My Approach

“Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within another person.” 
–Rachel Naomi Remen

I provide a compassionate, non-judgmental environment where the healing process can unfold naturally. My approach is holistic, recognizing the fundamentally interconnected nature of body, mind, and soul. The overarching goal of my work is to help you discover a more fulfilling and healthy way of being. We will work collaboratively to change unhealthy patterns of thought and emotion and make way for the development of a more authentic self.Oregon 023

My theoretical orientation is eclectic, drawing inspiration and expertise from Humanistic, Jungian, Self-psychology, and Buddhist psychology. At the core, I offer myself to you as a steady compassionate ally in your movement toward healing. A guiding assumption of the work is that the body and psyche have a natural capacity for self-healing that the therapeutic relationship can help to recover.

Our work may take many forms, depending on your needs and issues. We may explore your past to help you develop understanding of habitual self-defeating patterns and become more aware of important and often unconscious influences. By bringing unconscious thoughts and emotions into awareness, change becomes possible. It may also be important to look to the future to envision goals and develop a plan for manifesting life dreams. But we will not get stuck in either the past or the future. The emphasis always returns to the present where therapeutic change and healing occur.

Talk therapy (in which the client brings whatever is on his/her mind and the therapist provides deep listening and guidance toward insight and growth) will form the bulk of our work together, but a variety of additional methods may be employed depending on your needs and interest, including mindfulness practice, art therapy, cognitive exercises, and dream work. Feel free to let me know if you would like to work in any of these ways.

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Process of Psychotherapy

Clients sometimes begin therapy with confusion or misconceptions about what exactly therapy is and just how it might help them. The popular culture view of therapy often contributes to such misconceptions. Adding to the confusion is t107_0712_r1he fact that there are many different ways to practice psychotherapy, depending on a therapist’s training, theoretical orientation, and personality.

Psychotherapy is a unique healing approach that places great importance on the healing power of self-exploration and insight within a caring and empathic relationship. What has been observed again and again is that people have the ability to heal and change, but that certain conditions are needed to support such growth. These are the conditions of a therapeutic setting. The relationship between client and therapist is unlike any other in our society, because the therapist and client are both involved whole-heartedly in the healing of the client. The well-respected psychiatrist Irvin Yalom wrote that the client and therapist’s “paramount task is to build a relationship together that will itself become the agent of change.”

To support the development of such a relationship requires deep listening and empathy on the part of the therapist as well as an ability to track the process unfolding. Clients must be willing to try to speak openly and honestly about what is on their minds. Over time, as trust is developed in the therapy relationship, whatever needs to be worked on is able to come forward and be transformed or resolved. Clients may be able to release long-held emotional pain, change destructive thought patterns, and heal their wounds, making room for the emergence of a more authentic and healthy mode of being.

I encourage you to ask questions at any time about the process of therapy or to share any fears or confusion you may have.

Effective Therapy is Collaborative

The therapist helps facilitate change, but ultimately it is you that has the power to heal yourself. In my experience, client-directed therapy is most effective, and thus I prefer to let you bring forth whatever is in need of work.
121_2158There are times when you may feel stuck or unsure where to begin and if that is the case, I am happy to provide direction when that is needed and asked for. Yet even when therapy is more therapist-directed, the power to change lies within you. Therapy requires courage and a motivation to change. It may at times be hard work, but the rewards of the work can be great.

Length of Therapy

Many issues and struggles are most likely to see resolution over a lengthier course of therapy. This is particularly true in the case of longstanding symptoms like depression or anxiety or in situations where severe trauma has occurred. Therefore, I encourage clients to consider longer-term therapy and to have trust in the process and patience for themselves. That said, there are certain situations in which shorter therapy may be all that is needed. It is always up to you as the client to decide whether to continue or end therapy, but I encourage you to bring this issue to therapy for discussion.