I provide services for:
- Adult individuals
- Children and adolescents
My clients are very diverse in terms of age, gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle, social and cultural background, and goals in therapy.
Sessions generally are 50 minutes. In EMDR work I sometimes use 75-minute sessions.
I also work with clients in Spanish and German.
Supervision and Consultation
I provide individual and group supervision and training at New Perspectives Center for Counseling, a low-fee counseling center in San Francisco. I am available for consultation with interns and therapists, particularly with interests in somatics, expressive arts, trauma work, cross-cultural issues, and creativity.
Areas of Focus
Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Here a mind/body treatment approach is crucial because of the interplay between physical symptoms and emotional responses. Exposure to stressors triggers the organism’s instinctive fight-or-flight response. Prolonged exposure can overwhelm the nervous system and create symptoms of anxiety or depression, or both. Treatment entails working to regulate the physiological symptoms while gaining a deeper understanding of the emotional dimensions involved.
Trauma and Recovery from Childhood Wounding
Trauma is an extreme sort of stress that can result from exposure to life-threatening events. Experiences of childhood abuse, abandonment or neglect can produce similar post-traumatic stress reactions, even if the events were not life-threatening per se.
Trauma memories are stored in the body, and in parts of the brain that are less verbal or linear and thus cannot be accessed by words alone. For this reason working with symbolic expression, body awareness and other somatic methods can be extremely helpful for healing. I use EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in my work with trauma and childhood wounding with both adults and children.
Empowerment and Self-Esteem
Survivors of traumatic experiences or childhood abuse often experience a profound negative impact on their self-esteem. This can be a troublesome symptom that impairs many areas of their lives. These clients have often internalized negative messages about their self-worth, and an important part of their work in therapy is to confront these critical voices and generate a sense of personal power. Tools that are helpful in this work are roleplays, enactments and other expressive modalities.
Body Image and Emotional Eating
Eating for emotional reasons is a frequent way of coping with anxiety and depression. Poor body image is very common in our culture and is often an outgrowth of the low self-esteem that usually is also characteristic of anxiety and depression. Practicing mindfulness and body awareness and working through the underlying emotional issues confront these symptoms at their root.
Intimacy and Relationship Issues
People suffering from the effects of long-term depression, anxiety, trauma, or childhood wounding have often internalized negative relationship templates. In problematic relationships the vulnerabilities of each partner often trigger each other reciprocally in a negative feedback loop. My work with couples consists in establishing less destructive communication patterns, based on John Gottman’s work and Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent Communication; in bringing awareness to these interlocking vulnerabilities, based on the Emotion-Focused Therapy of Susan Johnson; and in building greater empowerment and connection, based on the work of Terrence Real.
Many of my clients and couples have roots in two or more cultures. This can be enormously enriching, but also confusing and alienating. Such clients often find it important to explore their cross-cultural identities and find ways to integrate different aspects of their self. Bicultural couples, in particular, need to bring understanding to their differences and learn to co-create their own relationship culture.
Self-Expression and Creativity
Self-expression and creativity are often considered hallmarks of mental health. They often spontaneously emerge in a client’s life as painful emotions are released. Conversely, working with the arts can be a way of bypassing the intellect and directly accessing a client’s vitality and wholeness. I also work with artists, writers and musicians who feel blocked in their creative work. Confronting negative beliefs and EMDR are often helpful in overcoming such creative blocks.