I realize that my credentials and training are very important and you can look at these under the training and credentials tab. But beyond credentials, I think what you really want to know is can I help you? I think if you know a little about me as a person, in addition to my training, you will have a better idea about whether you would like to work with me.
One of the reasons that the personal piece is so important is because out of all the various therapies, theories, cutting edge research and techniques is that the only reason any of those can come alive and can be effective in the therapy office and in your life is due to what you and I bring together! For my part, (and any therapist’s) is that my own experience and view of myself, of humanity, of you and of life will color every session we have. Your own uniqueness will add to that blend and we will be coming up with something entirely new, not seen or experienced before in any exact or particular way. Thus, each therapy modality is mixed in with one’s natural tendencies and who we are as people.
There will be no cookie cutter approach here as I move fully into my role as a therapist and you are exactly as you are now and who you are becoming in each and every session.
Authenticity, genuineness, compassion, flexibility, firmness, wisdom, strength and truthfulness within myself and in relation to who you are is what makes any therapy so potent, effective and even profound.
I’ve always known this and continue to be delighted as research repeatedly reveals that a positive therapeutic relationship is the best indicator/predictor for positive and lasting outcomes in therapy. And what outcomes are those? The outcomes we both set ourselves on the path towards as soon as you walk through my door. Who is the therapeutic relationship? That’s us…and together we can make it exactly what it needs to be or pretty dang close!
So, on a personal note, I came into the field of therapy naturally, with an innate curiosity about who I was, who you are, how the universe works, what makes us tick, why are we here (really, at age 11, my mom was like "oy vey!") I also came into this work with a very tender heart toward those in pain, suffering, struggling, made fun of/looked down upon, saddened, ashamed, etc.
I use the word “tenderhearted” because this is the first descriptor of myself that I heard from my family and even my nursery school teacher. Sometimes even “too tenderhearted.” A silly example that I recall is all the way back to nursery school; a little boy was crying because he spilled his juice, it almost broke my little heart to hear him so distressed. I didn’t have the words for it then, but I did fly into action. It was simple, I gave him my juice. For some reason, my teacher was very unhappy about this, and I got the distinct impression she thought I was bad and he was bad. Honestly, I thought she was a little silly not to get this is how to treat people (again no words but I felt it was a very strange). I was much happier seeing the smile and relief on my 4-year-old peer’s thirsty face than I would have been drinking my favorite juice.
So, compassion has always been my companion in therapy and I have enjoyed learning and realizing so much about who we are as human beings. Much of this learning has come from decades of training and experience but also from my own work with many of the same ups and downs you have probably experienced as well. The very first thing I learned as I approached this profession is the importance of “know thyself.” The more I know and understand myself the more fully I can be there for you and help you traverse whatever terrain lies before you in this moment. We truly do, all of us, have more in common than we do in differences.
For example, regarding my trauma expertise, I’ve experienced a couple of traumas in my own life. One would be considered a “major trauma.” My nervous system responded exactly as it was wired to do, the aftermath of this trauma was also pretty predicable in the ways the brain and Autonomic Nervous System operate after a trauma and I knew exactly where to go to help me move through this. I knew what the best trauma therapies were at that time, because I was using them as a therapist myself. I found another therapist with that particular expertise and what may have taken years to fully move through, I had come to a deeper understanding on so many levels, had literally reset my nervous system, and became an even happier and better human being than I was before this event. This was completed in a couple of months. The gift of trauma is that it shakes a lot of things lose that no longer serves us and we can become even more whole than we were before. It’s because I moved fully through this experience, and on to the other side of it, that I know you can too.
My life as a counselor started in 1988 in the addictions and codependeny field at that time. Five years later, in 1993, I completed graduate school and began practicing as a psychotherapist. That same year I married this sweet, intuitive, heart-centered guy (best catch ever!). His passion in life is doing what he can in breaking the cycle of poverty. Throughout his career we moved to and have lived in 5 different cities. This allowed me to meet so many people and to experience and take part in different cultures within the country.
After leaving my job as a therapist in a government agency in Wichita, Ks, I worked in human resources for a tech company in Raleigh, NC as well as built a psychotherapy private practice. Five years after that we moved to one of the most breathtaking places on the planet, Asheville, NC. It was spectacular to be able to walk only ½ mile or so in any direction and come upon the most gorgeous waterfalls. This was our backyard! In Asheville, I worked as a psychotherapist in private practice and facilitated classes on various meditation practices and on “presence.” I have been meditating since 1979 and some of my most profound, revealing and rich experiences have come from fully giving myself to this practice and being fully in presence as often as possible. It felt time to share this, so I held workshops and coached people with their own practice that lead to some amazing breakthroughs.
After 5 years in Asheville we moved to Austin, TX. We were there for 13 years and I became a full-fledged “Austinite” and loved every minute of it! It was here that I fell into a whole new progressive way of doing therapy. Everything came together for me in Austin. People travel all over the country to participate in the rich and vast therapy training's that are offered in this amazing Central Texas city. I was able to join in by hosting an in-depth Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training, which changed the way I practice trauma, grief, depression and anxiety healing. Many of these training's focused on more right brain to right brain connection (therapist and client) where our emotions, attachment injuries, traumas, joys etc. are stored. Using only left brain “talking – cognitive” therapies, we are unable to reach the very place we need to attend to in releasing what is hurting us and embracing what will make us whole. We need to reach the entirety of our being; cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and somatic (body, physiology). Some of these therapies, such as EMDR and Somatic Psychotherapy, I was already using but there was so much more! For your own learning and growth, I am going to share some names and therapies here so you can take a look into them. Many of which have several self-help practices in addition to knowledge that you may find helpful.
Dr Dan Seigel – Mindsight. Interpersonal Neurobiology. The Wheel of Awareness www.drdansiegel.com
Pat Ogden & Janina Fisher – Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute https://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/
Peter Levine – Somatic Experiencing https://traumahealing.org
Hakomi Institute - http://hakomiinstitute.com/
Dick Schwartz – Internal Family Systems - www.selfleadership.org
Sid & Sandra Stone – Voice Dialogue - http://delos-inc.com/index.htm
David Grand – Brainspotting https://brainspotting.com/
Bessel Van der Kolk -The Body Keeps the Score https://besselvanderkolk.net
Diana Fosha – Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy - https://aedpinstitute.org
Stephen Porges and Deb Dana – Polyvagal Therapy http://www.debdanalcsw.com
Bonnie Badenoch – Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind http://www.nurturingtheheart.com/
I offer these also as a taste of where the art and science of therapy can bring us.
So, I have now arrived in Orlando for a new chapter in my life; building new friendships, exploring new beaches and doing what I love the most; helping people move through and let go of that which is causing suffering, distress or even just a nagging irritation or a feeling that something is missing and then moving into a whole new way of being.
Whether I will ever meet you in person or not.…I wish you the very best on your journey into a greater sense of well-being and wholeness. My experience from working with lighter issues of sports/executive/artistic Peak Performance to the more difficult terrain of unspeakable abuses, I have always been able to find and acknowledge that part in all of us that holds our deepest values and truths, that has never been damaged, and that is already whole and complete. What the heart knows, and the mind may never be able to grasp, is that we can never really be lost, because the anchor of who we truly are always lives within us. How could it not?
I know that life can be difficult, sometimes tragic and filled with unimaginable grief that can bring us to our knees. I also know that if we can follow the nudging of that little spark of light within us, it will bring us through to the other side, where there is healing and unimaginable grace. If we can be fully present throughout our life, we will always become stronger in the places that were once broken.