I consider myself to be an "Integrative" counselor, meaning drawing from many different perspectives. My master's degree is in Integral Counseling Psychology and I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I bring a holistic approach to the services that I provide. Integral Counseling draws from the major spiritual traditions of the East and blends them into the best of Western or modern Psychology.
I most closely identify with Transpersonal, Existential and Humanistic Psychology. I am also influenced by Jungian Psychology, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Buddhist Psychology, Solution Focused Counseling, Gestalt, Internal Family Systems, Psychodanic/Object Relations and more. I am also increasingly interested in the field of neuroscience and neuroplasticity, (how the brain and it's patterns can heal and change).
I engage in my own personal therapy and mentoring with an experienced local therapist.
You can expect that I will provide you with compassion, respect and understanding. I will provide perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and to help you increase awareness of your feeling and of your choices. I will assess your situation and we will formulate a plan for helping you cope with, accept, get relief from or resolve your situation. I will gently challenge you when the time is right. I do not give outright "advice" or tell you what to do, but I hope to ask thought provoking questions to help you arrive at your own conclusions and work towards your counseling goals.
If there is a specific counseling approach that you are interested in and don't see listed here, feel free to ask me about my experience with that approach.
Q: Do you see individuals even though you are a marriage and family therapist?
Yes. A marriage and family therapist is a specialized license, which means I have been trained for individual work but have additional training in working with couples and families.
Q: What is the difference between counselor, therapist, psychotherapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist? And what about life coach and consultant?
The terms counselor, psychotherapist and therapist are relatively interchangeable in referring to professionals who provide counseling and psychotherapy/therapy. Master's level clinicians have a master's degree and a clinical license ( such as LCSW, MFT, LPC, etc.) to provide counseling or psychotherapy A Psychologist has a PhD or PsyD, and may be referred to as "Dr." They provide psychotherapy and psychological assessments, but they do not prescribe medication. A Psychiartist is an MD who can prescribe medicine and usually doesn't provide therapy.
A life coach does not provide mental health counseling or treatment or address problems. A life coach may address specific life goals and help create a plan of action for achieving desired changes and support you as you work towards your desired changes.
A consultant is a broad term for a professional who provides professional or expert advice in a particular area. In my use of the term consulting, I am generally referring to discussing "bigger picture" strategic planning usually with a workplace or organizational focus. This may also include facilitating trainings or workshops.
Q: What is the difference between counseling and therapy or psychotherapy?
Among mental health professionals, such terms are so similar that they are often used interchangeably.
The term "counseling" means professional guidance in addressing personal conflicts and emotional concerns. Counselors can assist with everyday-life challenges affecting marriage, family, intimate relationships, friends, school, careers, personal growth, spiritual matters, etc. I generally think of counseling to be shorter term in nature meeting weekly or sometimes less frequently.
The term "therapy" is an abbreviation of "psychotherapy," which refers to the treatment of psychological maladjustments or disorders. It can also be used for personal growth and exploration and to seek deeper meaning or understanding of one's life experiences. I generally think of therapy as lasting longer than counseling - from several weeks or months to years and generally meeting weekly. In working this way, we have more time and space to dig a little deeper - to address more complex issues, persistent patterns or to treat psychopathologies.
Q: What does "Transpersonal" or "Integral Psychology" mean?
Transpersonal Psychology might loosely be defined as the psychology of spirituality. It is concerned with those areas of the human experience that search for a higher meaning in life, or those areas beyond or "trans" personal.
Integral psychology is psychology that presents an all-encompassing holistic approach. It includes both lower (unconscious) realms of consciousness, ordinary (thinking) mind, and spiritual or transcendent states of consciousness. It also aims to blend the Wisdom traditions and spiritual practices from the East with modern, Western Psychology.
Q: What if I am not a spiritual or religious person?
I am able to talk about spiritual issues if presented. I am also very well versed in helping people with emotional and relational issues without discussing spirituality at all. I am committed to respecting each individuals unique spiritual or religious path or lack thereof. I am very grounded and practical and I draw from many other styles of counseling in addition to Transpersonal.
Q: What do we do in the first session?
The first session is mainly to see if what you are looking for and what I have to offer are a "good fit." I will talk to you about what brought you to seek therapy. We might also talk about your wants and needs and goals for therapy and begin to complete an initial clinical assessment. We will begin to discuss next steps or what is traditionally called a "treatment plan". Most often, by the end of the session you will begin to get a sense of if you feel comfortable working with me. At the end of the session we will discuss the possibility of scheduling any subsequent or ongoing sessions. By the conclusion of the third session, we will usually have a sense of a working "treatment plan" or - an idea of the things we would work on together, should we choose to continue. It is important that you have a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. I will happily provide you with referrals if you would like to try working with someone else instead. If I feel that I cannot meet your needs or there may be someone more appropriate, I will also let you know and provide referrals.
Q: How long does therapy take?
That is entirely up to you and the issues that you would like to address. I have successfully worked with people in short term and longer term counseling and therapy, ranging from just a few session to more than 7 years and just about everything between. We will discuss this at the beginning of our work together and also as we go. You can always decide to end at any time. I do ask that if you do decide to end therapy, that you please discuss this with me in person. I also ask that we have at least one "termination" session to discuss our work together, to get closure and to say goodbye.
Q:How do you feel about medicine?
I believe medication can be helpful at times, especially for providing symptom relief and supporting mood stability. This can be an important part of someone's overall healing journey. Many psychotropic medications are prescribed on a relatively routine basis and many pose few and mild side effects, while others are not as common and do have some potentially serious side effects. Some alternative and complementary treatments MAY help achieve some symptom relief as well, often with fewer risks or side effects. Additionally, studies show that lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, good sleep hygiene and mindfulness practices can help support mental health and bring relief of some symptoms. In my opinion, sometimes the best approach for bringing desired and sustained results may be a combination of medicine, counseling and potentially other complementary treatment modalities.
I do not provide specific medical advice, but I do have a strong understanding of clinical psychopharmacology and I will discuss your decision with you if you are considering taking medicine or considering going off of it. I do not prescribe medication, nor do I provide any alternative healing modalities, but I can refer you to someone who does. If you currently take medication, we might discuss the possibility of me consulting with your prescribing MD (with your consent) to make sure we are collaborating and on the same page and to provide the best possible care. I believe that with this type of integrative approach to wellness, you will receive the optimum support for your overall health and wellbeing.