While most counselors are highly trained through their graduate programs, advanced trainings, and work experience, the world of mental health and wellness is as huge and complex as the human mind. For this reason, most counselors know the benefit of narrowing their focus and training to areas in which they feel passionate and highly effective. Below is a general review of my approach to the counseling relationship and you can read more about my specific specialties on their individual pages.
I believe people have a strong drive towards wholeness and personal wellness. Our histories, contexts, and patterns of behavior may get in the way but ultimately we all seek to better understand the ways in which we can live a vibrant, fulfilling life. I use an integrative, holistic (whole-person) approach that acknowledges the importance of all areas of your life and of finding balance between them. The foundation of personal growth and lasting change happens when you can understand who you are in a deep way and to then know and take the actions that uphold your needs, values, and dreams. I think we all want to lead lives that are true to who we are and to be truly seen and appreciated for those choices by those we care about.
Theory and Technique
The tools I utilize will vary depending on your individual needs but below is a list of the primary views and styles I incorporate in counseling and a brief description of why they are important in my work.
Existential Counseling - For me the greatest gift of an existential approach is its focus on how we make meaning of our experiences in the present and attend to all that the world presents to us. There is an emphasis on finding balance and in approaching some of the greatest human concerns gently but directly.
Attachment Theory - So much of our experience is built on a foundation of our earliest social interactions (generally with a parent or care provider). These experiences lay down a base framework for our approaches to relationship and to the stories we believe about ourselves and the world around us.
Systems Theory - We are always a part of a larger whole and in understanding how small (like a family) and large (like national ideologies/institutions) systems occupy our lives we can better understand the sources of our discomfort and resources and support available to us.
Multicultural Counseling - Personal identity is a multilayered experience which blends a variety of different cultural facets including racial/ethnic heritage, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, spiritual traditions, functional and developmental ability, along with many others. All of these contribute to how we know ourselves and how we engage with the world.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - ACT is an approach to therapy aimed at allowing people to have greater ease and flexibility in understanding their experiences. It also stresses the importance of understanding our core values and in committing our actions to be in alignment with those convictions.
Narrative Therapy - We all have an internal dialogue which comments on our actions and behaviors, even our thoughts. Some people call this their inner critic, their conscience, or their depression monster, Greg. Whatever name it has, the impact is the same, increasing the negative judgments we hold against ourselves. Narrative therapy allows us to create a new underlying story in order to make that inner voice an ally instead of an adversary.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - CBT gets a lot of attention for being one of the most well researched and supported approaches to counseling and that's largely because it offers practical interventions to see the ways our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions relate to each other. I integrate mindfulness based approaches which help to ground people in the present and to be able to tolerate the tough places our minds go.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - Another rock star of the research world, DBT seeks to increase our ability to handle unpleasant experiences so we can make thoughtful decisions best suited to our values and the situation itself. It is usually a more manualized approach focusing on four core ares: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.
While these theories are great tools for me to use in our work together, the use of creativity and spontaneity allow us to prioritize what will be most helpful in getting you to your goals. The most important factor in the success of counseling is the relationship. I'll work to create a safe, comfortable, and curious space so you can do your best work.
Ready to get started? Take the next step today! Contact me to setup your free initial consultation, and get ready to start your journey towards a life you love!