I specialize in working with adults on issues such as:
- Recovery from anxiety & depression
- Exploring cultural identity, acculturation and related challenges
- Navigating familial, romantic and other primary relationships
- Recovery from addictive behavior and maintenance of treatment gains
- Exploring motivation to change current addictive patterns
- Healing from trauma and abuse
- Conflict, life transitions, loss & grief
My hope for all of my clients is to develop a deeper understanding of and compassion for themselves, and to experience an increased sense of empowerment. I value paying attention to the larger socio-political context and exploring aspects of identity such as gender, race, sexuality, immigration history, socio-economic status and spirituality, and the impacts that these have on each person's experience.
I believe that difficulty being present with what is uncomfortable and painful in our lives can often create additional suffering. We avoid this discomfort in a multitude of ways that may seem useful in the short run, but tend to hinder our ability to live a full, rich and meaningful life.
The work of therapy is often to learn to be with discomfort in a compassionate way. This is sometimes more easily learned in the context of a genuine, trusting and caring relationship. While a strong therapeutic relationship can create the space for us to be with what is difficult, mindfulness provides a tool for doing this. Bringing this type of compassionate presence to our suffering, can allow us to access our natural capacity for growth and healing, help us make decisions from a wiser place, and feel more fully engaged with our lives.
Mindfulness has gained increasing popularity in the treatment literature and has a substantial set of scientific studies supporting its effectiveness with a variety of problems including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and addictive behaviors.
Two related approaches that I draw heavily from are Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
FAP focuses on difficulties and problems in relationships. It uses the relationship with the therapist as a vehicle to develop rich and meaningful connections with others. It involves taking risks with others, including the therapist, learning to be aware of how we impact other people, and learning to develop more intimate, loving relationships. ACT emphasizes that psychological pain is an inevitable part of being human, and that it is the mind's struggle against it that often leads to suffering. Thus, within an ACT framework, suffering is less about discomfort and pain, and more about the behaviors we engage in to avoid pain, and our difficulty separating pain from worry, dread and self-judgment. The goal of therapy is not to eliminate discomfort, but to let go of struggle and accept what can not be changed, while moving in the direction of what one values.
Additionally, I have training in several empirically validated cognitive-behavioral interventions, that may be integrated with the above mentioned framework. To the extent possible, I attempt to tailor interventions to the specific needs of each individual.