Therapeutic Approach

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Rather than using just one type of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or EMDR, I am trained in multiple different methods. I use them as a toolbox – weaving one or more approaches together in response to what I feel would work best for you. On this page, I provide information on the major therapeutic theories and approaches I use, so that you can determine if it feels like a good fit for you.

Therapeutic theories

These guide my conceptualization of your problem and treatment plan:

  • Psychodynamic theory – This approach views your current functioning as directly related to your experiences in childhood. It focuses on attachment styles and developmental trauma and seeks to create corrective emotional experiences.
  • Systems theory – As a social worker, I am trained to consider you within the context of your systems. This includes your immediate family, extended family, other communities in your life, and the wider society. I consider the impact of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other demographics, as part of you as a whole person. There may be times when I will suggest that we bring a family member into your therapy if I feel that is important to your healing.

Therapeutic approaches

These are particular ways of working with you in order to create growth and facilitate healing:

Internal family systems therapy (IFS)

Internal family systems therapy (IFS)- IFS, created by Richard Schwartz, views every person as composed of multiple parts, or sub-personalities.

For example, have you ever had a conversation within yourself between two different perspectives, such as Part 1: "You messed everything up." Part 2: "It's fine, I think you're overreacting." Part 1: "No I'm not! Everything is ruined." ... and on it can go.

This is a simple example of different parts within the person. Most of us have a critical part like this, as well as many other parts. IFS seeks to increase your awareness about each of these parts and the function it serves for you. IFS affirms the function of these protective parts in keeping you safe, while helping them let go of roles that no longer serve you.

The goal of IFS is to move you into "Self Leadership", which means that you are able to operate from a place of calm, connection, compassion, creativity, clarity, curiosity, confidence and courage.

"Getting to know, understand, and forgive these dark selves can have deeply transformative healing powers for the whole person, making us better, kinder, more compassionate to others than before."

- Richard Schwartz -

Relational Life Therapy (RLT)

Relational Life Therapy (RLT)- RLT, created by Terrance Real, is an approach to individual and couples therapy that aims to identify the underlying sources of the relational conflict early in the therapy and directly address those issues.

Under RLT couples therapy, I may take sides in order to illuminate and address a problem behavior. RLT is grounded in compassion and a belief that everyone wants to be the best version of themselves - we just have trouble getting there sometimes, particularly when protective parts of ourselves are activated.

"Sustaining relationships with others requires a good relationship to ourselves. Healthy self-esteem is an internal sense of worth that pulls one neither into 'better than' grandiosity nor 'less than' shame.”

- Terrence Real -

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)- EMDR therapy is a trauma treatment method that can be incorporated as part of an overall therapuetic approach. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. The use of bilateral stimulation while accessing the trauma helps to reprocess and heal past trauma, uncover and reframe negative beliefs that developed as the result of relational traumas, or childhood abuse and/or neglect.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

- Maya Angelou -

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- Think of your thoughts, emotions, and actions as three points of a triangle. CBT targets the thought, seeking to help you reframe negative or irrational thoughts, in order to positively influence your emotions and actions.

For example, try changing a self defeating thought such as "I'll never succeed" to something more hopeful such as "I can work hard and set realistic goals." The first statement is likely to produce emotions such as discouragement, self-loathing, and apathy, whereas the second statement is more likely to create emotions of hopefulness, courage, and determination.

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."

- Robert Collier -