How I Work
Change happens when our insights align with a feeling or sensation in our body. It happens as we discover aspects of our experience and who we are in the presence of another person, someone who can walk the path with us and bring a curious and non-judgmental point of view. My work with you is based on the following principles.
Based on Connection
Studies show that the most powerful predictor of a satisfying therapy experience is the quality of the therapeutic relationship. I will work with you to build a relationship that can support you reaching your goals.
As William Faulkner wrote “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” My work focuses on your present experience—what’s working and what isn’t working. Occasionally it may be useful to explore your past to understand how patterns of thought and behavior originated. Understanding how something started does not create change on its own. I will support you as you take the steps that feel right for you, including steps that can change your relationship to your past.
Change as a Process
Making a change in our lives is a surround-sound experience, never linear and never moving at the same speed. You set the pace and we’ll go where you need to go, taking the time we need to take to support you in meeting your goals.
Influences and Inspirations
Yvonne Agazarian and Susan Gantt
Yvonne Agazarian was a brilliant theoretician and clinician who had a keen interest in how social contexts influence our behavior. Her theory of Living Human Systems, carried on in the work of the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, provides a strong scaffolding for taking the work of therapy beyond the individual so that each of us may create the kinds of work, family, or relationship contexts that we want.
Janina Fisher has worked alongside Pat Ogden for years in developing Sensorimotor
Psychotherapy that incorporates body awareness with talk therapy. For many of us an awareness of how our experience affects muscular or postural development can free up access to closed off emotional experiences. From Janina I have learned how primary the somatic encoding of experience is for all of us, and how our awareness of body sensations, including tension and numbness, may be a resource for healing.
Patt Denning and Jeannie Little
I have been deeply influenced by the work of Patt Denning, a groundbreaking psychologist who, along with her partner Jeannie Little, has developed a model of harm reduction psychotherapy that is based on a blend of harm reduction principles, psychodynamic and cognitive-based therapies and is heavily trauma-informed. From the two of them I have learned how fundamental the idea of choice is over all aspects of our lives, especially drug and alcohol use.
As a psychoanalytically trained psychologist, Elizabeth Howell has expanded my understanding of how traumatic experience affects full access to our thoughts and emotional experience. Through a close reading of her books and articles I have learned how important it is not to assume that having access to our memories allows for full access to our emotional responses to those memories.
Compartmentalization and numbing may evolve as strategies for preserving our everyday functioning in the face of overwhelming life experiences. If the price of awareness is internal chaos, not knowing our full emotional experience makes a lot of sense. I use her work, along with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy techniques, to help you reclaim your emotional experience at a pace that feels comfortable to you.