My practice involves counseling individuals, including teens, couples and families. Together we work on issues like relationship struggles, depression and anxiety, parenting, divorce, personal and professional life transitions, couples counseling and struggles in school and peer relationships. I bring a practical, empathetic approach to my work, using proven evidence-based therapies and techniques that draw from psychodynamic, systemic, cognitive-behavioral and humanistic traditions. My approach is always tailored to your specific goals and challenges and carefully informed by the context of your life and relationships.
PHILOSOPHY AND APPROACH
The basic goal of psychotherapy is to alleviate emotional pain and to come to know yourself better. Through therapy, people become more aware of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors and the dysfunctional ways they are responding to life’s inevitable stresses. With new insights and self-knowledge, they develop healthier coping skills and relationships and become more content and at peace.
Therapy works best when you and your therapist jointly set goals and regularly check in about your progress towards them. A goal might be to reduce the conflict in your marriage, form a warmer, healthier connection with a teenage son or daughter, alleviate depression that stems from adverse childhood experiences so that you can feel happier, or manage anxiety in a triggering work, school or parenting situation. The length of therapy depends on the nature of your issues. I believe that effective therapy can be brief. Some clients work through specific issues in five sessions while others want to work for longer periods, exploring significant themes in their relationships and their families of origin.
I am a mother of three, a wife of twenty years, a daughter, sister and trusted friend, and I draw upon the wisdom and humility gained from these life experiences. I was trained as a family systems therapist, which means that I don’t believe that personal problems or diagnoses exist in a vacuum. I strive to understand your challenges in terms of the complex set of psychological and social systems in which they developed. My overall approach thoughtfully selects from well-established, evidence-based psychological theories and modalities, including:
- Humanistic theory, which holds that for a person to grow optimally, she or he must find a therapeutic environment of openness, empathy and unconditional acceptance.
- Relational psychodynamic theory and attachment theory, which states the quality of people’s current relationships are affected by their early attachment figures.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which holds that people’s perceptions and spontaneous thoughts about situations influence their emotional reactions and the way they behave. Identifying distortions in how we experience and see things can change the way we think and behave.
- Feminist and multi-cultural theory that questions our cultural understandings and advocates for fairness, taking into account the importance of culture, privilege, racism, heterosexism, oppression, classism, and ageism in psychological suffering.
Education, Training and Experience
I am trained in individual, child, couple and family therapy. I have an M.A. in Psychology from Antioch University’s School of Applied Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy. I also have B.A. in history and English from Emory University in Atlanta (1987) and a M.S. in journalism from Columbia University in New York (1990). I did my clinical training at Navos Mental Health Solutions, a well-regarded community mental health agency in the Seattle area.
I am licensed by Washington State Department of Health as a marriage and family therapist associate (LMFTA), license number 60547781. I am a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Psychological Association and the Seattle Counselor’s Association.
FREE FIRST MEETING
Feeling a connection with your therapist is essential if change is to occur. For that reason I offer all my clients a free initial 30-minute meeting at my sunny Madrona office so we can see if I am a good fit for you. My aim is for you to leave feeling lighter and more hopeful about your future and also armed with a few practical tools for tackling your issues.