As you can see in the description of Speak to Understand, I am a passionate about our innate need as individuals to connect with others. We live in interesting times. Although on the one hand, through technology, we are more connected than ever, many people find themselves feeling emotionally isolated and lonely.
Group therapy offers an extraordinary opportunity to foster connection and explore the ways we interact – as well as the ways we sabotage our own efforts to successfully build relationships with other people. Whether or not it surrounds a particular theme, (dating or job satisfaction or sexuality or grief or medical issues, etc.) group work provides an incubator to work on authenticity and relationship building that can be transformative in your life outside of group.
One of the most powerful lessons I have learned in my life – and in my work – is that all people everywhere desire the same things:
To feel truly loved and seen and appreciated;
To truly love and see and appreciate others;
And to feel a part of the human experience… to feel as if you matter… to feel as if your existence – matters.
And while those may seem like simple things, achieving them is not always so simple.
You were born to be authentically you. You came into this world with the potential to be the very best version of yourself you can be… to contribute the gifts that only you have to give – in only the ways you can give them. It is your birthright.
And then life happens – and we get diverted from that path.
How have you been diverted? What is getting in the way of your ability to be fully present in your own life? Loneliness? Shame? Trauma? Rejection? Self-sabotage? Health issues?
I like to think of individual therapy as an opportunity to remove the roadblocks to our happiness. To remove the obstacles that have obscured our original path – including those obstacles we placed there ourselves. It can be, if we are courageous enough, the most meaningful work of our lives – understanding our humanity… understanding the stories of our past – and how we have allowed them to shape our present – and then becoming actionable in writing the future we say we want.
Individual therapy with me is highly interactive, using a multitude of treatment modalities including cognitive/behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, Buddhist psychology, positive psychology, attachment, mindfulness, and creative arts.
When a health crisis strikes, it can take a toll not only on your body but your sense of self, your sense of safety and your sense of connectedness to others. Therapy can help you explore:
Fear and Anxiety
Your sense of self beyond the illness
Coming from a place of personal power
Whether working with women diagnosed with breast cancer, or people struggling with chronic issues such as diabetes, lymes disease or krones, I have direct clinical experience helping people cope with the impact of their own illnesses, or the illnesses of friends and loved ones.
As a gay man myself, I understand that being LGBTQ+ in today’s world can come with its own set of challenges (especially for our vulnerable gay youth). I have extensive clinical experience working with:
Coming Out (or Not)
Maintaining Romantic Relationships
My clinical experience has taught me that trauma has many faces – from sudden, unexpected episodes of violence (emotional and/or physical) to systemic, ongoing emotional or physical abuse and neglect (including bullying and emotional battering) – or the threat of imminent physical harm or death.
PTSD can feel as if it has hijacked your life, stealing your sense of identity and your sense of safety in the world. It can include a complex range of symptoms including depression, anxiety, social withdrawal and debilitating physical manifestations of the trauma.
In children, trauma and PTSD show up somatically – in their bodies – and in their neural pathways – setting off a negative chain reaction which impacts their ability to focus and to socialize. The trauma response can lead to behavioral problems that impede their education and leads to further isolation putting the child at even greater risk for depression, anxiety and withdrawal.
Trauma reactions are physiological, neural and emotional and require a multi-faceted approach in treatment. Breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of trauma (from people like Judith Herman, Bessel van der Kolk, Bruce Perry and Peter Levine) have led to treatments that incorporate mind, body and spirit.
The foundation for treatment of PTSD is to create a safe, empathic environment to explore, not just the trauma itself, but your specific reactions to the traumas that are now negatively impacting your quality of life.
My approach is holistic: gently look at the traumatic event or events, and explore what is happening in the here and now. It is a collaborate therapy, sometimes working with other therapists, that incorporates the trauma into the larger narrative of your life, while working to restore a sense of safety and balance.