My Treatment Approaches
My philosophy about what is healing in therapy is pretty simple. I believe that when a therapist offers a warm, safe, supportive relationship people are often able to move through obstacles that have been blocking their paths. Our natural state is to continually move toward health, wholeness, and meaningful connection to self and others. Unfortunately the stresses and traumas of life can separate us from that inner capacity. The techniques and style of the therapist is much less important than the quality of the relationship, which is why a good therapeutic fit is so essential.
My straightforward approach includes information, guidance, and techniques based on the unique needs and interests of my clients. My approach has evolved based on trainings, reading, intuition and the experience of working with many wonderful clients over these 30+ years. Although not an expert in any one modality, I select and use parts of several excellent approaches to create an individualized treatment plan. Here are brief descriptions and links to get more information if you're curious. Most sites offer lists of clinicians who specialize in that particular method if one particular approach really resonates with you.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
Richard Schwartz is the creator of this approach which provides an extremely useful and relatable way of conceptualizing our personalities, coping strategies, and ways of experiencing the world. We all have many internal 'parts', each holding particular memories and emotions, as well as an overarching stable and nurturing Self.
Somatic Experiencing (SE)
Peter Levine created the SE model and its significant strength is illuminating the way the body both holds and can release trauma. Understanding how symptoms are often a result of our nervous system's survival strategies is empowering and refreshingly depathologizing.
Check out Levine's book Waking the Tiger. Another excellent book expanding on this theory is van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score.
Eye Movement Desensitization and
EMDR was developed and named by Francine Shapiro. The idea is to experience alternating stimulation (e.g. following a light with one's eyes, listening to binaural tones, having one's knees or feet tapped) while holding in the mind traumatic memories with their painful emotions and beliefs. Why this works to process trauma is uncertain but they speculate it's a similar process to the way REM seems to help experiences become effectively saved to memory. I have read that Ms. Shapiro regretted specifically noting eye movements in the name because as the model developed she recognized that any bilateral stimulation could produce the desired effect.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This extremely influential therapy was developed in the 1960's by the psychiatrist Aaron Beck. His ideas shifted the realm of psychotherapy away from long-term, childhood-examining psychoanalysis to a straightforward brief therapy model examining how your thoughts impact your functioning and how to shift them. The link attached is a website for a mental health clinic in CA that I thought had a very good description of the model and its tools. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a 12 session structured model I can utilize using CBT to address trauma in particular.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT involves tapping one's fingers on a sequence of points on the body while holding a disturbing issue in mind. There are a number
of websites available that discuss EFT and offer tutorials.
I'm attaching the link to Gary Craig's site because he is the
creator of EFT but look around at other sites if you want
to see how others present it. Another option is to check
out my Therapy Tip video.
Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)
Lisa Schwarz is the developer of CRM. Like SE, this creative model also works with the nervous system, and utilizes tools including breathwork, grounding, imagery and eye position. A valuable aspect of this approach is its emphasis on developing internal sources of support in order to be able to face traumatic memories head on.
Hypnosis is the process of intentionally facilitating a trance state. Trance is a natural state everyone has frequently experienced, common examples are when you're in a zone and lose all sense of time, are totally engrossed in a movie or book, or are in that period between wakefulness and sleep. It is a state of deep relaxation, focused attention, creativity and openness to suggestion. You're aware and in control during the hypnosis process, but participate in what some see as similar to an extremely vivid guided daydream. There are also forms of hypnosis I provide that invite more of a spiritual exploration in order to gain insights or assistance to current problems (BQH for example). Here's a link to an article on a basic version of hypnosis.