How I Work

 I strive to be a friendly, warm, interactive and attentive therapist, and I can work with you for longer in-depth work, or for briefer amounts of time. We will figure out what best suits your needs as we get to know each other and you feel comfortable working with me.  


I work from the point of view that psychotherapy is a creative and collaborative process. By this I mean it's a place where we delve into the present and the past as a way to shape the future with more awareness, self-compassion and strength. When I work with you, I will bring my empathy, humor, years of experience, and belief in your ability to move forward and feel better.  As we meet together, I listen for what makes you feel more alive, more able, more connected, less shut down and stuck, and I will work with your strengths no matter what school of thought my approach falls under. I will pay attention to your personal history, your abilities, and your painful experiences, and work with you in the present to bring awareness and change.


In terms of my influences and training, I'm drawn to humanistic and psychodynamic ideas of psychotherapy and I've been hugely influenced by Attachment Theory and how it pays close attention to the emotional lives of infants and young children as well as parents/caregivers. I completed intensive clinical training at University of California San Francisco where I worked with adults and children who've experienced trauma, as well as with those living with illness. More recently, my focus has been on trauma, PTSD symoptons from childhood trauma, and AF-EMDR (Attachment Focused EMDR).


For many years I was fortunate to be able to study with Hal Sampson, Ph.D. and Joe Weiss, M.D. at the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. Their theory, research, humor and kindness shaped me as a clinician. The theory, Control/Mastery Theory (CMT), while awkwardly named, is an elegant and streamlined theory about how people work in psychotherapy.  It  focuses on how early childhood traumatic events and relationships create grim and limiting ideas/feelings about oneself, and how a therapist can best understand what someone is working on in therapy and form a relationship that works to disprove the traumas of the past. Their research and theory are compatible with the core ideas of Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Systems Theory,  as well as many psychodynamic ideas. 


I'm intrigued by the terrific research on mindfulness and psychotherapy, and how mindfulness offers another tool to use to facilitate neurobiological changes that bring calm, improved mood and actual positive changes in the brain itself. My current areas of study are with AF-EMDR throught the Parnell Institute and Buddhist Psychology with Spirit Rock.