Motivation to Change
Perhaps you don’t know why you are entering therapy, you simply know there is something you want to change in your life. Perhaps you have a sense that things feel stale, old, or no longer exciting. What you should know is that above all else, “motivating change” is the one thing I’ve done for all my clients. Perhaps this means you have a habit you want to break, a new routine you want to bring in, a lifestyle you have been longing for, dreams you want to take down from the shelf. I am trained in Motivational Interviewing and am skilled at finding the things that a client wants to change, working through ambivalence, and getting people moving forward in their lives.
As someone who has overcome personal traumas, I have a lot of empathy for the impact it can have. Aside from getting trauma specific counseling education at Naropa University I also studied under somatic psychology pioneer Pat Ogden, PhD for 15 months and recieved my level 1 training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. I taught a Learning from Trauma group for 5 years, and strongly believe: there is a way out. I would love to help you through your particular sensitivities, overwhelm, and/or whatever way your trauma makes itself known in your life.
Anxiety and Depression
As someone who used to suffer from panic attacks and battled with depression, I feel extraordinarily confident in my work with these two presenting issues. I have guided many people successfully out of these extremely challenging habitual states. Many clients are relieved to know that I have only advised pharmacological interventions in very rare cases where a real emergency was present.
I have been working with the addictions population since 2012 and helped many people overcome obstacles and find joy in coming into right balance in their lives. I have found that our addictions have a lot to teach us about ourselves. When we habitually turn toward something - there is a vital lesson in regards to what it is we want. There is always a reason to get addicted - and understanding that reason is the key to finding a better substitute. The good news is that all the things we take or do to feel a certain way have a healthy nourishing substitute! Whatever stage you’re in of considering a change, I am happy to help support you through this tricky terrain. I am on track for a LAC in November of 2019.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.” I use this broad term to describe a wide variety of practices designed to get us into this state. I have been a student of meditation, yoga, and Qi Gong, for the last 20 years. Although I am a big believer in the impact of these types of practices, as a student of Naropa University I specialized learning to cultivate mindfulness into our lives in more playful and less formal ways. I have been collecting a large toolbox of life hacks and skills designed to tailor present embodied awareness to any situation.
For the last decade and a half I have been a serious student of Jungian Psychology. For many, this background offers a certain richness to the lens in which I view my clientele. What this means for you is that I am no stranger to the language of dreams, metaphor, and synchronicity. Whatever you believe about this kind of terrain - bring me a dream, and I feel confident that what follows will be a wondrous journey of discovery together.
IF we can’t have healthy relationships, then what is all this work really for? There is a reason why attachment is the oldest surviving applicable aspect of psychotherapy - because it is a foundational component to the way we relate to others. It's come a long way from Freud's obsession with your parents and phallic symbols in dreams. Understanding the way our family system has impacted us can be a profound step to getting an upper hand on unconscious patterns that often arise within relationships. I have a lot of training and experience leading this exploration with individuals and through teaching an ongoing Healthy Relationships group for the last 5 years. I am also an Authentic Relating trainer in the community, and have seen the power of slowing down intimacy and connection and seeing what arises within.
Gestalt and Existential Psychology
Gestalt roughly translates as "an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts." I was given formal training under Betty Cannon, Ph.D an master/teacher of Gestalt and Existential Therapy. Both Gestalt Therapy and Existential Therapy are centered in the "here" and "now." Both approaches see that through understanding the present moment experience - we can also begin to understand and make meaning of the rest of our lives. I will often make use of "experiments" to bring conceptual things into the room. Within the course of therapy we may spend some time getting the context of who you are and the obstacles we are facing, but as soon as possible I want to get us up and moving, and find creative ways to get a felt sense of things. Existential Therapy has grounding principles that couple well with Gestalt - particularly that finding meaning (or wholeness) is a central theme to most people's lives.
Client Centered / Therapist Directed
This means the process is always under your control, but I will also be steering us into the fruitful places where growth happens. Client centered means you get to decide what to explore and we'll never need to go a direction in our work that you don't want to go. But on the other hand, Therapist directed means I will bring in new ideas, fresh perspectives, experiential experiments, and sometimes direct you to go places that might be vulnerable or on the edge of comfort.
You are a unique being. I guard against the temptation to put people in a box of any kind. With that said, I like the concept of examining the biology, psychology, social group, and spiritual influences in regards to understanding someone better. I see these all as areas of wellness worth considering, particularly when some kind of difficulty is arising in our lives. Most often, impacting any one of these areas will have impact on all the others.
Somatic means "relating to the body, especially as distinct from the mind." Although traditional talk therapy has its merits, it's considered a "top down" approach that only scratches the surface of who we are. We were more like animals for hundreds of thousands of years before we were the humans we are today. The brain is mostly designed in regards to our ancient ancestors rather than the thin neocortex layer on top. That top layer is the part of you who turns things into stories, and enables us to talk about (or talk about talking about) our dramas in life. But trauma takes place in the lower regions of the brain, and this means that accessing that inner animal requires a "bottom up" approach, rooted in the body's present moment wisdom.
My goal in practice is to let you be you. Contrary to some approaches, I am not interested in turning you into something. I don't believe in some socially normal mold that you need to fit. One of the core elements of this work is for me to simply get curious about your world and learn who you are uniquely empowered to be. All the tools and practices I may bring are designed to bring light to the dark, integrating your various parts into a cohesive whole. We will reclaim and empower the disowned, and together we will explore ways of working with the unique blueprint that is you.
I am actively involved in the "Authentic Relating" community here in Boulder County. Authentic Relating is a set of principles and practices designed to cultivate vulnerable, intimate, trustable, empowering and nourishing connections and relationships. The practices have personally offered me a much greater ability to take my masks off, be real, and become better equipt to perceive and receive others. It's a deeply embodied practice that has helped me to reconnect my body with its emotional intelligence. To learn more about authentic relating visit https://www.authenticrelatingtraining.com/.
A Real Heart Connection
I include this because I want you to know that I will bring my whole heart to each session. Although we will be embarking into a professional relationship, I believe that it is our ability to wear our heart on our sleeves that enables us to come into deeper connection. I wouldn't do this work if I wasn't a huge fan of human beings. Anyone who is willing to work on themselves has my unconditional compassion and will be free of judgement. As someone who worked within a jail for half my career, you should know that I have have heard people talk about what many might call taboo mistakes of all sorts. This may be surprising, but I have never met a "bad" person. I have simply met a lot of hurt people. From a place of unconditional positive regard, you are safe. I want you to be you, and that means an invitation to show all the parts that may be scary to show to another human being. I invite you to test me, try it out with baby steps if you half to. My hope is that you may finally know what it's like to have a safe place to explore all of yourself with another.