Specialties

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Excuse all the clinical jargon if you're not interested but for those that may be looking for a specific approach, this is the page for you.


Mindfulness

Whether practicing in conjunction with a therapeutic approach or on its own mindfulness simply means intentionally being present without judgment. So often the busyness of our society (and our minds) lends to a culture of needing to be everywhere but where you are, here and now. Mindfulness is a wakefulness that turns off the autopilot so that you can engage in your life.  Since not everything works for everyone there are a number of practice possibilities we can explore. Mindfulness focuses on having a non-judgmental stance that contributes to a freeing radical acceptance, of self and others. The research supporting the benefits of establishing a daily practice are profound. Here are just a few:

  • Improves focus, impulse control, empathy, emotion management, distress tolerance

  • Decreases anxiety, depression, physical and psychological symptoms of stress and trauma

I am passionate about clients implementing some form of a mindfulness practice because it provides amazing self-awareness in getting to know who you are. Plus, it literally changes the brain. How cool is that!

Somatic and Attachment Focused EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy model that has been researched and proven effective in the treatment of trauma and general life experiences with a high level of disturbance.

"When something traumatic happens it gets stored in the brain without a time and date stamp. The person who has a traumatic experience can feel like that traumatic event is about to happen at any moment or is currently happening. EMDR changes the way those traumatic memories are stored so the human system can know and feel that the event is actually in the past. The things that happen in the present, which previously triggered an emotional activation because they remind the person of the past traumatic event, no longer have the same charge. Thus, the person can be in the present and just react to what is actually happening now, instead of having an over-reaction due to a past event." Deborah Kennard, PTI

Since our physical and mental systems are connected, a combination of somatic focus (relating to the body) and attachment focus (considers early emotional bonds and attachment patterns), are used to get to the root of the issue.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical refers to two seemingly contradicting ideas that can both be true. With a foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT focuses on finding a balance in accepting things just as they are while challenging to be even better and work towards change. DBT has four skills to help decrease symptoms and improve quality of life. Those skills are the practice of core mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.

While standard DBT (individual sessions, group therapy, phone coaching, treatment team) was originally developed by Marsha Linehan to treat highly suicidal clients, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders involving difficulties managing emotions. I use a DBT-Informed approach, incorporating the DBT skills and principles into individual sessions with a variety of client disorders. My belief is that everyone can benefit from learning how to better manage emotions, thereby better managing their symptoms.

Adolescent Substance Use Disorders/Family Members

I'm sure we can agree that being an adolescent is a difficult time in and of itself. Trying to develop your own sense of self can be scary and confusing with a lot of intense emotions. Teens exploring or using substances during this time presents a unique concern due to Neuroplasticity. This is the brains ability to reorganize itself and form new connections and pathways. Introducing substances to an adolescent brain that is still developing...I’m sure you see where this is going. 

Motivational Interviewing is an approach often used in the treatment of substance use disorders that assists clients in working through ambivalence to elicit behavior change; taking a non-confrontational approach to help teens explore their mixed feelings and work towards their goals.

As a Certified Addictions Counselor I understand the medical model of addiction and how substance use impacts the entire family system. It can be tough knowing how to set boundaries and best support a loved one in recovery or someone that does not seem interested in recovery. I work with adult children that grew up with addiction in the home, or an adult family member or loved one of an addicted person.


Other Approaches

I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Family Systems, and Experiential Therapy as appropriate. As a Clinical Social Worker, I naturally lean towards a strengths-based approach, focusing on client strengths and self-determination. I use trauma informed care, meaning I am attentive to the impact of past traumas and intentional to provide a safe space.