approach to psychotherapy
“the heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be.”
+ bell hooks, all about love: new visions
I approach therapy as a collaborative and experiential process. My therapeutic style is warm, gentle, and authentic. The foundation of my care work is relational, which means I use the relationship we build to foster self-reflection, self-understanding, and self-acceptance. It is my belief that the symptoms we find ourselves carrying can often be traced to an aspect of ourselves feeling encumbered by shame, fear, or deep violation. To work relationally is to assess your needs, and integrate relevant tools that tailor to these symptoms, as well as to your values, interests, and identity. My approach focuses on building awareness around the ins-and-outs of your nervous system: learning to listen to the alarm bells your body sends you, and adjust accordingly. I also aim to put your lived experiences into context through exploring the influences of culture from an intersectional lens, and by taking into consideration your experiences of family: past, present, and intergenerational.
A closer look at a few of the therapeutic modalities I implement in my approach:
It almost seems universal to experience some type of wound in our most important relationships, leading to false stories about ourselves, and even (sometimes) “bad” behavior. We may have had difficulty locating someone in our lives that felt like a safety raft: a solid place to land amidst chaos, a place to breathe, rest, and heal before continuing on the journey. A therapist working relationally is both safety raft and mirror, someone who is mindful of the treatment you needed, but didn’t receive, and someone who can be honest with you about what they see in a way that feels supportive.
We experience the sensations of our bodies intensely when we are suffering. And yet, there is often some form of energetic movement traveling throughout our bodies during our daily life, even when we don’t notice it. Somatic methods are trauma-focused. They explore the mind-body connection, and help us use our experiences of our bodies to understand our moods and emotions (and vice versa.) It is believed that we first experience emotion as sensations in our body, which then evolve into our thoughts, decisions, and actions. These methods of treatment involve experimentation to learn how to listen and tend to the messages our bodies and emotions send us.
To quote Dr. Thema Bryant, “Culture is medicine.” Sometimes it is difficult to remember that there is richness in the qualities, traditions, practices, and beliefs of our culture, and that unlike any material item, our culture can be present within us, always. Sometimes our experiences of our culture are painful and harmful, or our culture may feel foreign, non-existent, or shameful. A stance of cultural humility observes the multicultural layers we embody through our class, location, race, sex, ethnicity, ability, size, upbringing, and appearance. These layers are met with acknowledgement, curiosity, openness, and non-judgement.
Therapeutic Frameworks: Relational, Somatic Experiencing, Cultural Humility/Multicultural, Attachment, Family Systems, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Person-Centered, Self-Compassion, Psychodynamic, Psychobiological Attachment Couples Therapy (PACT), Polyvagal, Art & Play Therapy, and Mindfulness Meditation.