a Reputation for results

My theoretical orientation includes a combination of philosophies and techniques. Family Systems Theory is the foundation of these. Simply put, we are the products of our parents and families and each generation going up the family tree. The beliefs, values, habits, traditions, behaviors, relationship styles, medical conditions, and substance use or dependency come down to us and have tremendous influence on who we become, how we behave, and what we believe is right or wrong. This is an unconscious process which we can be aware of. Knowing this process helps us to know who we are, how we got that way, and what we want to change. The trouble is that we don’t know how to change or do things differently. This is what I teach clients to do.

Two other major influences in the way I evaluate clients are Ego Psychology and the developmental stages of Eric Erikson. Both of these describe the needs of children and the stages they must go through in order to become healthy emotionally. We are in a relationship as we grow in the womb and are hopefully born to loving parents, who are assigned the task of providing for our needs. Thus, If there are deficits or trauma in these stages, the child may have psychological issues that prevent him/her from being fully functional in relationships and as healthy and happy adults in the world. What every child needs is for someone to be available to fill their needs and be madly in love with them in the first years of life. Not all parents are able to do this due to their own deficits growing up or life situations. Due to no one’s fault, life brings changes, some profound, and others due to the normal situations in our family growing up.

So, in gathering information about my clients based on their family of origin, their earliest experiences, and their movement through the necessary developmental stages, I can gain an understanding of what they need to heal. We do a time-line which enables the client to understand the impact of life events and family transitions. When I have this information, I know what losses have to be made up and what experiences need to heal. When I explain this to my clients, it helps them understand how and why they are unhappy with themselves and their relationships. Then, we set goals for counseling, so both the client and I create a plan for success. We know what has to be healed and what has to be learned to move on. This is solution-focused therapy.

getting results and achieving a greater understanding

Understanding how our brains work in learning and solving life’s issues and how brain dysfunction and biochemistry lead to mental illness can explain troublesome symptoms. Sometimes, emotions and behaviors which are hereditary and brain-based are really the result of a treatable medical condition. I help clients to see if this applies to them.

Another issue involving the brain has to do with how we process trauma and confusing experiences from the past. We want to reach a level of adaptation, to process, so to speak, and then have resolution. If we are too young to make sense of things, they don’t get processed. When we are stuck in childhood memories, they remain stored on a sensory and emotional level and are not processed through to a level of release and adaptation. Therefore, they are still affecting our lives in a negative way. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a means for healing these problems.

It is important for us to understand how we can increase our distress by thinking negatively. A wise therapist once taught me, “My emotions are my thoughts moving through my body.” Positive thoughts create positive feelings and negative thoughts bring us down. Sometimes, we are completely unaware of this connection. By analyzing our thoughts and how accurate they are, we can modify or eliminate them, and therefore change our lives. This is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

It is important for me to teach you the connections between your life experiences, your beliefs, your thoughts, your habits, your fears, your emotions, and so much more. When you understand these connections, we can work together to make the necessary changes to release what you need to, and learn a new way to live your best life.