Individual Therapy for Adults
Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or defeated? Is it sometimes hard to shut off that voice in your head that says you’re not good enough, things will never change or the worst is still to come? Or maybe past trauma is resurfacing and is now also impacting your relationships or making it hard to keep up with day-to-day demands while leaving you confused, frightened, and hopeless. Is there a part of you that wonders if your emotional stress might have also manifested itself in the form of chronic physical pain?
While we often rationally believe in our strengths and potential for growth, our gut tends to reliably remind us that we are to blame, not good enough, unsafe, or powerless - because it feels so true. My deepest hope for our work together is for you to not only know that you are worthy of love and a fulfilled life but that you can also feel it in your body and live accordingly.
Therapy can be scary. There might be parts of your story that you have never shared with another human. There might be lots of gaps and questionnaires in your story. Together with you, I want to explore, piece together, and understand your story - make peace with all parts of it - and create a safe space of warmth, curiosity, and humor to collaboratively identify and address the sources of your pain.
Therapy for Children, Teenagers, and their Families
Did you ever have a favorite uncle or grandmother? Or maybe it was your next-door neighbor as a child who you just loved spending time with? Someone you felt safe with, who made you laugh, and who was patient with you. You were always excited to be with that special someone and you felt accepted for who you were. In my session with children and adolescents, I seek to build that type of healthy and safe relationship as the foundation for growth and healing. I want each young person to know that all and any emotions they have will be met with acceptance and not be used against them.
What happens in individual therapy for kids and teenagers?
In our individual sessions, I meet kids and teens where they are at emotionally and focus on their unique needs. Some of the themes and areas young people often want to focus on are:
Peer and Family Relationships
when there’s fighting at home, struggling with teachers or making/keeping friends
so they can feel more confident in social situation or enhance their ability to be more empathetic with others
in dealing with a tragedy or tough situation, or general anxiety about everyday situations
It’s All About Play!
In child therapy I often use art and play as a means to build a strong therapeutic relationship. I love to use Sandtray, an expressive play therapy technique, as a way to create a safe space for children to explore and express powerful emotions such as anger, fear, shame, guilt, and sadness through creative and interactive play. While many parents bring their children to therapy due to behavior issues, it is important to remember that behavior is the main way in which kids communicate their feelings as they don’t know yet how to articulate and/or regulate them. On the other hand, some young kids are incredibly capable of verbalizing their emotions. While they might be able to sit and talk for a full session, the most important part of child therapy is building and maintaining trust and safety as the groundwork for the healing and growing process.
One Foot in Childhood, One Foot in Adulthood
Teenagehood is hard and complicated - especially during a pandemic! Some of the biggest challenges teens experience today are anxiety, lack of belonging and connection with peers, (cyber) bullying, depression and mood swings, low self-esteem, negative body image, and ADHD. Adolescence - a transitional period from childhood into adulthood in which your kid is trying to navigate the task of identity, autonomy and belonging while being faced with physical growth and change as well as with emotional, intellectual, personality and social changes. What a task!
In my work with teens, I aim to create a safe space of warmth, curiosity, and humor to collaboratively explore, identify, and address the sources of their pain and struggles and to empower them through increased insight and coping skills. Some teenagers are quick to open up and love long and deep discussions that encourage self-reflection and nurtures healing and maturity. Other teens prefer to express and explore their unique experiences through creative or artistic endeavors and playful interactions as their avenue to personal growth. I’m here to meet them where they are and support them accordingly.
The younger the child, the more I encourage the parents to be a part of the treatment team as there is no one more important to a child’s life than their parents or caregivers. I will be there to offer you guidance on how you can support and nurture your child through this time and work to repair relationships when needed.
To create trust with teenagers, it is important for everyone to understand that what your teenager says in their individual therapy sessions remains confidential unless there is any issue that I believe may put the adolescent at risk. However, if there is an important topic that comes up, I will work with your teen to be able to address it with you directly from a place of respect and collaboration. Empowering them to find their own voice helps to grow the confidence and maturity that you are hoping for in your child.
“We repeat what we don’t repair.”
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, highly effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences. While EMDR therapy is most often associated with PTSD treatment, it is a therapy that is tremendously valuable in the treatment of many issues, including depression, anxiety, phobias, unhealthy relationship patterns, chronic pain, and a wide range of other mental health problems.
Many national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment, including the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense.
EMDR and Trauma - How does it work?
Most of the time our mind and body automatically process new information and experiences without us even being aware of it. However, when we are subjected to an overwhelming event (e.g. a serious accident, the loss of a loved one, sexual assault, a natural disaster, violence) or are being repeatedly exposed to distress (e.g. bullying at school, family conflict, childhood abuse/neglect, financial worries, chronic pain), our bodie’s natural coping mechanisms can become overloaded. This overloading is making it impossible to digest the experiences and is leaving the unprocessed memories in a raw and emotional form rather than processing it through language. Such unprocessed traumatic experiences can have a profound impact on the way we feel, think, view ourselves and relate to others in the present.
Sometimes we know exactly what past event is still haunting us today and is leaving us fearful that we might never be the same. Most of the time, however, it is not that obvious. While often the original overwhelming memory itself is long forgotten, we might find ourselves repeating the same unhealthy relationship patterns, struggle with inexplicable painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair in the present or are impacted by self-limiting beliefs that we are to blame, not good enough, unsafe, or powerless. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become restricted.
What happens during an EMDR session?
EMDR therapy utilizes the natural healing ability of your body. The process of doing EMDR usually involves focusing on a traumatic or disturbing memory while using a form of bilateral stimulation in brief sets. The stimulation may either be through following a moving dot on your device’s screen or tracking a moving light from side to side with your eyes, through alternating tapping of your hands on each shoulder (the Butterfly Hug), alternating buzzing sensation from tactile units that you hold in your hands, or sometimes auditory stimulation, which involves sound alternating from ear to ear in headphones.
This bilateral stimulation seeks to remove emotional blocks so that old maladaptive cognitions and feelings can be integrated into more adaptive beliefs and healing can resume. Doing so, not only helps you to see painful past events in a new and less distressing or neutral way but also changes how you experience emotions and perceive yourself and the world around you in the here and now.
What can be treated with EMDR?
Chronic pain, including phantom limb pain
Self-esteem and performance anxiety