I have been practicing therapy for over 25 years, and I have learned that the most important thing is to work at your pace and in a way that works for you - whether you are trying to change a habit or long-term relationship patterns that continue to make you unhappy. I have learned many theories, and they are helpful guides, but nothing is more important than that you are feeling a sense of trust and that you are in a safe space.
I believe that how you have learned to cope with your life circumstances, even if it causes problems, makes complete sense when taken in context - the context of your experience. The way you see and interact with the world and the people you love worked at some point, or you wouldn't be here now. Empathy, exploring your past relationships, and exploring your thoughts and outcomes of behaviors you engage in are all helpful at different points. A single approach does not bind me. I look for what works, what works for you.
I work with adolescents and adults, couples and families.
My communication style
Listening always comes first. I am genuinely curious about what is going on in your life. I adjust for a client's needs: slow and steady or more direct. That can shift during time together or the topic at hand. I think it is important that a person come to their own realizations, so I ask questions in the hope of leading to their own truth.
My journey to therapy
As a troubled youth, I first experienced a counselor who listened to me. From that point, I knew what I wanted to be. I didn't take the most straightforward path - I took diversions down a few paths, but I always came back to wanting to be a therapist. I went to graduate school in my early 30s at a program that explored different theoretical approaches. I worked at a domestic violence shelter, a suicide prevention hotline, as a therapist at an Arts College, several years as a school-based therapist, became a clinical supervisor, was the Clinical Director at an outpatient clinic and was a manager in a community-based Wraparound Program. From 1997 to 2015, I had a private practice in San Francisco.
My goals for you
Goals are decided together. I like to ask the person I am meeting with what change would take place and what their life would be like if therapy felt successful to them. Then we strive towards that.
My first session with you
I want to hear from you first. I want to make sure you feel like I am understanding what you need to communicate. That will probably mean asking you some questions to clarify for me and to provoke more profound thoughts for you. Practically speaking, there will be a discussion of why you came to therapy, how long the issues you bring up have been a problem, what you've already tried and how you picture it being better. We will also look at your general safety.