As human beings, we’re wired to be social creatures. Both in friendships and romantic relationships, we feel connected through our shared experience, creating a sense of fulfillment. When our relationships stop working the way we want them to, there are healthy ways to get them back on track. In therapy, we’ll look at both positive and negative attributes of your relationships, and together we’ll break down problematic patterns that may not be immediately apparent. Circumstances don’t have to stifle your generosity of spirit. Your relationships can and should help you thrive.
In my practice, I work with many gay, bi-sexual & lesbian persons, both individually and in couples, as well as with those who are questioning their sexual identity. I am very comfortable in working with this community, and I provide a gay-affirmative environment. Many of us who lived through the AIDS crisis and witnessed deaths of friends understand some of the unique challenges this community can face. I provide a trained, compassionate ear for those confronting a myriad of issues related to LGBTQ identity and relationships.
We sometimes isolate ourselves by fearing how others perceive us. We create this personal narrative—our mental self-portrait—from only a small portion of our life experiences on which we choose to focus. My job as your therapist is to help you reframe that narrative from a more accurate perspective. You will see how your actions affect your self-perception, and how refocusing your perspective can inspire positive feedback from your peers.
Have you ever thought: “If only my partner did this or that, I would be happy!” The truth is, we can only control our own conduct. Being part of a successful couple involves compromise; however, we never have to compromise who we are as individuals. Through couples counseling, we strike a balance between maintaining your personal identity while modifying each partner’s behavior to meet the needs of your relationship. Through therapy, couples will begin to feel more empathy for each other and reduce harmful blame. The result is a more loving and communicative environment in which to prosper.
In addition to my psychological training, my background in the creative arts gives me deep compassion for actors and other artists—both professionals and those who simply seek more creativity in their lives. Living authentically is the key to being a successful creative person, and building a life that is true to your belief system will strengthen your confidence and give you more energy.
Spirituality means many things to different people, and it is not always related to religion or God. You are the arbiter of your spirituality, and it is your choice whether or not you want to address it in therapy. It is my belief that the body, mind and spirit are all connected, and spiritual clients may find my background in meditation, breathing and guided imagery useful.
There is no timetable for overcoming grief, as most serious losses can never be reversed. It is important in dealing with grief to allow oneself to break down; otherwise, that pain gets stored inside and may emerge years later after causing problems along the way. In therapy, we can give your grief the time and space that it needs, without allowing it to take hold and control your life.
Depression is one of the most common complaints that presents in my practice. Depression presents with many faces. Some can’t get out of bed; others can’t get to bed. Some have bouts with anger; others have bouts with tears. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression as: “An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and just get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.”
While anxiety is a common problem, it is also one of the most easily treatable. Managing anxiety might mean practicing exercises that reduce symptoms, or it may mean picking your battles and working around problematic areas. It is important to know that anxiety itself often creates more anxiety, so if we can embrace our initial stress points, we can keep the anxious feelings from spreading.
People often recognize their difficulty with alcohol and drugs, though evaluating their level of difficulty and how it impacts their lives proves more difficult. I work with clients to help them gain a better understanding of their alcohol and drug use, including their ability to regulate its use, and, if needed, the form of treatment (cold turkey or reduction) that best suits the client. Understanding the role of an addiction can be helpful in other behavioral patterns like sexual compulsions, spending, computer/internet usage, eating, online porn, TV watching, work, etc.
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