary to have the resources to regulate intense emotions. I will work with you on these skills, and assess whether or not you are in an appropriate space before beginning. I will also provide more detailed information to you directly about this process if you are interested in trying it.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” -Mary Oliver
We all have many different parts to our personalities. Some parts appear to be functional and healthy, while some seem destructive or self-sabotaging. Most people want to deny, let go of, or banish these "dysfunctional" parts. What if we look at it differently? What if we see every part as serving some sort of purpose? These shadow parts will not stop what they are doing until we stop and recognize them. They have something to share. Maybe the message appears painful or destructive at first, but let’s listen more deeply. What’s underneath that? And what’s underneath the next layer? And the next? Eventually, you’ll find it: the message that unaccepted part of you has to share, and it will almost certainly be of great value.
Oftentimes, what we are missing in life is simply a lack of connection. In our busy lives filled with constant distractions, we can lose touch with what is real and important. If this is the case with you, I will work with you to physically plug yourself back in and reconnect with yourself. From this connection, we will then work on cultivating your connection to your community and to the natural world.
As a Certified Yoga Instructor and a yoga practitioner for over 20 years, I incorporate simple, restorative yoga practices (stretching, breathe work, meditation, chakra work) into my work with clients as is appropriate and desired. The body holds keys to unlocking emotional pain, while the mind sometimes spins us in circles. Relaxing the body can relax the mind. Our physical self also reminds us of our place in the world, of our connection to ourselves and to all life.
As a part of this therapeutic process, I may also give you homework that helps you to re-establish your physical connection in this world, and helps you find a sense of coming home to yourself.
"O keep squeezing drops of the Sun From your prayers and work and music And from your companions' beautiful laughter And from the most insignificant movements Of your own holy body. Now, sweet one, be wise. Cast all your votes for Dancing!" -Hafiz