While I know many paths for healing, you are the expert on yourself and your life. After two to three sessions for assessment and getting acquainted, we will collaborate to determine treatment goals and length of treatment.
My approach is eclectic; however, I am theoretically grounded in General Systems Theory. This means your history, experiences, and present circumstances are interrelated and integral in shaping your identity, how you interpret the world, and your strengths and struggles. This theory assumes everything is connected: you not only shape the lives of those around you, but you too are being shaped.
This understanding places relationships at the center of what brings you to therapy, rather than simply a medical diagnosis. From this understanding we will look at what change is necessary in your external or internal relationships, and what strengths and resources you have already developed to support the changes you wish to make.
Internal Family Systems Therapy
In 2019, I completed requirements and became a Certified IFS Therapist. Since training in IFS in 2011, I have witnessed incredible change and healing, in both my clients and me. It is the way I understand the internal world of the individual and the external world in families, communities and larger organizations.
IFS is gentle, non-pathologizing and provides a path to change and the deep healing I know is possible. It assumes we are made up of innumerable parts that are interrelated and shaping one another in health or struggle. It also assumes all our parts have a positive intention. Fundamental to IFS is the belief that we all have access to a centered, compassionate Self. Healing happens when Self is present and in relationship with our parts. IFS is considered experiential as well as psychospiritual for those who wish to integrate their spirituality into their therapeutic work. A belief in the divine or higher power is not necessary to benefit. It only requires an understanding that humans have a capacity to live from a centered, wise place. IFS provides an internal map for getting to that centered, wise place and from there, to growth and healing.
I draw from several therapy modalities that have one thing in common. They are all experiential. This means we are doing the work of change in my office rather than simply talking about it. Experiential modalities incorporate the whole person; body, mind, and spirit, teaching you skills and tools you can incorporate into your life now. I have advanced training and experience in Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Emotionally Focused Individual & Couple Therapy (EFT/EFIT).
Life is lived and experienced in the present moment. The more present we are to our experiences, the happier and more peaceful we become, even during hardship. We all have coping mechanisms that take us out of our present experience and into our heads, or to numbing and distraction. Mindfulness is a core skill and philosophy of experiential therapies. I taught Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for years which teaches mindfulness as the core skill. I can help you be more present to your life in this moment, accepting what is, and ready to let go and experience the next moment that arises, whatever it may be.
My spirituality was formed in the Christian tradition and in my adult years by Christian Mysticism. Forms of mysticism are found in all major religions. No matter the faith tradition it holds that the divine, God, Source, whatever name you use, is present in everything, is all and in all and can be experienced. For me, this presence is a loving energy and is the source from which our universe is created. We can have a relationship to this Presence, both within us and in the world around us. “For ‘In God we live and move and have our being’.” Acts 17:28
We do not have to agree. If you wish to integrate your religious or spiritual beliefs into therapy, my interest is in what you believe and to what extent you wish to bring in those beliefs. I do not have an agenda regarding your spirituality and honor those identifying as agnostic or atheist.
Many have experienced religious abuse within their faith communities or were abused or abandoned by faith leaders. Abuse shows up in many forms. Purity culture may have harmed your sexual self or emerging identity as gay or questioning. You may find that many parts of yourself are exiled as a result. I have worked with survivors and know the devastation this can have on one’s life and relationship to God, one’s center of worship, community, and family. It is my honor to journey with survivors in their healing and know that healing is possible.
Trauma Informed Therapy
Trauma informed therapy means that I do all I can to provide a safe, non-triggering space in which to process whatever needs attention. This approach assumes that trauma may be present but not named. From my office space to my language, to the pace of therapy and interventions, making a safe and client-centered environment is my number one priority.
My work is informed by the polyvagal theory and the research of Stephen Porges and Deb Dana. Their work on how to rewire our nervous systems is foundational to most trauma informed treatments. Armed with this knowledge, we know how to rewire your nervous system to be more flexible, regulated, and relationally connected.
I meet for 5-7 sessions with couples who are planning to marry. I start by getting to know you and your family history to identify strengths and potential areas of struggle. I then use the Prepare-Enrich Couple Inventory to identify where there is the most agreement and difference. For instance, the inventory looks at attitudes towards finances, the role of family and friends, parenting, gender roles, personal habits, and personality traits, among others. From there we develop homework assignments. I then draw on my years as a couple therapist to provide you with helpful tips and tools for making your marriage last. Some of my favorite sources are the research informed theories of John Gottman and Sue Johnson.
Diversity and Inclusion
I welcome and value diversity in my practice and aim to make a safe space for adult clients from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds and affirm those who identify as LGBTQIA+. I stand against social injustice and discrimination in all its forms including racism, ageism, ableism, sexism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and white nationalism. I believe humility is especially important here. While I have worked to be a culturally competent therapist, I recognize I am a white, cis gender, straight, middle age, woman who comes from a Christian blue-collar background and am privileged. I welcome open dialogue about our differences and feedback when my perspective misses yours.