I have never been to a therapist and I am used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Everyone needs help now and then and it takes a lot of courage to reach out for help. Therapy is an excellent mechanism to explore your issues from different viewpoints and learn coping mechanisms and tools to help you change unwanted behaviors, navigate life stressors and grow. During our work together I will listen to your story without judgment or expectations as I help you approach your situation in a new light and from different perspectives. I help you listen to yourself and develop effective life skills. I am also able to provide objective assessments and feedback unlike family and friends.
Do I need therapy if I take medication?
Some people prefer using medication to ease the symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health diagnoses however, medication alone generally does not resolve the troubling situation. Therapy can be extremely effective when used in conjunction with medication. Our work together is designed to explore the root of your issues, understand your behaviors and develop strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals. If you would like to pursue medication in addition to therapy I am available to work collaboratively with physicians, psychiatrists or other health professionals to provide you with the best care.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Therapy is a personal and an individual journey. Every person comes to therapy with a different set of issues and I constantly strive to understand your thinking and how you experience the world to provide you with tailored treatment. Our sessions are designed to help you process life experiences and troubling interactions and to develop new tools to handle these stressors or past experiences. Much of the work in our therapy together happens in-between sessions where you process and implement our work into your daily life. Because each person has distinctive needs and goals in therapy, therapy will be differ depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long does therapy take?
Because therapy is a unique journey for everyone, it is difficult to provide an accurate time assessment regarding the amount of therapy you will benefit from. Clients who engage in homework and implement therapeutic tools are more likely to respond to therapy faster. However, the presenting issues, their complexities, ingrained beliefs and behaviors heavily influence timing. Some individuals may need longer treatment than others to reach their goals. After establishing our relationship and working hard in therapy many clients can reduce the frequency of sessions or leave altogether always knowing there is an opportunity to return and continue our work together.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. Participation in homework assignments, journaling and practicing the new skills addressed in therapy will foster your personal growth and development.
THERAPY FOR ILLNESS, END OF LIFE CARE AND GRIEF
How can therapy ease the cancer experience?
Cancer or serious illness can be a horrific, life altering and life-threatening experience. When disease or traumatic events assault your bodily and emotional wellbeing, treatment for the disease can be both physically and mentally traumatic. I have seen the cancer experience scar a client’s body, mind, relationships and lifestyle. If you are living with cancer or other serious illness therapy can be instrumental in your healing. My experience and knowledge provides a safe space for you to process your diagnosis, fears, treatment and possibilities. Our work will provide an environment to address your health concerns and emotional struggles without having to worry about the needs and worries of others. Therapy during the cancer experience can provide new insights, outlooks and opportunities for growth and renewal. As your therapist, I am unable to take away the physical pain or control the course of illness, but I can companion with you through this experience to lighten the intensity of emotions and work towards the emotional healing necessary to endure the course of illness.
How does depression differ from grief?
It is often difficult to tell whether someone is experiencing grief or depression. Initial grief responses often mirror depression with symptoms including a depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, loss of energy or fatigue, impaired concentration, guilt or a sense of worthlessness, withdrawal from friends and family and even thoughts of death. However, during grief painful feelings are more likely to come in waves and are often intermixed with positive memories of the person who died. An individual experiencing depression on the other hand has a hard time connecting to positive memories and experiences an almost constant, negative mood. During the grieving period self-esteem is usually preserved whereas depression often includes relentless feelings of self-worthlessness and self-loathing. Therapy or other forms of professional help can be instrumental in distinguishing between grief and depression and providing appropriate treatment, tools and resources.
What is traumatic grief?
Although a normal part of life, the death of a loved one can be a devastating, painful experience that substantially changes those left behind. In some instances individuals are faced with circumstances that accompany and complicate grief and invoke a trauma response in addition to grief. Traumatic grief is more likely to result when a loved one dies in a sudden, unpredictable manner including a suicide, accident, act of violence or unexpected circumstance. Complicated and/or abusive relationships with a loved one who dies or a prolonged care giving process or illness might also result in traumatic bereavement. In these situations, the trauma and grief need to be addressed separately and in tandem. Specialized treatment can reduce trauma symptoms and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to addressing complicated and prolonged grief.
Why do children grieve so differently from adults?
Children, adolescents and teens express their grief in a different way than adults and it can often be difficult for an adult to assess the level of distress a young person is experiencing. Adults commonly judge or are concerned about a child’s display or lack of display about grief.
Young adults tend to move in and out of intense feelings, rather than sustaining high levels of one emotion for long periods of time. When adults see a grieving child playing or laughing, they may mistakenly believe that the child is “over it”. Children are more likely to hide their emotions from adults and develop problems in school including academics, behavioral outbursts and problems with friends. Professional grief support is so important for children, adolescents and teens because it can provide a sense of normalcy and an opportunity to work through their worries about the hurting adults in their life. Early intervention fosters positive coping skills, self-esteem and self-confidence and decreases trauma or inappropriate coping mechanisms later in life.
THERAPY FOR NON-SPECIALITY
Do you work with issues outside of end of life, trauma and grief?
Absolutely! Often when an individual or couples decides to engage in therapy for one reason a whole realm of new and diverse issues surface that need to be processed and addressed. The majority of my work centers around the field of health psychology and I have gained valuable experience and skills working with individuals and couples living with mood disorders, anxiety and depression, addictions, phase of life transitions, body image and disordered eating, chronic illness and pain management, personal growth, self-esteem, and somatic symptoms and related disorders.
ONLINE THERAPY SERVICES
What are the major differences between video and in person sessions?
Online therapy or telemedicine has become increasing popular in recent years. Technology has advanced in a manner enabling you to participate in video sessions, live chats or email correspondence from the comfort of your home or office. Many individuals find this method of communication very beneficial especially if they have family, illness or work restrictions that prohibit them from coming to my office. I have joined forces with WeCounsel to provide HIPPA compliant, secure connections that allow all of our online work together to be protected and confidential. Online services include options for individual appointments or small groups of 5 other clients working together on any one issue. Please note not all client situations are appropriate for telemedicine and we can discuss this treatment option during our initial communication.