The therapy relationship can be a powerful source of change: we build a container where I provide thoughtful presence, empathy, and serious inquiry. Together we develop trust, delve into uncharted territory, explore carefully, face obstacles, and gain new understanding of oneself and one’s world. We unravel knots and knit new fabric. It’s hard work, and it’s worth it. I believe that this special relationship can change people profoundly; they can learn how to build greater emotional connection with self and others, and tap into deeper meaning. At its best, psychotherapy leads to a fuller integration of mind, body, and emotions, and strengthens our resourceful engagement in life.
What to expect in our therapy sessions
I approach psychotherapy as a collaboration, a special kind of teamwork in which we work (and sometimes play) together in a way that transforms pain and distress into healing and growth. The process becomes a journey through the world of the client, in which I provide guidance to navigate through difficult areas that, when explored together, can be integrated into the whole picture of one’s life. I pay close attention to verbal and non-verbal communication between clients and myself, and we talk openly about our shared understandings as well as our misunderstandings. I offer psychological and psycho-social education that addresses each client’s particular needs and goals. Rather than give specific solutions or advice, the psychotherapeutic approach I engage is to assist individuals to think and reflect so as to find their own answers. In this process I offer guidelines and support even as we explore the unknown.
Therapeutic fusion: cultural and personal
My background as an anthropologist adds a special lens to how I work in the therapy hour: together we discover unrecognized assumptions, patterns of thought and feeling, meaningful images and symbols, and how stories express values and beliefs. I pay keen attention to the ways people use language and how language constructs meaning, and bring this awareness into our conversations. These explorations broaden clients’ understanding of their personal and social struggles, and empowers them to think and act in new ways. As a result, more perspectives open up.
My training in psychology adds the art and science of clinical practice to how I work. Current theories and research about the mind, body, and emotions, and the universal human needs for attachment, security, and exploration, inform my approach. My knowledge of the maturation process from infancy through old age provides a broad framework of the lifespan for understanding the challenges of growth and development.
The unique way I work as a therapist incorporates psychological, social, and cultural understandings of people’s lives. After years of practicing anthropology through teaching and research, I decided to apply my knowledge of how people live and create meaning in different societies and cultures to the profession of psychotherapy. With the goal of helping individuals pursue growth and healing, I went to graduate school in counseling psychology and gained extensive clinical training and experience. Throughout my career I have specialized in furthering the development of personal and cultural identity across the individual lifespan and across cultures, and I bring this perspective into my therapy work.