The primary element is a therapeutic relationship founded on safety, trust, rapport, and attunement. Client and therapist "fit" is the most important factor in whether therapy will be effective. The therapeutic relationship forms a secure laboratory where we collaborate on finding new insights and new ways of being and acting in the world.
My approach is eclectic and wholistic, appreciating the connections between body, behavior, affect, emotion, cognition and social context. The types of therapy I employ tend to share a number of family resemblances and I feel augment and supplement each other in various combinations:
My training is grounded in a contemporary, relational psychodynamic "depth" approach that respects the complexity and unpredictability of the unconscious mind (including working with dreams, a speciality of mine), the significance of attachment and early relationships, and the patterns that connect your past and your present.
I also seek to provide an experiential, present-focused dimension to therapy. I often encourage the Jungian technique of Active Imagination, in which clients write, draw/paint, sculpt, move/dance (etc.) as a means of experiencing and drawing out their inner world and dynamics. I incorporate techniques of contemporary Gestalt therapy and value concepts such as working in the here-and-now, the dialogic relationship, somatic awareness, exploration of phenomenology, and of generating playful “experiments” that support having new experiences. I also incorporate elements of Internal Family Systems therapy as they provide a means of conceptualizing and an interface for working with our inner multiplicity (that we are not univocal, but made up of a system of interacting, and sometimes polarized or conflicting, “parts”) and helping clients increasingly access (what this type of therapy calls) Self.
I believe it is absolutely essential to provide trauma-informed care, have received significant training in this area, and actively strive to stay up to date with current research. I will often incorporate insights from Polyvagal theory.
I approach my work with a social justice lens and a position of cultural humility, I respect and work with my my clients' to explore their intersecting identities, and I am LGBTQIA+ affirming.
Here are some basic elements of therapy as I practice it:
1. Exploration: Curiosity is a core value. This is the open-ended storytelling mode that often serves as a starting place for a session. We start out and don’t know where we will end up. Each human life is vast, complex, and unique. On this road we suspend judgment, and venture forward in a state of not knowing what we will discover, or what it will mean. Some metaphors for this element: going on a journey, exploring the depths, mapping the terrain, unpacking the baggage, dissembling the device to see what is inside.
2. Amplification: Patience and careful attention are core values. When a sensation, feeling, image, or thought presents itself as potentially salient, we give it ample time and space to emerge and resolve into focus. We zoom in, increase the definition, turn up the volume. This allows us to get more clarity about what it is and what other material is connected to it.
3. Insight: A good interpretation is like a flash of lightning that allows us to suddenly connect ideas across different areas and allows you to picture the larger patterns and dynamics in your life. In session we both interpret. The marks of a good interpretation are 1) a satisfying ring of "rightness" and 2) what it allows you to do, in terms of leading to...
4. New Experiences: The core values here are playfulness and courage. Clarity and insight alone are not sufficient to create real change. If you want to rework your core, unconscious beliefs and narratives about yourself, others, and the world, you have to create opportunities to have novel experiences. This takes openness and willingness to take chances, in our inner world and with others, both in the therapy office and out in the world. In this laboratory we devise experiments that generate more data, more knowledge and can open space for freedom, change, and growth.
Contact me if you have any questions, or if you would like additional resources to learn more!